soft skills

Hiring for Soft Skills

You already know that finance and accounting positions require finesse with technology, analytics, and reporting. But, don’t discount the necessity for solid soft skills, as well. The ability to effectively communicate the story behind the numbers in an easy-to-digest manner to clients or colleagues in other departments is a critical skill.  Accordingly, both verbal and visual communication skills are important elements of success.  With this in mind, as a hiring manager, you should look for candidates who possess soft skills, not just candidates who have technical skills.  But, how can you identify these abilities during an interview?

Screening for soft skills helps to determine if the candidate fits into your company’s culture.

Soft Skills to watch for are:

  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Conflict and problem resolution
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Dependability
  • Empathy
  • Teamwork

Interview with Eyes Wide Open

During an interview, it’s easy to be captivated by an applicant’s technology track record. This is especially so when interviewing a professional with established performance and connections. Look beyond the prepared interview presentation to how the applicant responds to your predefined list of interview questions designed to assess important soft skills.  Ask the types of questions that elicit responses that will give you insight into the candidate’s soft skills aside from the ones that are being displayed during the interview.

Soft Skills Question #1: Tell Me About a Time…

There are several ways to finish this inquiry, depending on what you hope to learn. It could be to determine if the candidate can shift quickly into a collaborative leadership mode when needed. Or it may be how they handled a difficult interpersonal situation with a customer or colleague. What you are looking for is confidence in the response without arrogance. You want to hear a clear description of the challenge with respectful action steps and a satisfactory outcome.

Soft Skills Question #2:  What Do You See as Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

  • Perhaps they collaborate well with staff in other departments but have trouble asking for help. When someone is forthright about their weaknesses, they likely approach others realistically.
  • Or perhaps you want a description of the most important lesson learned about working well with others. Response to this line of inquiry should reveal critical thinking combined with being interpersonally astute and capable of empathy.


Are you an employer looking to hire top finance and accounting talent?  We can help!  Beacon Resources is ready to introduce you to finance and accounting professionals with top-notch skills. Click here, to get started.