When recruiting IT candidates, you may be focused on coding capabilities and a deep understanding of data structures and algorithms. But did you know that soft skills – like customer service and communication – are incredibly important too when it comes to hiring the right tech talent?

As an employer of Healthcare IT Consultants, Morgan Hunter Healthcare knows that hiring those with the right blend of interpersonal skills and technical aptitude is critical to providing your customers and non-technical staff with the effective support they need.

If, for instance, a technical support agent can’t clearly and politely explain to a customer how to troubleshoot a problem, then it’s going to negatively impact that customer’s loyalty to your brand. In fact, last year alone, 62 percent of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences, according to CRM magazine. The article states: “Companies are losing customers to their competition because they’re losing ground when it comes to engagement.”

Likewise, to get buy-in from company management for tech initiatives, your technical team needs to be able to explain their reasoning in a clear and structured manner. IT professionals with strong verbal and written skills are able to get their messages across effectively with less chance of misunderstanding.

That said, finding candidates with the right blend of technical and interpersonal skills can be a challenge. The best way to do it? Ask behavioral based interview questions when you’re hiring.

Behavioral interview questions are those that focus on real-world experiences the candidate has had. For example, rather than asking, “What would you do if…?” ask “Give me an example of a time when…” By asking each candidate to give you an example based in reality, you’ll gain more insight to their soft skills, such as their ability to communicate.

Some behavioral based interview questions you can use to screen for communication and customer service skills include:

  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem with a colleague. How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with the actions or decisions of your boss. How did you approach the situation?
  • Rate your communication skills on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent communication skills. Give me an example from your past work experiences that demonstrates the selected number is accurate.
  • When you have begun a new job in the past, explain to me how you have gone about meeting and developing relationships with your new colleagues, managers, and reporting staff.

While there is no magic bullet to finding the employees you need, the questions above at least give you a good place to start. Happy hiring!