Working in recruitment, I’ve gotten used to answering similar questions on a daily or near-daily basis – that is part of any job that requires client or customer communication. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, answering questions from clients and candidates is usually a part of the job that I really enjoy. However, with that being said, there are some related questions that I’ve gotten from hiring managers on more than one occasion, and I think it highlights a common misconception about engineers (or engineering recruiters…or both)
Yes, of course, we can identify and evaluate soft skills, and yes, of course, we can place engineers with communication skills. In fact, all of the engineers we place have communication skills, because that is one of our requirements…because effective communication is a necessary skill in today’s workplace.
Look, I understand why people ask these questions (even if I don’t agree with the governing logic). Software engineering is a hands-on field, making it easy to stereotype engineers as lacking in soft skills. This couldn’t be further from the truth, particularly in this day and age. In the eighties, you could maybe make an argument that there was a shred of truth to this stereotype, but that went out the window with the tech revolution.
To be clear, I am only talking about instances where it is implied that software engineers, as a rule, lack basic communication or social skills.
There are also, of course, valid questions pertaining to a candidate’s English proficiency or questions regarding communication skills for management positions – that’s not what I’m not talking about.
Today, software engineers often work as part of teams and need excellent communication skills to make sure everything is going according to plan. Even if an engineer is working on their own, they will need to report to somebody.
Does this mean that every engineer you work with is going to be a vocal, outspoken leader? Of course not. That’s not their job. But the idea that there are significant numbers of engineers out there without any type of communication skills is clearly false.
It’s time to put the stereotype to rest – as someone who runs an engineering recruitment company, I can tell you first hand that today’s software engineers require all sorts of soft skills, from communication and leadership to problem-solving and critical thought.
Tagged → engineering staffing company