What’s your story?
When I see IT companies grow their technical teams I often wonder: Are you hiring the right engineers? I’ve been an IT hiring manager for many years, and because of this, I’ve found that the brightest talent has acquired desired technical skills but may be missing desired soft skills. I have learned to evaluate a host of soft skills that are necessary for success in the IT engineering role today. We can’t just assume because an engineer has Active Directory knowledge in projects that they can overcome today’s obstacles and be able to adhere to a company’s mission.
Today we require a number of skills that were not previously considered. I look for passion, ability to learn, CREATIVITY, and strategic thinking. A great consultant engineer today possesses these soft skills. However, it’s hard to ensure that you are hiring with these in mind. While at Microsoft I learned from Satya Nadella about the growth mindset.
What is a growth mindset?
Harvard business defines a growth mindset as an individual who believes that their talents can be developed through hard work, input of others, and overall good strategies. They tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset. This is because they spend less time on “looking smart” and more on putting energy into learning.
If they can code, I can put them in the backroom and maximize the talent of their technical skills and move on. These days are gone. We need all aspects of our business to be highly collaborative, explain the problem, tell compelling stories and arguments to achieve new norms.
Our thought process
At Forsyte, when we look at hiring a new employee, we evaluate both the technical skills and the soft skills of team fit, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking. We look to hire people who are open to feedback and welcome the collaborative approach that supports their growth. We as coaches, also need to be open to growth (a talk for another blog).
While at Microsoft I learned the most important soft skill is active listening. Too often we address client issues with half a story. We feel we know the answer and after 5-10 minutes, launch into a concerted effort to close the business and show how smart we are. The problem is: we didn’t listen. We don’t understand the “business requirements” and we fail to listen to the concerns of our clients.
In an effort to grow and expand a company, we as coaches and hiring managers need to make sure that the IT engineers we hire are focused on career development that encompasses both technical achievements and soft skills for this new digital expansion. So please take a moment and reflect on what you have achieved. Have you worked on the soft skills you need to succeed? Are you going to be a mismatch for your employer because you need more critical thinking? What’s your story?
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