How Important are Soft Skills when Recruiting for Federal IT Positions?
It might seem that every Federal agency is searching for potential IT candidates. Not only does the President’s Management Agenda call for modernizing IT and optimizing data utilization, but also raising standards for the government workforce. This combination creates a tall order for HR professionals who support Federal agencies. While each agency remains laser-focused on its mission, it must also find the time and financial resources to upskill, reskill, and recruit people who will be facilitating their IT modernization transformation.
It’s because of this challenge that soft skills are so crucial – some might say just as crucial as technical aptitude. In addition to their functional responsibilities, IT professionals will need to:
- Communicate with stakeholders to give and receive essential details and feedback
- Collaborate with colleagues to share insights and build analyses
- Adapt to changing requirements, priorities, and emerging technologies
- Identify connections that expose vulnerabilities and mitigate risks
- Negotiate with decision-makers to acquire hardware, software, and human capital
Demand vs. Supply
With phenomenal demand for IT professionals across the globe, it is not easy to recruit highly-qualified candidates who meet your technical requirements and also have exceptional people skills. We recommend using assessment, training, and mentorship to get the best results from your workforce.
Assessment – Early and often, assess your IT staff’s ability to:
- Present technical information for non-technical audiences orally and in writing
- Lead initiatives
- Coordinate work with team members
- Present findings to groups
Training – Regularly offer training and professional development opportunities such as:
- Role-play exercises to refine interpersonal skills
- Training to improve writing skills
- Coaching to meet individual development objectives
- Team building exercises to strengthen collaboration and communication
Mentorship – Identify internal resources who can assist in bridging soft skill gaps; for example, people who have:
- Transitioned from a non-technical job to a technical role (or vice versa)
- Greatly improved their communication skills
- Motivated others to improve their performance
- Exhibited exceptional problem-solving skills
Like technology experts, HR professionals need to be flexible. As requirements change, so too will your HR strategies, opportunities, and solutions. Management Concepts salutes your ability to persevere as you strive to remain mission-focused for your agency while serving the American people.
Natalie Komitsky is the Content Marketing Manager at Management Concepts. For more than ten years, she has been creating compelling content that tells stories, communicates ideas, and captivates readers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Nonfiction Writing, and Editing from George Mason University.