Sunday, May 26, 2024

How soft skills influence hiring remote developers

What comes first to your mind when you think about a job description for your new team member? I bet it is a list of technologies: 5+ years of experience in PHP, system architecture, web-servers – Apache, Nginx, etc.

Any soft skills? Let’s tell the truth, they are usually copied from the other vacancies. Hardly any recruiter things of finding a developer who is good at writing or planning.

Are soft skills really so important?

If you don’t care who to work with, then no, they aren’t. If you want smooth and efficient processes, then the answer is yes. Especially if we talk about remote work that makes soft skills are 4 times more important.

The truth is that soft skills are as important as background and experience. Let’s consider planning and writing.

When you hire a remote team, you cannot control it in the way you do it with you in-house workers. But you need the work done no matter how close are your employees. What you can do is to hire independent and self-aware people. They know how to plan their day so that commit a task in time. You won’t spend much time watching them and instead will get more things done.

Writing? It often surprises recruiters because they need “a developer, not a storyteller”. But when it comes to communication in messengers and chats, they get why the ability to express the idea in written form matters so much. It appears that outstanding speakers cannot string a sentence together.

Turning a blind eye to soft skills leads to…

Imagine the situation when soft skills are rejected and only developers’ experience matters. Later it will lead to the following issues within the company:

No rapport with colleagues

With a medley of all kinds of people in your team, sooner or later a conflict will occur in a company. Scenario 1: team members will stay passive and take no interest in communicating with each other because they have nothing in common. Scenario 2: Differences in ideas, approaches, and viewpoints cause argument that is firstly related to work stuff and then it escalates up to personal offenses and quarrels.

Lack of enthusiasm

Enthusiasm and laziness are as catchy as any mood. Depending on the feelings prevailing among the workers, you can have either super-mega-active or dull and depressive team. Balance is the key. Hiring cheerful leaders only can be as damaging as getting a team of melancholics.

Loss of interest

Remote work is often described as an earthly heaven. But if remote employees are not self-motivated, it can soon become a hell both for them and their employers. The latter ones cannot spend all their time on supporting and communicating, and gradually workers start neglecting their job because they feel uncontrolled.

Undermined discipline

When one of the team gets lazy, the rest takes his/her example. Or they get angry which leads to further conflict – arguments, low performance rate, and missed deadlines as a result. Such atmosphere makes better workers leave the company and employer fights employee turnover.

Ducking responsibility

If you hire an irresponsible person for a remote team, you might face difficulties with managing such worker. It is time-consuming as a PM or you spend more time on finding the right approach to the person. As a result, the company turns into a kindergarten with an uncontrollable kid and top managers serving as a nanny.

Important soft skills for remote developers

Small business and large corporations suffer from poor recruitment and HR solutions that lead them to nowhere. But in fact, you can easily avoid these troubles by looking for the soft skills that match your business and your team. Among the most important ones there are:

Interpersonal skills

Building rapport with people sitting next to you is challenging. Sometimes people fail to make nice with the colleagues when they work in the same office, not to mention the situations when they are separated by long distances.

Having employees with good interpersonal skills on both sides is crucial for smooth communication. Don’t mix it up with being talkative. Interpersonal skills are all about the ability to catch the mood and be on the same wave with the others. It also presupposes some flexibility and adapting to the situation.

Motivation for development

You are going to hire a specialist that works in IT, one of the most dynamic and developing industry in the world. Technologies become obsolete quickly, and programmers need not only to keep pace with all novelties but even be ahead of the trends.

And the main thing is that zeal to learn should be “self-ignite”. Self-motivated people are the core of remote teams as they don’t need any additional monitoring and support.

Interest in the industry

Besides the interest in technology, your remote team member should demonstrate a passion to the industry. Let’s say, you deal with healthcare. Then, look for a developer who follows the trends in medicine and check out the news about the latest healthcare inventions. Firstly, it strengthens person’s development motivation. And secondly, it is your company’s chance to apply these trends to your business.

As you can see, the right skills for remote software developers are not a rocket science. Simply by hiring the right person, you can solve the problem of the whole HR department – fill the vacancy and avoid at least five possible types of conflicts within the company.


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Iva Kozlovskaya
Iva Kozlovskaya
Iva Kozlovskaya is a Managing Partner of Qubit Labs, company that sets up dedicated development teams and R&D offices in Ukraine. She is an internationally certified HR (Thomas PPA) and the winner of HR brand 2013 by HeadHunter Ukraine. Iva holds Master’s Degree in Psychology. She gives lectures about peculiarities of working in IT industry and holds business consultations on choosing the right candidates and setting up remote development teams. At her free time she participates in creation and development of social responsibility projects.