The Soft Side of Tech: 12 Soft Skills Every Hiring Manager Should Look For
10-minute read
Published 12, Jun 2024
Why soft skills matter

Despite technological advancements, human judgment, creativity, and innovation are essential for success.

Soft skills set individuals and teams apart.

For example, effective communication helps to navigate remote work complexities and to maintain strong connections. So, while technical expertise is essential for completing tasks, soft skills complete the picture.

Seek candidates who excel in coding and communication to obtain a winning combination for building strong teams.

Soft skills are often overshadowed in an industry obsessed with technical prowess. However, they’re not just nice extras; they’re essential. In today’s tech-driven world, soft skills are more critical than ever. They enhance team dynamics, foster collaboration, and boost productivity. By prioritizing these skills, we can create a culture of innovation, delivering exceptional results for clients and end-users alike.

In this guide, let’s dive into the essence of 12 crucial soft skills— Empathy, Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Adaptability, Problem-Solving, Leadership, Teamwork, Time Management, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Creativity, Resilience, and Interpersonal Skills—and their profound impact on the tech sector.

According to a Deloitte report, soft skill-intensive occupations are projected to make up two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. This underscores the growing importance of soft skills, particularly in sectors like technology, where collaboration and innovation are paramount.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report predicts that by 2025, skills like complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, and emotional intelligence will be crucial in the workplace. This emphasizes the necessity for tech professionals to excel in technical areas and soft skills to stay competitive.

CLO Magazine’s Skill Durability Categorization offers valuable insights into the longevity of skills. They categorize skills into three distinct types:

  • Perishable Skills: These have a half-life of less than 2.5 years, including specific technology skills that undergo frequent updates.
  • Semi-durable Skills: Skills with a half-life between 2.5 and 7.5 years, comprising frameworks with foundational knowledge.
  • Durable Skills: These have a half-life exceeding 7.5 years, such as design thinking, project management practices, effective communication, and leadership. These enduring competencies remain foundational regardless of technological advancements.

This categorization highlights the significance of nurturing durable skills, especially in an industry marked by rapid technological advancements. By focusing on the cultivation of enduring competencies, tech professionals can navigate evolving landscapes with resilience and adaptability.

Illustrating 12 Soft Skills in Action

Soft skills are best demonstrated through practical examples. Here’s a glimpse into how they play out in real-world scenarios:

  • Empathy: Understanding and sharing others’ feelings is crucial for fostering strong relationships and positive outcomes.

    →  Example: A UX designer empathizes with end-users to grasp their frustrations with a mobile app’s navigation, leading to an enhanced user experience. 
  • Critical Thinking: Examining assumptions, developing coherent arguments, and analyzing complex issues from multiple perspectives.

    → Example: As AI advances, engineers must address ethical and technical challenges, scrutinize systems for biases, and ensure responsible development and deployment. This is especially crucial in AI, biotechnology, and environmental engineering, where decisions impact privacy, equity, and societal well-being.

  • Effective Communication: Clear, concise, and articulate communication is vital for success in any tech role.

     →Example: A software developer effectively communicates project timelines and milestones during a virtual stand-up meeting, ensuring team alignment and awareness of responsibilities.
  • Adaptability: Embracing change and thriving amidst uncertainty are essential in a fast-paced industry like tech.

     →  Example: An IT specialist swiftly learns and implements new cloud computing technologies to optimize the organization’s infrastructure and enhance operational efficiency.
  • Problem-Solving: Critical thinking and creative problem-solving are key to overcoming challenges and driving innovation.

    Example: A cybersecurity analyst employs creative problem-solving techniques to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities, safeguarding sensitive information. 
  • Leadership: Inspiring, empowering, and guiding others toward shared objectives is essential for organizational success.

    →  Example: A team lead fosters a collaborative environment where team members feel empowered to contribute ideas and drive project success.

  • Teamwork: Collaboration and effective teamwork are paramount for achieving collective goals and organizational success.

     → Example: A cross-functional team collaborates seamlessly to develop a software solution that exceeds client expectations.

  • Time Management: Efficiently managing time and priorities is essential for productivity and meeting deadlines.

     → Example: A project manager utilizes time management techniques to allocate resources efficiently and meet project milestones within tight deadlines.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Recognizing, understanding, and managing emotions are crucial for fostering a positive work environment. 

    →  Example: A software engineer demonstrates EQ by addressing team members’ concerns during a high-pressure project, fostering a supportive environment.

  • Creativity: Thinking outside the box and embracing experimentation are crucial for driving innovation.

     →  Example: A data scientist applies creative thinking to develop algorithms that uncover actionable insights from complex datasets.
  • Resilience: Persevering through setbacks and adversity is essential for thriving in a rapidly changing industry.

     → Example: A software developer demonstrates resilience by overcoming technical hurdles while developing a critical software application.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Building strong relationships and effective communication are vital for collaboration and achieving goals.→ Example: An IT project manager employs interpersonal skills to facilitate dialogue and resolve conflicts between team members, fostering a harmonious work environment.
Assessing Candidates: Soft Skills Questionnaire

Organizations must take a comprehensive approach to candidate assessment to ensure alignment with organizational goals and culture. Behavior-based interview questions offer valuable insights into candidates’ soft skills, enabling organizations to identify individuals who embody the desired attributes and contribute to organizational excellence.

Behavior-Based Interview Questions:

  1. How do you typically build rapport with colleagues and superiors?
  2. Can you provide an example of a problem you resolved using a creative or unconventional method?
  3. Describe a situation where you faced challenges working with a difficult individual. How did you handle it?
  4. What are your preferences for an ideal work environment and your communication style within a team?
  5. Share an instance where you required assistance or guidance on a project. How did you approach seeking help?
  6. Give an example of a time when you had to adapt to unexpected changes in a project. How did you handle it?
  7. Describe a situation where you successfully led a team through a challenging project. What strategies did you use?
  8. Can you discuss a time when you had to prioritize tasks under tight deadlines? How did you manage your time effectively?
  9. Share an experience where you had to resolve a conflict within a team. How did you approach it, and what was the outcome?
  10. Provide an example of a situation where you had to communicate complex information to a non-technical audience. How did you ensure understanding?
Soft Skills & Tech Expertise: Why Choose ZoolaTech

In conclusion, as the tech industry continues to evolve, mastering soft skills is no longer optional—it’s imperative. At ZoolaTech, a leading outsourcing custom software development company, we understand soft skills’ role in building strong tech teams and driving business success. Our mission is to empower organizations to thrive in the digital age by providing strong software solutions and ensuring their teams possess the essential soft skills needed to excel in today’s dynamic landscape.

With our expertise in talent acquisition and software development, we are committed to helping businesses achieve their goals by harnessing the power of technology and human ingenuity.

Don’t underestimate the power of human touch in a tech-driven world. 

Why choose Zoolatech as your software development company? 

  • ZoolaTech is a global software development company headquartered in the USA, with offices in Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey, and Mexico.
  • We provide flexible cooperation models: ODC, Team Extension, Managed Delivery, or mixed.
  • When starting cooperation, we provide a team of experts with 5+ years of experience.
  • ZoolaTech values every teammate regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, cultural background, or nationality.
  • 96% – client retention rate
  • 60% – senior software engineers
  • 50% – women in leadership
  • 10+ languages and 20+ nations
  • Trusted by Fortune 500 companies


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Anna Ginda
Marketing Director
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