A change is taking place in the IT Industry that has a major impact on the way organisations should now look to recruit software development people. The so called ‘hard skills’ such as an applicant’s technology skills, qualifications, and certifications should simply be an entry requirement and a greater focus should be placed on the ‘softer skills’.

The core competencies that a recruiter should now be looking for are the behavioural skills. Whilst these are sometimes difficult to extract, a skilled recruiter with a competency based recruitment method should be able to identify applicants who will not only suit new ways of working but also enhance the team.

What are the competencies organisations should now be looking for? 

Competencies such as being a team player, possessing excellent communication skills, the ability to pick up new skills quickly, flexibility, and a ‘can do’ attitude, to name just a few. Some organisations may already feature these as part of their profiles for candidates but these should now be a prominent part of the recruitment process, with new employees required to perform each to a high level on a daily basis.

What is driving the change in focus?

The growing adoption of Agile software development practices has significantly changed in the way project teams work. No longer are they required to work as technical specialists in silos but are now expected to work in cross-functional teams, the majority of which will become self-directing work teams. Employees are also expected to have direct customer contact, understand the business, and be able to actively participate in team meetings where they will have an equal standing and say in decisions regarding the project’s delivery plan.

The success of these Agile teams is directly related to the ability of the team to ‘gel’ together and deliver high quality software. This way of working is a significant departure from the traditional approaches to software development. The challenge for HR departments is to strategically align their recruitment policy and practices to support software teams and deliver candidates who will not only fit with the new ways of working, but enhance and develop it further to the benefit of the team, organisation and the customer.