Wed Jul 26 2023
Founders & Tech Leaders

Role of Soft Skills in Tech Hiring

Soha Rajput
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Gen Z businesses no longer look for technical skills in technical recruitment. Instead, hiring managers assess candidates based on soft and interpersonal skills as they believe candidates with specialized skills and other skill sets will have a competitive advantage in the tech industry.

As a matter of fact, 92% of recruiters in LinkedIn's Global Talent Trends research said that soft skills are as necessary as, or more critical than, hard skills when making a recruit. Additionally, 89% of respondents claimed that a lack of soft skills was the main reason a recruit was unsuccessful.

This blog will identify the crucial role of soft skills and how to find IT professionals with exceptional non-technical skills such as communication and collaboration.

What are Soft Skills?

Skills in areas other than technical expertise, such as communication and interpersonal interaction, are known as "soft skills" and are essential for success in the modern workplace. They are vital for success in many professions but compared to technical skills, they are difficult to quantify and assess. 

They may be regarded as innate personality qualities or social abilities but are often developed and refined over time. Since they indicate employees' potential for success and adaptability, sensible employers place a high value on soft skills in the hiring process. Working effectively with others, dealing with setbacks and making sound decisions are examples of soft skills highly valued in various occupations.

Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

Soft skills refer to personal attributes and interpersonal abilities, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving and adaptability.

On the other hand, hard skills refer to technical or job-specific abilities, such as coding, project management, or data analysis. These skills are often taught through formal education or on-the-job training and they are easier to measure and evaluate than soft skills.

While soft and hard skills serve different purposes, they are both necessary for success in the workplace.

Here are some ways in which soft skills and hard skills relate to each other:

- Complementary: Soft skills and hard skills are complementary to each other. For example, a software engineer may have strong technical skills in programming and coding. Still, they also need strong communication and teamwork skills to effectively collaborate with other engineers, project managers and stakeholders.

- Interdependent: Soft and hard skills are interdependent, meaning they can influence each other. For example, a project manager with strong leadership and communication skills may be better able to train and mentor their team members, leading to improved hard skills development.

- Transferable: Soft skills can be transferable across different industries and job roles, whereas hard skills are often more specific to a particular field or job. For example, employees with strong communication and problem-solving skills can apply these skills in various roles, from customer service to management.

Importance of Soft Skills in Tech Hiring

Soft skills are critical in the tech industry because it is a collaborative and rapidly evolving field that requires individuals to work effectively with others and adapt to new technologies and processes. In addition, the tech industry often requires individuals to communicate complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders, making communication and collaboration skills essential.

Here are some significant reasons behind the importance of soft skills in tech hiring:

1. Client Interaction

Technical professionals often interact with clients who may need a more technical background. Therefore, soft skills such as effective communication and explaining complex concepts in non-technical terms are crucial in building positive client relationships.

2. Innovation

Technical professionals often must innovate and find creative solutions to complex problems. Critical thinking, adaptability and problem-solving skills can help professionals approach issues from different angles and find unique solutions.

3. Leadership

Technical professionals are often promoted to leadership positions, where soft skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy and delegation are critical to managing and motivating teams.

By hiring candidates with solid and soft skills, employers in the tech industry can improve communication and collaboration, increase employee engagement and retention, enhance innovation and creativity and improve customer service and satisfaction.

Must read: The New Age of Management: Mastering Remote Developer Team Leadership

Here are some stats that highlight the significance of soft skills in tech hiring:

  1. A study by Harvard University found that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills, while only 15% comes from technical skills and knowledge.

  2. A survey by Udemy found that 80% of employees believe that soft skills training is essential for career development.

  3. A survey by Deloitte found that 90% of companies see soft skills as a critical priority for their organization's success.

  4. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 77% of employers believe that soft skills are just as critical as hard skills when assessing candidates.

These statistics show that employers highly value soft skills that are critical to success in the tech industry.

Important Soft Skills Required in Tech Industry

1. Communication Skills:

Communication Skills - Important Soft Skills Required in Tech Industry Practical communication skills are critical in the tech industry, as technical professionals must explain complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders. According to a survey by Udemy, 70% of employees believe that communication skills are essential for career success. Moreover, in a study by LinkedIn, communication was one of the top five skills employers looked for in job candidates.

Must read: Building a High-Performance Remote Developer Culture: Communication and Collaboration Strategies

2. Teamwork and Collaboration:

Importance of Teamwork and Collaboration Teamwork and collaboration skills are essential in the tech industry, as many technical projects require input and expertise from multiple individuals or teams. According to a survey by LinkedIn, teamwork was one of the top five skills employers looked for in job candidates.

3. Time Management and Prioritization:

Importance of Time Management and Prioritization Time management and prioritization skills are critical in the tech industry, as professionals need to manage their time effectively to meet deadlines and deliver projects on time. Professionals in this field often juggle multiple projects, deadlines and tasks simultaneously, and managing their time effectively is crucial to deliver high-quality work on time.

Time management skills refer to allocating time appropriately to various tasks and projects, ensuring that each one is given the attention it deserves. Professionals must identify which tasks are urgent and important and which can be deferred or delegated. They should also be able to estimate how long each task will take and plan their day accordingly.

4. Adaptability and Flexibility:

soft skills important Adaptability and flexibility skills are essential in the tech industry, as it is a rapidly evolving field that requires professionals to adapt to new technologies, processes and workflows.

Being adaptable means learning new skills and technologies quickly and easily. In the tech industry, professionals may need to learn new programming languages, operating systems, or software applications on a regular basis. They must also be able to adapt to changes in processes and workflows, such as new project management methodologies or software development frameworks.

5. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking:

Improve soft skills Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are crucial in the tech industry, as professionals need to analyze complex problems and develop innovative solutions. A survey by LinkedIn found that problem-solving was one of the top five skills employers looked for in job candidates. Additionally, according to a study by Glassdoor, problem-solving skills were among the top skills employers looked for in software engineer job listings.

These soft skills are critical in the tech industry, and employers increasingly prioritize them in hiring. As a result, technical professionals with these skills are more likely to succeed in the industry and advance in their careers.

How to Identify Essential Soft Skills

Once hiring managers have identified the most important soft skills for the role, the next step is to assess whether job candidates possess these skills.

Here are some effective ways to identify soft skills in candidates:

1. Behavioral Interview Questions:

Behavioral interview questions are designed to help employers understand how candidates have behaved in specific situations in the past. These questions can help assess soft skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving and adaptability. For example, a behavioral interview question for collaboration could be "Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult team member. How did you handle the situation?"

2. Situational Interview Questions:

Situational interview questions are designed to assess how candidates would behave in hypothetical situations. These questions can help assess soft skills such as problem-solving, communication and adaptability. For example, a situational interview question for adaptability could be, "What would you do if given a task outside your area of expertise?"

Must read: Top 10 Technical Interview Questions Hiring Managers Ask

3. Reference Checks:

Reference checks can be a valuable tool for assessing a candidate's soft skills. Employers can ask reference questions about candidates' communication, teamwork, problem-solving and soft skills. For example, an employer could ask a reference, "Can you tell me when the candidate had to work on a team project? How did they contribute to the team's success?"

4. Work Sample Tests:

Work sample tests can provide valuable insight into a candidate's soft skills. These tests allow candidates to demonstrate their problem-solving, communication, teamwork and other soft skills. For example, a candidate for a software engineering role could be given a coding challenge that requires collaboration and communication with other team members.

By combining these methods, employers can comprehensively understand a candidate's soft skills and how they align with the role's requirements.

Also read: Best Practices for Remote Developer Interviews: Tips and Techniques

Benefits of Hiring Candidates with Strong Soft Skills

1. Improved Communication and Collaboration:

- Better teamwork and collaboration: Employees with solid and soft skills are better able to communicate effectively, collaborate with others and work together towards common goals.

- Higher quality work: Effective communication and collaboration can lead to higher quality work that meets or exceeds expectations.

- Reduced conflict and misunderstandings: Strong, soft-skill employees can better handle and resolve misunderstandings, leading to a more positive work environment.

2. Higher Employee Engagement and Retention:

- Increased job satisfaction: Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to be satisfied with their job, leading to higher engagement and retention rates.

- Lower turnover: Investing in employees with essential skills can lower turnover rates, reducing the cost and disruption of replacing staff.

- Increased productivity: Engaged employees are more likely to be productive and motivated, leading to better outcomes for the business.

3. Increased Innovation and Creativity:

- Improved problem-solving: Employees with strong interpersonal skills are better able to solve problems and generate innovative solutions, leading to new ideas and opportunities for the business.

- More flexibility and adaptability: Employees with critical soft skills can adapt to changes and challenges more efficiently, leading to a more agile and innovative workforce.

- Improved decision-making: Employees with strong leadership and teamwork skills can make informed decisions and think critically, leading to better outcomes for the business.

4. Enhanced Customer Service and Satisfaction:

- Improved customer interactions: Soft skills matter; social skills can provide exceptional customer service, leading to positive customer experiences.

- Increased customer loyalty: Satisfied customers are likelier to become loyal, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

- Improved brand reputation: Exceptional customer service can enhance the business's reputation and brand image, increasing customer trust and loyalty.

Hiring candidates with a solid positive attitude and inclination to learn new skills can lead to many benefits, including improved communication and collaboration, higher employee engagement and retention, increased innovation and creativity and enhanced customer service and satisfaction. In addition, hiring managers should invest in a person's ability to learn soft skills during the hiring process; businesses can build a positive and productive work environment that supports the success and growth of their business.

How to Hire Candidates with Desired Soft Skills?

Remotebase's candidate screening process allows businesses to filter candidates based on their skills and experience, narrowing their search to those with a history of working in collaborative environments and possessing strong communication skills.

Now, businesses can assess a candidate's soft skills, including problem-solving, creativity and attention to detail. Remotebase is an ideal resource for companies looking to find the best candidates with soft and hard skills to help build a well-rounded and productive workforce.

Ready to build a top-notch remote workforce with a 2-week risk-free trial and no upfront charges?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of soft skills in communication?

Soft skills are critical in communication as they help individuals effectively convey their thoughts, ideas and messages. Soft skills like active listening, empathy and clarity can help ensure the audience receives and understands the message.

Why are soft skills necessary in tech?

Soft skills are essential in tech as they help individuals work collaboratively, communicate effectively and adapt to new challenges. Strong soft skills can help foster positive relationships in a team environment, leading to increased engagement, creativity and productivity.

How do soft skills improve collaboration as an information technology practitioner?

Soft skills can help IT practitioners work effectively with diverse stakeholders, such as clients and customers, to understand their needs and provide the best solutions. Soft skills are critical for effective collaboration and success as an information technology practitioner.

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