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How to assess the soft skills of an IT candidate?
In the first part of the article, we focused on checking the hard skills of IT candidates. Now is the time to find the ways to test soft skills. But how? How to measure those skills that are unmeasurable? There are several ways, but let’s focus on the ones that are uncommon and worthwhile.
Watch and evaluate
A time-consuming but effective way to learn more about a candidate for a managerial position is to assign him or her a task that requires practical application of soft skills. This solution entails the participation of the staff, and it can be e.g. 30-minute work on a project during which a candidate will lead a group of software developers. In this way, you can assess the leadership qualities of a prospective employee, his or her ability to release pressure within a team, and whether he or she is predisposed to multitasking.
A more challenging, but possibly the best way to check whether a candidate is endowed with soft skills is to watch his or her behaviour before and after the end of a job interview – in situations where he or she would least expect to be under scrutiny. You can treat it as… a job of a detective. It requires the involvement of many people, but you may want to consider this option if you are looking for someone to fill a top-level position.
The candidate is carefully watched during his or her interactions with people from various levels of the company’s hierarchy: receptionists, regular employees, cafeteria staff, the cleaning team, or security. He or she is not aware that all these people will be sharing their views about him or her with the recruiters. This means that the candidate behaves naturally and does not pretend anything, which allows you to effectively assess his or her character and approach to people. It is a controversial method, but as it really gives you a chance to sieve through the arrogant and peevish ones from the rest, it is worth taking into consideration. After all, you do not want people of this sort around.
Recruit effectively and don’t waste time
If you cannot verify an IT candidate’s competencies in an effective and multidimensional way, the first stage at which his or her skills will be subjected to any type of check will be the probationary period. It is hard to regard this solution as profitable – both for you and for the candidate. If the new candidate fails to live up to your expectations, the entire selection process will have to start from scratch. In such an important matter, half-measures should be avoided, as it is much better to have Michael Page experts carry out the recruitment for you!
Why Michael Page?
Thanks to a well-grounded experience and expertise, we are able to analyse a number of key factors and identify a competent IT manager. We look closely at a candidate’s career path: we check where he or she has worked, and what his or her role was in a team. We use our own channels to reach people; they allow us to learn a lot more about a given candidate than he or she would like to tell us, e.g. about his or her actual contribution to the projects listed in the CV, and whether they were successful. We are at home with project methodology in IT; this means we can evaluate the working methods of a prospective employee in a reliable way. We also test the ability to describe one’s career path in a concise manner, as condensing information should never be underestimated in the case of a person who is expected to communicate with the team and superiors on a daily basis.
Our recruiters scrutinise candidates from the perspective of their readiness to introduce change and manage it. They also look at their attitude to direct reports – whether they place enough emphasis on communication with the team, or rather want to act arbitrarily based on their unquestionable operational schemes. At Michael Page, we know that today managerial positions require people who are ready to bring the company up to speed in digitalisation. After all, it can indeed be a make-or-break for business enterprises who strive to build their competitive advantage. Our experts reach out to leaders who do not waste their time doing micro-managing, but rather give their staff a chance to spread their wings and support them instead of controlling them.
We know what to ask about, and how to formulate the questions. Thanks to our knowledge and experience, the image of the candidate we present to our client is comprehensive.