Questions to Evaluate Job Applicants on Soft Competencies/Skills

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:

(This is in continuation of my previous post

(You will benefit more if you also read my previous related write-ups on this site and also read about Shyam Bhatawdekar Effectiveness Model- HSoftware at and about Self-concept at

(If you wish to read or listen to the audio of the long article written by me on this subject covering all the posts I published here, please refer URL: Life Management: Competencies

Sample Questions

  • Tell us about an important assignment you handled. How did you manage it and what were the results?
  • How do you set up the priorities for your day-to-day work?
  • If any of your projects derails, goes behind schedule, how do you pull it up to bring it back on track?
  • What is more important to you; processes or results? What ever is your answer, why do you think it that way?
  • Can you give an example of any process improvements you achieved recently and what was its impact on various factors?
  • Why do you think reengineering of processes fail many times? Do you think one should not reengineer but go gradual on improvements?
  • How do you rate yourself as a result focused person and why?
  • Are you a deadline and timeline conscious person and how do you make sure that they are met?
  • Do you like to take the challenges involved in fire fighting or would you rather be more cautious and eliminate such emergencies?
  • Have you worked on any cross-functional project? What were your experiences on it as compared to a purely internal or departmental project?
  • Do you believe in internal customer care concept? Would you still help the next-in-line department if because of your cooperation it is going to steal the show? Do you any such example from your past experience?
  • Do you have at the back of your mind somewhere the requirements of you ultimate external customers? Does your approach to work get guided by it? Can you illustrate the point in light of your experience so far?
  • How do you rate yourself as a decision maker? Can you describe any decision making situation where you were at cross roads; a dilemma situation, and you came out as a winner?
  • Tell us about a situation where you goofed in decision making? How did you handle it then?
  • Can you construct your decision making process and share with us? Take your time to think and then tell us.
  • Are you the type of person who wishes to have a 100% correct decision and in the process may miss out on time lines or budget limits etc or will you take a chance to meet the other factors? In either case, tell us why?
  • Suppose you take a considered decision in a situation where others are shying away from any commitment but it is important to take decision and it backfires. Do you display courage, own it and face the consequences or do you manipulate an apology or play a blame game or play politics and get scot-free?
  • Continuing from the earlier question, then, what is right in an hierarchical formal organizational situation where every one’s authority areas are earmarked, yet decisions are not forthcoming?
  • Can you confidently communicate with your superiors your professional ideas? Do the persons high up in the organization hierarchy intimidate you?
  • If you are confident and at ease in dealing with superiors, what have you done to build up this kind of confidence?
  • How do you update your knowledge and skills? Do you have any specific approach to it? Can you elaborate it?
  • Describe your problem solving process.
  • Which do you prefer, attend to the problem and give an immediate short term solution so that things move on or would you wait on solving the problem until you have eliminated it from the grass root level?
  • Do you encourage participation of your team members or do you push your decisions through them? Provide some examples to illustrate your style.
  • In building consensus on a solution to a complex problem, have you faced any difficulties? What were they? How do you manage?
  • Do you see the conflicts in your day-to-day work among the people and of people with you? What is your conflict management style?
  • Can you describe your conflict handing process? Give an example.
  • Do you lose your cool or get angry or frustrated when you get into a conflict with some one? How do you act?
  • Did you ever have significant difference of opinion with your boss? What was it? How did you deal with it?
  • Has it ever happened with you when your basic values were put to test in an organizational situation. What did you do?
  • In your previous jobs, did you work with great teams? Give an example and why do you consider that to be a great team? What was your role and contribution in making it so?
  • What are your proposals for development of people working for you? Have you tried some of them?
  • What are your leadership qualities? Do people work for you with enthusiasm by taking initiatives? Then, you must also be delegating lots?
  • Sometimes it happens that if you work for perfection or 100% quality, you may lose an opportunity, time is of essence. Would you rather push an imperfect product or solution so as to make the most of the opportunity? What’s you take on it?
  • Are you a good implementer, an action person? Are you also a good thinker and planner? What is more important for you? Why?
  • Can you narrate the problems you faced in implementing any solution that you recently introduced? How did you tackle them?
  • Tell us something where you applied your creativity and met with a breakthrough.
  • What kind of creativity systems or techniques do you use with your team?
  • Do you encourage borrowed or copied creativity or you only appreciate something originally done? Why?
  • Can you sell your concept, ideas and solutions to others who matter? Share your experience with us on this.
  • How do you rate yourself as a presenter? Are your presentations appreciated by your audience? Can you tell us the kind of feedback you get from them on your presentation?
  • Do you have any experience of conducting or coordinating the meetings, either in a room or using teleconferencing facilities? Give one such example and how did the meeting go on various counts?
  • You have been assigned a project but you have not been given a clear picture of it; its pretty hazy. Can you still proceed and complete it? Did you do something like this in your earlier jobs?
  • In the event when some information is just not available, does the lack of information bother you? Can you work in ambiguous situations? Do you have such an experience to share with us?
  • Are you open enough to share your part of information in a team situation or in a cross functional project? Perhaps keeping that information up your sleeve till emergencies arise can be a way to gain importance. Your comments?
  • Are you a person who first sees the big picture of things and then go into details or do you do it the other way round? Can you give an example from your work situation.

Read "Management Anecdotes" authored by Shyam Bhatawdekar at:

You may also like to read short articles on "Out of Box Ideas" at:

Originally posted at Sunday, September 27, 2009


About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
This entry was posted in General Counseling, General Management, Human Resource Management, Leadership, Life Management, Life Skills, Personal Effectiveness, Personality Development, Principles of Management, Professional Counseling, Soft Skills and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Questions to Evaluate Job Applicants on Soft Competencies/Skills

  1. Pingback: Definitions of Some Related Terms That Often Confuse Many

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *