A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Core Competency Valuator, which was advertised as being able to accurately measure soft skills such as attention to detail, honesty, and customer service with multiple choice questions. I was skeptical about it but I told you all I'd give you an update when I tried out the software.
Well, I tried it out and it was pretty much what I expected. I was only given the ability to see one question in each of several categories, but I still don't think the full set of questions would be enough to gauge these soft skills in a way that's fair to both candidates and employers.
But I found (or remembered, actually, since I had seen reference to it before), another example of a better way. DDI (Development Dimensions International) offers other companies a process in which DDI will test out candidates with a full day's worth of mock work. Candidates answer emails, field phone calls, complete exercises, manage workflow, and more.
All the work is related to a non-existent company, and can be targeted to specific job levels and industries. Then, DDI analyzes the applicant's performance and gives the hiring company a full report of how the candidate performed. Interesting stuff, and in my opinion a much better way to gauge hard-to-measure soft skills.
It may be too pricey to do this for all your candidates, but for executive-level applicants, it may be well worth the money. See a description of this process (in the section about simulations) here.