Employees rarely underperform because they lack the necessary technical skills to get the job done. They fail to meet expectations because of a shortfall of soft skills, or emotional intelligence. Soft skills are critical to the way employees relate to and interact with others. Hard skills can be learned on the job, but soft skills can neither be taught nor bought.

Make it a priority to measure soft skills early on in the interview process, rather than leave this critical assessment to the end. Here are some of the skills critical to high emotional intelligence, which you should pinpoint in your leading candidates:

Leadership Potential

Effective leadership is about taking initiative, inspiring people and working with others to achieve common goals. Related attributes include:

  • Problem solving. In a fast-paced environment, the strongest employees are those who can think critically and effectively solve problems. When you interview, ask candidates about a time when they had to overcome a workplace challenge. This helps you to gauge their ability to be resourceful and think on their feet.
  • Reliability. You can depend on the best people to get the job done and not let their team down. They are available when needed and they consistently deliver results. Ask your top candidates to provide examples of when they met deadlines, acted as team players, and remained focused in challenging times.
  • Coaching. Identify candidates who are willing to coach co-workers and help them along; for instance, taking new hires under their wings on projects and serving as mentors.

Communication Skills

Communication strengths encompass the ability to actively listen, express well both verbally and in writing, make effective presentations, and resolve conflict.

  • The best communicators are assertive, not aggressive. They voice opinions while being open to feedback. For instance, during brainstorming sessions, they not only share ideas, but also challenge others by asking thoughtful questions to create stimulating discussion and spark innovation.
  • Look for candidates who can negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved. This means being able to persuade, negotiate, and develop mutually beneficial relationships so they can successfully influence others.


Don’t underestimate the importance of hiring candidates who are able to embrace change and help others to adapt.  Employees who dig their heels in and insist on doing things “they way we’ve always done it” can hamper your ability to grow and take on new challenges. Look for:

  • Early adopters are your go-to employees in challenging times. Interview with an eye toward adding employees who are eager to try new things and will share their enthusiasm with others.
  • Innovators not only welcome change, they will initiate it, vital in industries that constantly seek better ways to meet business goals.

The Talent Bridge team of professional recruiters will apply our comprehensive candidate evaluation process to ensure that your ongoing human capital and hiring needs are met and exceeded. Contact us today for more information.