Labeling skills as soft undervalues them. To prioritize skills such as communication, IT leaders must call them what they are in the digital era: Core.
IT job interviews: 11 ways to stand out to CIOs
As IT tackles challenging mandates in the digital era – from driving competitive advantage for the business to improving the customer journey – CIOs know that hiring the right IT talent directly correlates to success. That's why IT leaders are looking beyond the technical skills that new hires bring, and prioritizing soft skills and qualities such as curiosity during the interview process.
We asked IT and business leaders to share one characteristic they hold above the rest when it comes to hiring IT talent.
Paul Brady, CIO, Arbella Insurance Group: "It sounds cliché, but I look for good people. By the time candidates get to my office, I already know they have the level of competency needed for the job. So what I am primarily looking for is personality and traits that fit in with our culture. Can they balance working hard with having fun in the workplace? Can they build personal-professional relationships? These are the things I’m looking for."
3. Team player
6. Communication skills
, CEO, Sencha: "Any business, especially the software business, is a team sport that operates across a wide variety of challenging environments. The most important trait I look for in a potential candidate who will need to significantly contribute to the organization and thrive as an employee is a problem-solving team player. It is amazing how quickly organizational stovepipes can appear, even in the smallest organizations; or how easy it is to think a problem is someone else’s to solve, even if it impacts you directly. Team players look across all aspects of the organization to gain a deeper understanding of the end-to-end operation and build positive relationships that enhance communications. This leads directly to either preventing problems outright or quickly identifying and solving problems in a pro-active manner – preventing small problems from becoming major issues. We don’t want 'problem announcers' – we want 'problem solvers.'"
10. Comfort with ambiguity
, PMO executive: "One thing I look for is someone who is comfortable with ambiguity. A lot of times, people want things that are very clearly defined, and they see the world black and white – especially those who are more technically minded. But in IT, there are gray areas. There’s a tremendous amount of ambiguity, especially if you’re working on something transformational. So when I look for new hires, I look for people who have the ability to work well with ambiguity. Rather than feeling frustrated or stifled by it, they see it as a challenge. They are energized by ambiguity and the opportunity to bring clarity to a situation where it doesn’t currently exist."
11. Balanced ego
Arumugham, corporate vice president, technology, Ebix: "I look for someone with a balanced ego: Someone who takes the job seriously but doesn’t take themselves that seriously. I also want someone to feel comfortable standing up in a group to say, 'This is what I think,' regardless of where you are in the pecking order. Just because someone has a more senior title doesn’t mean their ideas are better than yours."