Skills And Attitude: For Technology Professionals, They Both Matter

July 27, 2020
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top technology talent

The global technology industry has long been governed by many unhealthy stereotypes—the under representation of women in technology, the lack of ethnic diversity and the image of technology professionals as self-proclaimed ‘binaries’ with no appreciation for inferential or qualitative insights. Popular media has reinforced an image of coders as inward-looking individuals who lack interpersonal skills, corporate culture adaptability, or any skill for that matter except software development.

Nothing could be further from the truth.


Demand for so-called soft skills is growing and destined to grow further. In its “2022 Skills Outlook,” three of the ten growing skills listed by the World Economic Forum are soft skills:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership and social influence and
  • Creativity, originality, and initiative

The good news is, the dearth of these skills is not as severe in software technology professionals as one would think: The challenge is knowing first—what to measure, and second, how to measure it accurately.

Staffing Agencies Are Not The Answer

Because these skills are qualitative, they’re often overlooked by staffing agencies. The cost of developing, measuring and then maintaining such a system is simply not worth the agencies’ efforts.

So if staffing agencies—which one may assume are in the business of finding people jobs—are not best equipped to do this, who is? To answer this question, it’s important to take a step back: Staffing agencies operate on targets and commissions. It’s not the quality of the hire that’s the biggest concern, but how quickly and generously he/she justifies the ROI on efforts invested. So a strong resume doesn’t offer any increased chance of quick placement against an ordinary resume if the candidate is overqualified for the jobs available with the agency.

Even if there is speedy placement, the candidate will have to compromise on the negotiated salary and so on. As a result, the law of averages prevails. The more specific a skillset, the less likely it will be to surface for popular roles, and the less likely it is to surface, the lower the probability that qualitative aspects will be considered.

Technology Eco-System

Now let’s approach the problem in a different way: What if there’s a technology ecosystem, of which top technology talent forms the core? What if the quality of technology talent affects all other components of the ecosystem? When a career solution is designed around such an ecosystem, the considerations are different. While speed is an important factor, thoroughness weighs in more heavily.

That’s where multi-factor vetting comes in. To qualify for each applicant must clear a 3-stage validation process. The profiles of technology experts are assessed not just for how closely they match the hiring managers’ requirements but for other factors that will have deeper and lasting returns on their technology career.

Also Read: Technology Expert: 3 Things Hiring Managers Want You To Know

3 Key Vetting Factors for Technology Professionals

Technical Expertise

Experienced talent managers use a repository of technology recruiting resources to verify applicants’ technical skills. This isn’t just cognitive testing, but an assessment of the candidate’s ability to stay updated with the latest product releases, etc.

Functional Adequacy

How much domain knowledge (e.g. finance, supply chain, etc) does the applicant have of the industry or function he/she is seeking a job or project in? Can he/she successfully apply this knowledge to solve the clients’ business challenges?

Behavioral Compatibility

Now comes the critical part. Behavioral compatibility represents that one aspect that is least likely to be automated or replaced by a robot. The adage “hire for attitude, train for skills” doesn’t hold true for software developers (technical skills are a must-have)! Instead, it’s more like “hire for skills, fire for a bad attitude”. Professionalism, courtesy, integrity, dedication, and teamwork are values that cannot be accurately measured in a questionnaire. But ’s screening mechanism filters behavioral ‘red flags’ before they become problematic for future employers.

Skills and Attitude For Technology Professionals – Decisive Thoughts

How do you measure a good attitude in your organization? What values are most prized in your corporate culture? Let us know in the comments below.



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