Your organization’s success is in hiring the right talent across different roles.
You could hire candidates with excellent technical skills and settle on their communications skills. But this mistake could slowly damage your organization because you might recruit the wrong candidates.
You know communications skills are essential. But are they more important than technical skills?
Should you prioritize technical skills over communications skills?
In this article, you will learn why communication skills are critical while hiring for a technical role and how to assess communication skills for technical hiring.
What are communication skills, and why are they important?
Communication skills are the ability to express, share and learn ideas. They are the most important soft skills required in a good personality. Communication skills needed in any person vary as per the context of the situation. The skills include active listening, observing, speaking, reacting to others, maintaining a proper attitude, and presentation.
According to research by Mirjana Markovic and Aidin Salamzadeh, the success of a business lies in effective communications. It is almost impossible for your business to succeed without having a team with excellent communication skills.
According to another report by McKinsey, effective communication in a team increases productivity by 20-25 percent. They are contributing factors in the growth of both: the employer and the employee.
Why are communication skills essential while hiring for technical roles?
People with strong technical skills have strong ideas. Their ideas are so strong that they could take your organization to greater heights. But if they struggle to share their thoughts, ideas would never be born.
Alan Rossiter, Ph.D., observed because of engineers’ inadequacy in communication, many good ideas never see the light of the day.
Below we will discuss some specific scenarios where communication skills help the technical person and the organization.
Why does technical talent in leadership roles need to have good communication skills?
Let’s start by understanding specific communications skills for technical recruitment for a leadership role, like the team leader, technical head, and other senior positions.
Here are some scenarios where they will need communication skills:
Leading the team
To lead a technical team, you would need to hire a person who understands minute issues and problems the team could face, and they should have the ability to communicate the requirements and tasks.
The technical lead should be able to paint a vision of what the result of the project would look like for the team members. This needs strong communication skills.
Leading the team also includes the ability to motivate the team and get them excited about the challenges that come their way.
Communication with clients and customers
Your team lead might need to talk to clients and understand requirements. They might need to speak directly with the customers and address their problems.
They shouldn’t be awkward about facing this side of the room, and this requires them to be confident and have good presentation skills.
Reporting to senior executives
The technical lead is dealing with their team, and they need to report to the senior executives and senior management.
Reporting requires communication from the team to understand the status of the projects and challenges. And, it requires strong presentation skills to share the situation and reports ahead.
Leading with empathy
Working on technical projects requires your employees to deliver on time without being overloaded and going under stress, and this requires the employees in leadership roles to empathize. According to research, empathy is the most important skill any leader should have.
Showing empathy in communication with team members promotes innovations, and it helps the leader make intelligent decisions. Moreover, leaders with empathy skills know the right way to give constructive criticism.
Why does technical talent in entry-level or mid-level roles need good communication skills?
Your new hires for entry-level or mid-level jobs need to have good communications skills, not just your team leads.
Here are some skills they’ll need:
Understanding the tasks assigned
Imagine, You’ve assigned a task, and you’re sure your recruit can implement it. After a week, when they report to you with completed assignments, you realize they’ve gone in a completely different direction. They didn’t listen and understand the requirements clearly.
Your candidates need to have active listening skills to prevent misunderstandings about tasks. If they didn’t actively listen, they might get the requirements wrong.
This also includes asking the right follow-up questions to understand the task better.
Communicating with the team
Technical projects need strong understanding and coordination between the teams, which means they need to have a friendly vibe that helps them bond with others.
So the technical talent in your organization needs to speak clearly, listen carefully, and write in a way that delivers their message. According to an article by INC Magazine, writing skills are most important for any employee. We don’t mean they should understand creative writing, and they should have sufficient writing skills to communicate within the team and the organization.
Informing and reporting to the team leaders
You never know what could go wrong in a technical project. Your employee could have a problem they don’t know how to solve. Or an issue that is stopping them from completing.
In such cases, your employee needs to have the courage to seek help and clarity in thoughts while expressing a problem. Even when there are no problems or issues, there needs to be reporting from their end to the seniors.
Feedback helps in an employee’s growth and prevents mistakes that could harm your organization in the long run. But this is only when they are comfortable accepting the feedback and handling it. How your employee reacts to feedback is an important part of communication skills.
Handing feedback requires your employees to have a positive attitude and the ability to understand non-verbal communication and cues. And control their emotions.
How to assess communication skills for technical recruitment?
Assessment of communications skills is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. You will have good candidates filling up your organization if you’re doing it right. If you’re doing it wrong, you will lose out on many good candidates based on errors in your understanding.
There are three ways to go around the communication skills assessments:
1. Assessing communication skills with screening tests
One way to assess candidates’ communication skills is by asking them to take screening tests. These are tests created by subject matter experts. Based on these assessment tools, you can make a solid decision.
Testlify provides you with communication skills assessments that can help you evaluate a candidate’s communication skills for technical recruitment.
Screening tests also help you in saving time and energy. They filter out the candidates with low competence. You can monitor the performance of different candidates and take the discussion ahead with them or inform the rejected candidates with just a click, especially when you are hiring at scale.
2. Assessing communication skills with a recorded video
Asking your candidates to record a video with their introduction or any question you would like them to answer is also an easy way to understand their communication skills. Recorded videos would save hours of your time as you would have to watch the recordings later and shortlist the selected candidates.
You can understand your candidates’ clarity of thoughts, clarity of speech, and confidence in a recorded video.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask candidates to record video for:
- What is the most challenging problem you have faced, and how did you solve it?
- What is the most terrible mistake you have made, and what did you learn from it?
- How much do you rate your communication skills, and why?
With assessment tools like Testlify, you can create an assessment that requires your candidates to record a video along with screening tests.
3. Assessing communication skills during an interview
Once you have shortlisted the candidates, the interview will give you a better opportunity to assess your communication skills. During an interview, apart from technical questions, you can ask behavioral questions and questions that demand listening skills.
Stay prepared with a list of questions that let you evaluate their approach to communicating ideas. Take a note of both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
Technical talent with strong communication skills will grow your organization. When you use an unbiased approach to hire good technical talent with solid communication skills, your organization will see better coordination between the team, good organizational culture, and an atmosphere that promotes innovation.
With assessment tools like Testlify, it is easier for any company to create assessments and manage everything with clicks and make vital decisions in technical recruitment.
Learn how Testlify can help you assess communication skills by signing up for free!