Re: New IT Skills: Why Communication, Accountability, Initiative Are Hot Now
This is a weird area to discuss - because, these skills are important, but the way they're employed in the hiring process often leaves much to be desired. You mention nebulous definitions, and that doesn't help, but it's not just that; things like 'teamwork', 'initiative', 'problem solving' and 'communication' are invariably going to find themselves in just about every job listing. Fair enough, who wants to hire someone without them, but you need to do more than just put them on a bullet list. I think it was smart of CompTIA to give skills a grading that includes 'crucial', forcing managers to say whether a skill was essential or just desirable. I think that's key here - when you look at those vertical 'environment' skills, I picture something like 'experience in X subindustry preferred'. That's fine. Preferred, not required, or you might have some trouble filling that job.
Two I absolutely agree with are customer service and adaptibility. You can't get frustrated when serving non-IT internal customers; that's your job! New languages are easier to pick up than ever, standards are better than they've ever been, so there's no excuse not to be adaptable. To me, what a lot of this really amounts to is this; you want to hire someone who comes into work and feels like your company's goals are also their goals, and your projects, are also their projects. If something extra comes up, that's fine, because they want to finish the project. If collaboration with someone else is required, that's fine, because they both enjoy the work and they're already familiar with each other. That's a nice vision, but employers need to accept that a) a perfect version of it is never going to happen and b) they have a role to play in making employees feel like that's where they're working.