Methods for Recruiting Remote Engineers with the Necessary “Soft” Skills

For some time, the reclassification of what has been traditionally labelled as “soft” skills in the IT industry has been advocated for. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic compelled engineering teams to work remotely, many argued that the existing “core” abilities should be altered to emphasise the significance of leadership, communication, teamwork, listening, and empathy. Dan Roberts, a specialist in the IT workforce, has noted that “labelling abilities as soft undervalues them”. Therefore, when debating the value of soft skills in today’s workplace, IT managers should refer to them as “core competencies”.

For a considerable period of time, coding skills were deemed essential for job applicants seeking to pursue a career in a technical field such as software development, according to Al Sene of Digital Ocean. However, in recent years, the focus has shifted and additional competencies, such as strong communication capabilities, the ability to rapidly assess a situation, and the capacity to motivate and empathise with colleagues, are now being seen as increasingly important.

Due to the epidemic, many companies have gone completely remote, increasing the need of these “core” talents.

It is easy to forget that colleagues who are not visible in the office are not out of sight and out of mind. However, this mentality can be detrimental for teams that are entirely remote. According to research conducted by Vital Smarts, an organisation devoted to training initiatives, virtual teammates are significantly more likely to detect a lack of trust, incompetence, broken commitments, and poor decision-making between remote colleagues than those who are co-located. This is especially concerning in the midst of a global health crisis, as many people are now working remotely from different parts of the world.

We’re in deep peril if people seem distrustful to one another.

Engineering teams are highly esteemed for their capacity to assess the technical expertise of job candidates. As part of the recruitment process, competitions such as hackathons and coding challenges are regularly organised to assess the coding and other skills of applicants. Once the technical evaluation is complete, developers are assigned tasks in accordance with their level of proficiency, which is determined by a combination of their years of experience and the outcomes of technical assessments. On the other hand, software development is increasingly becoming a team effort that necessitates a collective effort in problem-solving and creative approaches.

Many engineering companies are failing to consider empathy when assessing the soft skills of potential candidates. Have you seen any advertisements for camps that offer to teach people how to build confidence in those around them?

As the number of remote jobs increases, it has become increasingly apparent that there is a need to provide people with the necessary tools to develop their soft skills, enabling them to communicate effectively and successfully from various locations, according to Sene.

At Works, we understand the importance of having engineers with the right soft skills for remote teams. That’s why we assess and evaluate engineers based on their technical expertise as well as their mastery of a set of skills we refer to as “Universal Competencies” (PSUC). These values-based talents include following protocols, taking initiative, and accepting responsibility. Furthermore, our definition of universal competencies encompasses abilities that transcend technology, such as time management, communication, and collaboration. By ensuring that our engineers possess the requisite soft skills, we can ensure that our remote teams are well-equipped to succeed.

As managers in the engineering department at Works, we are aware that remote workers must put in the work to be involved in team conversations. Moreover, they need to have the boldness to express themselves when they detect an issue, understand something is wrong, or think someone else could use help. Through our experience of matching thousands of remote engineers with hundreds of companies, we have found that leadership, empathy, and communication are absolutely essential.

With the advent of the digital era, companies are beginning to recognise the benefits of having geographically dispersed teams, particularly in the engineering field where working from home is becoming increasingly commonplace. According to Roberts, it is not enough to rely solely on technical know-how for success in this new era; having a well-rounded team with expertise in areas beyond coding is essential for productivity, creativity, and flexibility. Roberts further states that having such a team in place will enable any company to remain agile and able to change in any given situation.

Related Article: Soft Skills Required for Every Software Developer

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