Companies who hire for midlevel positions want job candidates to have technical skills. But fundamentals matter more in the long run: Tech-savvy candidates who also possess people skills enjoy a solid edge in the hiring process.
Many executives who run a global organization view people skills as a vital leadership trait. The combination of leadership and technical competence is viewed extremely well in a results-driven company: It means high-potential employees can communicate the mission, troubleshoot problems, and motivate teams dispersed across different time zones and cultures to get the job done.
Think of what happens when the opposite is true. A manager and team members get frustrated with an arrogant IT guy who can't see the forest for the trees and causes project delays due to miscommunication of requirements and milestones. Or a marketing department misallocates funds due to a digital marketer poorly communicating marketplace signals from a campaign.
A lack of soft skills results in seen and unforeseen costs to an enterprise. Here are a couple of ways to get the most out of a global team.
1. Find the right candidates.
An exam that tests for programming skills or analytical reasoning is a good start. LinkedIn writer Bruce Anderson suggests the following when screening for emotional intelligence (EQ): "[Ask] how did the candidate handle a previous mistake or what motivates them; giving candidates personality assessments; or bringing them on for short-term projects. Managers can also build emotional intelligence on their current teams by, say, modeling appropriate behavior, making feedback regular and fact-based, and providing assertiveness training."
Amiad Soto, co-founder and CEO of short-term property management platform Guesty, which grew from 140 to over 315-plus employees in the past year, personally interviewed every potential new hire until the company's growth made it no longer possible. Though this was time-consuming, doing so allowed Soto and his managers to build strong teams with the right DNA.
2. Communicating means confirming.
Communicating at the office boils down to confirming and reaffirming tasks and responsibilities, and that requires leaving egos at the door. Talented but arrogant employees often ignore the "basic stuff," which then results in failure.
Executives and teams at Freedom Holding Corp. hold conference calls every week, and more if there are pending transactions. Staff members are spread across five countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and management believes it's important to communicate updates and milestones to keep everyone up to speed, and keep clients happy.
3. Emphasize the mission.
Some staff members have narrow technical responsibilities. However, leaders must keep reminding all managers and workers what the larger mission is. Failure to do so can lead to low morale and a lack of meaning in one's work.
One venture, BetProtocol, has team members who frequently travel across Europe and North America, which requires constant coordination via platforms like Telegram and email. The firm enables entrepreneurs and software developers to launch their own gaming application in minutes with no coding required.
CEO Rui Pedro says that colleagues must communicate clearly and succinctly -- igital channels let you express fewer words than face-to-face meetings -- and that requires emotional intelligence from both sender and recipient, so they can align on expectations despite battling traffic or going through airport security.
A 2017 survey by GMAC found the top three soft skills that employers want: oral communications, listening skills and adaptability. Enough said.