Hiring Tech Talent? Look for These Soft Skills
“Technology without the larger context of the business and the environment in which it will be implemented is useless. You need to understand technology within the context of law, markets, privacy, and trust—and all other factors that influence its function.” – Ben Gaucherin, CIO at Harvard University
Business is evolving at the speed of tech, and if you want your organization to keep up, you’ll need a talented team of techies to help you get there. But beware — basing your hiring decisions off of technical skills alone is a major mistake. Study after study show that hiring for soft skills is critical for organizations looking to innovate and future-proof their business.
Looking for top tech talent? Make sure your new hire possesses all the soft skills they need to succeed in their role.
As you likely are aware, technology professionals do more than sit in from of computer screens all day. To succeed in a tech role, your potential hire must be able to effectively communicate with customers, vendors, and team members. Tech professionals need to be prepared not only to solve for complex issues, but also to campaign on behalf of the best possible solution.
Here are a few questions that will help you vet for this important soft skill:
- How would you simplify [insert technical issue] in order to explain it to a client or colleague?
- Tell me about a time at work when you had a great idea and influenced your peers to rally behind it.
- How would you go about communicating a point that you know your colleagues will be resistant to?
- Are you comfortable using storytelling to translate complex concepts?
In the tech world, problems will arise, and your team needs to be ready to develop solutions. The way your potential hire might respond to issues on the job matters a great deal. Building a team of people who are prepared to get to the root of a problem quickly, troubleshoot effectively, and resolve confidently will save you major headaches down the road.
Here are a few problem-solving questions to include in your next interview:
- Describe a time when you predicted a potential problem and were able to solve it BEFORE it became an urgent matter.
- How do you go about deciding when to solve an issue on your own or reach out for help?
- Let’s say [insert hypothetical scenario likely to occur on the job]. How would you find a solution?
According to the Education Advisory Board, creativity is the number one in-demand soft skill for STEM professionals to possess. It makes sense — tech professionals are constantly peering into the future, looking for new ways to deliver value. In order to thrive and contribute in an ever-changing environment, you’ll need to be comfortable thinking outside the box.
Here are three questions to determine each candidate’s creative chops:
- Tell me about a time when you had to think “outside the box” to get the job done. What was the result?
- Describe a time at work when you challenged the way things had always been done.
- Tell me about a time when you lacked the skills or knowledge to complete an assignment.
Bottom line? Soft skills matter. As technology continues to evolve, these interpersonal skills will only rise in value and importance in the workplace. Need help finding your perfect fit? Connect with one of our tech staffing experts today.