A study by recruitment firm Robert Half points out that CIOs focus on candidates’ technical skills, neglecting personality traits that are essential for successful integration.

With an entity dedicated to the recruitment of technological profiles, Robert Half has been at the forefront of observing business practices, particularly those of information systems directors (IS directors), for the past ten years. Thus, the firm was able to identify a bias of CIOs who tend to remain focused on the candidates’ technical expertise, ignoring their personality traits.

“A study we conducted with more than 500 CIOs shows that respondents give priority to technical skills in 31% of cases and professional experience in 28%, far ahead of cultural compatibility (12%) and soft skills, which are cited by only 9% of respondents,” explains Fabrice Coudray, Managing Director Executive Search at Robert Half.

Project team

At the same time, 76% of CIOs acknowledge that they have already recruited an employee who did not join the team because of a lack of adaptability and appetence for the collaborative. “In an age of digital transformation, technological profiles must be able to work as closely as possible to operational staff, in the same way as real business partners, and to move from one project to another. Hence the need to take into account, from the outset, the “soft skills” that will guarantee successful integration,” explains Fabrice Coudray.

While some companies may sometimes need technicians working alone, it is more and more common to see IT talents working in project teams, which requires an appetite for relational skills and interactions. “The recruiter must therefore ensure that the candidate displays interpersonal skills and a real taste for transmission,” he says.

Whether developers or cybersecurity experts, the market is particularly tight, and companies, which are increasingly reinternalising certain functions, are struggling to make themselves attractive. “Giving importance to “soft skills” makes it possible to propose a professional project in total adequacy with the candidate’s aspirations. It is a good way to retain talent that has been driven from all sides and is therefore very volatile. In the end, it is the stability of the workforce that is at stake,” says Fabrice Coudray.

Attracting developers

He adds that to “fit” these highly sought-after technical profiles, “everything must be studied, from remuneration and career development, to the richness of the projects and the quality of the technical environment, to the location and layout of the premises”. Thus, a large group whose headquarters are located about forty kilometers from Paris, has finally opened offices in the inner suburbs to attract developers who are reluctant to spend time in transport.

A recruitment error can be very costly for the company. Ensure upstream that the candidate is in line with the managerial line, the strategy of the general management or the team’s operating mode avoids being confronted with a transplant that does not take place. “Neglecting life skills and focusing on the CV is no longer an effective method,” says Fabrice Coudray. The mindset has changed, which implies a different approach and new recruitment constraints.