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Soft Skills & Hard Skills

The importance of soft skills in technical profiles

eye 146 Published on 29 Aug. 2023
Soft-skills
tag #Potential identification

IT developers, engineers or maintenance technicians: technical profiles have a number of traits in common. They are generally technology enthusiasts who are passionate about their job, but whose personal qualities are often undervalued by recruiters.

Does this IT developer have good interpersonal skills? Is this engineer predisposed to managerial roles?
Few recruiters still ask themselves this type of question when hiring a technical profile. We generally pay extra attention to assessing the technical skills of these professionals, but all too often, we forget to look at their personal qualities. Today, however, it is in the companies' interests to broaden their thinking to anticipate and recruit people who have the potential to progress to positions with greater responsibility.

Changing profiles

Since the 1990s, technical professions have undergone major changes. For a long time, it was confined to programs and machines, with no interaction with other departments. However, these professionals are now increasingly called upon to work with different teams and customer relations. This is a long-lasting trend that is growing both internally and externally. A job description that is limited to purely technical aspects has become a rare commodity, and interpersonal skills are becoming essential for these positions.

In companies that provide IT services, for example, logic is still considered to be the determining factor for this type of profile. While this remains important, it does not provide a complete picture of the candidate's personality and potential. Using a personality and emotional intelligence test will enable us to assess the candidate's ability to interact, communicate and demonstrate assertiveness to an external or internal client. This last skill, assertiveness, is particularly important because a technician needs to know how to see things from different perspectives while showing tact and diplomacy.

Increasingly complex assignments

The development of new technologies also has a significant impact on professions with a technical aspect. To cope with these constant changes, these profiles need to have a certain willingness to learn, so that they can regularly develop their skills. To assess this, the training and extracurricular activities mentioned in the CV can be a good indicator. This desire to learn and excel can also be highlighted by a motivation test. With these developments, technical assignments are also becoming increasingly complex. This means being able to ask the right questions, inventive, curious and reflective. In this case, a critical reasoning test will assess the candidate's ability to take a step back and analyse situations. As this assessment requires a great deal of skill, it is also interesting to study these elements during a practical exercise.

Management skills

Long before technical expertise, taking on responsibility in a company requires a good grasp of social skills. However, technical profiles may often exhibit introverted traits, which may cause challenges in communication with others. If you want to develop an individual into a manager, you will need to assess their ability to manage a team. An in-depth interview based on the results of a personality test will enable you to assess the candidate's potential for a managerial role.
As you can see from these points, the soft skills revolution in the recruitment of technical profiles is well underway. Subject to changes in technology and working methods, these profiles now need to demonstrate a range of skills. To detect and properly assess these profiles, a combination of interviews, tests and role-playing exercises can be used to highlight the interpersonal and creative qualities of candidates. Companies that succeed in assessing and integrating these skills into their recruitment process can benefit from a more efficient technical team and greater harmony within the company.

Helen Simard

Consultant psychologist (career guidance and psychometrics)

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