What Software Companies Are Hiring for Right Now — According to Tech Leaders
"Tech skills can be taught." Recently we asked leaders at technology companies what they are looking for in job candidates. We heard from people at early-stage startups and established companies alike. Most agreed that succeeding in any role at a tech company requires meeting the basic requirements for the position. However, it is also true that many skills can be taught on the job. What is harder to teach are the soft skills that really help a candidate rise to the top — aptitude, adaptability, and motivation.
Beyond describing your skills and experience in an interview, it is essential to showcase interpersonal qualities that best align with the role too.
As the lead of the Aha! operations team, I have the privilege of overseeing our recruitment process and meeting candidates for open roles. I talk to a lot of talented people who are excited to grow in their careers and can demonstrate the core competencies needed to fulfill certain roles. For instance, engineers who join our team need to know Ruby on Rails. Likewise, our Product Success Managers must have former product management experience.
The reality is that we receive thousands of applications per month for just a handful of roles. (A real human really does review every application!) The candidates who stand out are those who can clearly articulate how their values align with our own and can share real examples of how they approach challenging work.
Many factors influence your potential for success in a role — we look for a balance of proven skill and value alignment.
But do not just take my word for it. Other business leaders and hiring managers also say that certain characteristics correlate to hiring potential and better performance. I was curious to hear which traits leaders think are most valuable — so I posed the question to our network.
Editor's note: The views and opinions expressed by individuals in this post are their own and do not reflect official policy of their organization.
Here is what people had to say:
Flex your best
"We need builders who are comfortable with experimentation. We look for candidates who thrive in ambiguity — not in spite of it, but because of it."
— Valentina Ratner, Co-founder and CEO of AllSpice, A git platform for hardware engineers
"We are guided by technical experience and certifications to a degree. But as we’ve developed our hiring practices, what has become more important is recognizing candidates who have the aptitude to learn continuously, converse freely, and be chameleons who can adapt to any client environment — regardless of industry. Tech can be taught, but these ‘soft skills’ — a true oxymoron — are the hardest to come by."
— Charley Vokoun, CMO of Reveal Group, Automation services company
Lift your team spirit
"I look for people with eagerness to share, teach, and explain what they know. A team that learns from each other can be an invaluable asset for a business. It has a cumulative effect that pushes each individual to heights that they likely wouldn’t have achieved on their own. Leaders can encourage this to some extent, but it helps when you hire people who naturally want to share what they learn — rather than hoarding that knowledge for themselves."
— Archie Payne, President of CalTek Staffing, Technical staffing company
"I'm impressed by candidates who are able to think strategically about how they will contribute to company performance — beyond just doing their job well. They are able to see themselves as part of the bigger picture."
— Gauri Manglik, Co-founder and CEO of Instrumentl, A platform for grant seekers
Share how you care
"Empathy allows individuals to understand and connect with users on a deeper level — leading to enhanced user experiences and increased customer satisfaction. It also means they're more likely to support their colleagues, which leads to a more harmonious and productive workplace culture. Moreover, empathetic employees care about customers' concerns and frustrations. So they handle support inquiries with patience and a genuine desire to help. This helps people see that your end goal is not just selling a product or service but ensuring it meets expectations time and again."
— Seth Besse, CEO of Undivided, Platform and support for parents of children with disabilities
"One of the most underrated personality traits in the tech industry is optimism. If you have someone that is easygoing and reassuring, a stressed customer can be put more at ease. This also encourages retention as customers tend to leave these interactions feeling more positive than when they began."
— Stanislav Khilobochenko, VP of Customer Services at Clario Tech, Cybersecurity software
Win with authenticity
"What means the most to me is finding someone who can be genuine, authentic, and transparent when we meet. It's so rare and so refreshing when you see it. I want to make sure I know who I'm hiring. I don't want to shake my head a month later wondering who this person is — because they're definitely not the same person I initially interviewed. Someone who knows who they are and is comfortable in their own skin is the best kind of person to work side-by-side with."
— Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism, Digital marketing agency
Express who you really are in interviews — it is the best way to match with companies who value the same things you do.
Remember that hiring goes both ways. Showcasing your values demonstrates who you are and what you care about. It can also help you gauge how well a new position aligns with what matters to you. You want to be somewhere that will help you flourish and show up as your authentic self.