How to avoid a soft skills gap in IT contracting

One of the recent topics within the HR world at the instant is ‘soft skills’, i.e. – personal attributes that enable professionals to interact effectively and harmoniously with people and organizations.

In traditionally relationship-focused professions, having good people skills has long been seen as a key think about achieving career success, but now these same skills are often being asked for in job specifications for technical roles.

At Hays Netherlands, we recently conducted a survey on soft skills in IT contracting because many of our clients are telling us that technical skills are now the minimum requirement for the IT contractors they hire, which soft skills are the important differentiator.

Indeed, the results of the survey confirmed that IT contractors are as conscious of the importance of sentimental skills as client organizations.

However, IT contractors aren’t yet prioritizing their soft skills development enough, despite there being no major barriers for them to try to so.

There was also a mismatch between which soft skills IT contractors saw as important in their job roles, and which soft skills they were actually making efforts to develop.

Both of those issues could lead on to a future soft skills gap within the IT contracting market, which might have a negative impact on both an IT contractor’s career prospects and an organization’s ability to finish their critical IT projects. Here’s my advice to both parties:

IT contractors

As an IT contractor, which areas do you have to specialize in so as to supply greater value to organizations and improve your career prospects?

1. Conduct a soft skills self-assessment

Look at an inventory of sentimental skills and provides yourself a rating from 1-5 on each. If you furthermore may choose the highest three needed in your role, this may assist you to priorities where to develop yourself.

You’ll also speak with ex-colleagues and managers to urge their opinion and see how this matches up together with your self-assessment. To urge a more impartial response you’ll even create a brief anonymous survey to send to them.

You’ll even discover hidden skills you didn’t know you had!

2. Take tangible steps to develop soft skills

As mentioned, seeking referee feedback is a method to develop your soft skills. Undertaking training associated with the actual soft skill you would like to develop, participating during a mentor scheme, getting speechmaking experience and attending industry events and networking also are all viable tactics.

Priorities your soft skill development within the same way you are doing your technical skills and you’ll stand aside from the gang. Lack of your time shouldn’t be an excuse.

3. Sell your soft skills in interviews

Rather than just listing your technical skills or describing the technical requirements of projects you’ve completed, enter detail about how you completed the task.

Have you ever overcome stakeholder friction together with your communications skills? Did you motivate your team to finish a key project milestone under a decent deadline?

Are you able to collaborate with non-technical functions to make sure your work meets business objectives? If so, confirm you tell your interviewer.

Given the importance placed on soft skills by hiring managers, this may increase your chances of getting a project and broaden the career options available to you.Hiring managers

As a hiring manager, how are you able to cultivate soft skills in your existing team and in new hires?

1. Address your soft skills gap

Audit your permanent team’s soft skill abilities through project involvement, testing or one-on one assessment. Once you’ve identified the critical gaps, implement an action plan for upskilling, which also considers your flexible workforce.

If you discover your teams are particularly weak in one area, priorities candidates who demonstrate this as strength when hiring IT contractors.

2. Detail soft skills needed in your job advert

What will a typical working day appear as if in your organization? Who will the candidate be working with and the way would you describe the culture of your team? How does their role fit into the broader objectives of your business?

If you give this information in your job advert or brief to your recruitment agency good candidates should be ready to tailor their application to point out how they will match these aspects of the role.

If they can’t, they probably don’t have the soft skills you would like albeit they meet the technical requirements of the role.

3. Test soft skills within the interview process

When hiring, transcend just prioritizing technical skills. Search for soft skills and test the potential candidate on their ability to use them effectively through their personal attributes.

Ask questions which give them the prospect to demonstrate these traits – behavioral or situational analysis questioning techniques are particularly effective here.