Which soft skills should you be focusing on when hiring IT talent? We have listed three of the most important ones below, and included some tips to improve your evaluation process.
Problem solving is important in every area of IT. Professionals must be able to root out a buggy piece of code, swap out a malfunctioning machine, and correct performance issues as quickly as possible. But problem solving skills are even broader than that and encompass a candidate’s ability to think critically and strategically in the face of difficulty. That helps them to be better at their jobs, better at working with colleagues, and eventually better at leading others effectively.
You can evaluate problem solving skills by asking a candidate to work through a problem your team has encountered before. Arriving at the right solution is not what’s important. Focus, instead, on the strategies the candidate uses to arrive at that solution. This indicates how quickly and nimbly they think and how well they hold up when faced with big challenges in high-pressure situations.
Communication skills are essential for success in IT, but sorely lacking in the majority of candidates. IT professionals tend to be somewhat introverted, and their skills apply more to code than language. But the simple fact is that IT professionals must be able to communicate effectively with other team members, with other teams, with superiors, and also with those they supervise. They must also be fluent in long and short form writing, public speaking, casual dialogue, and brainstorming.
This is a skill that you can evaluate throughout the hiring process. How well crafted was the candidate’s cover letter? How well did they handle themselves during the phone and face-to-face interviews? You can take things a step further by asking the candidate to draft a brief technical document or to give a presentation as part of the interview process.
Success in IT is impossible unless professionals with different areas of expertise can collaborate successfully and combine their ideas. But even more than that, IT professionals must also be able to work with non-technical collaborators, and collaborate successfully in both formal and informal settings.
Evaluating this soft skill can be tricky, but you can start by evaluating the candidate’s past for evidence of collaboration, diving deeper into those experiences during the interview. You can also ask the candidate to work with some of your existing staff to complete a small project and solicit feedback afterward.
Unless you consider soft skills, you can’t know for sure that you are hiring the best available candidate. Access a pool of candidates with both the hard and soft skills you require by contacting RennerBrown.