Building a team in tech – how to check role-related, inter- and intrapersonal skills?

Jul 19, 2023
Jul 19, 2023 Ala Jalowiecka

Checking technical skills seems obvious, but it doesn’t guarantee a great team. And working in tech also means being able to cooperate with your team and stakeholders, plan, prioritize tasks, and much more. That’s why checking inter-, intrapersonal skills when recruiting for tech is so important.

The success of any organization depends on the effectiveness and proper structure of its team. In order to build such a team, you need the right people with the right skills. Some of those skills, role-related ones, are quite easy to name. Depending on the particular position, it might be knowledge of certain programs or programming languages, experience in working with specific databases, etc.

Technical qualifications describe a certain basis of competency, but they don’t guarantee a great team. Inter- and intrapersonal skills are equally important since they ensure the crucial elements of proper cooperation: efficient flow of information, healthy communication, and the ability to recover from failures. In this article, I’ll discuss how to effectively assess all the skills necessary to build a strong team in the tech industry.

Role-related skill check

To evaluate the specific qualifications for a particular position, you always need to return to the moment when you’re planning the recruitment process and determining who is the right fit. Assessing so-called “hard skills” can be done in various ways and on different levels. In order to determine if a candidate has the relevant experience and education, the first step is to carefully review and analyze their resume. After that, you can apply practical tests that require the candidate to complete specific tasks or overcome technical challenges. These tests can be conducted as a separate stage of the recruitment process in the form of a home assignment or during a pair-programming session with a panelist.

Although this is not a general rule, and ultimately it will be up to the Hiring Manager to choose specific tools to assess the candidate’s technical skills, the first solution – home assignment – may be a better option when hiring people with less experience (junior, mid-level). These assignments avoid additional stress because the panelist looks at their hands while working on a solution. In recent years, the belief that people for senior or lead positions do not look favorably at solving home assignments has strengthened. Some more experienced people are, in fact, not that enthusiastic about spending their free time on additional, complex tasks, but it’s far more dependent on one’s personal preferences. Companies solve this issue by offering remuneration for solving the task.

Another way to assess role-related technical skills is through technical interviews. During the interview, you can ask questions that require the candidate to demonstrate practical technical knowledge and problem-solving abilities. These questions may involve specific concepts, algorithms, data structures, or projects the candidate has worked on before.

Each of the methods mentioned above requires a qualified individual who can assess the candidate’s skills based on their expertise and experience. However, a common challenge arises when seeking experts for a particular position in a young and growing organization for the first time. In such cases, you may lack  internal employees who can be responsible for it. Fortunately, there are solutions that can be used instead, like specialized platforms that focus on evaluating candidates’ skills related to a specific role. As an employer, you can analyze the market and choose the most suitable provider of such services.

If going for a platform doesn’t sound ideal, it’s also possible to seek assistance from an external person, preferably an expert in the field for which candidates are being sought. This ensures that the entire recruitment process is carried out correctly, the candidates’ skills are thoroughly verified, and an expert can mentor panelists for future recruitment processes.

Inter- and intrapersonal skill check

Inter- and intrapersonal skills are all the characteristics a person needs for their self-regulation and social skills. As I mentioned in the introduction, these skills are as important as technical qualifications, and in some cases even more so, since developing them is often more difficult than simply improving in some technical areas.

Therefore, it’s necessary to ensure their correct verification and there’s no better way than using a behavioral interview – a part of the recruitment process where you ask questions that would help you reveal previous behaviors of the candidate. The questions usually begin with statements like “Tell me about a time when…” or “Tell me an example of a situation when…”. Using these tools, you can gain precise insights into candidates’ behavior patterns, allowing you to not only predict whether they’re a good fit for the position but also whether they’re a good fit for the company culture and share the same values. Additionally, asking candidates to share previous experiences and ways in which they’d approached problems helps to eliminate people with tendencies to confabulate or exaggerate their expertise. It’s rare that a candidate can make up all the details of a certain situation or problem.

Behavioral questions and questionnaires can be created in very different forms because depending on who we’re looking for and what features and values ​​are crucial for the organization, the questions will differ. The most frequently explored areas are teamwork, work-ethics, leadership, conflict management, attitude toward failure, and problem-solving skills.

Remember that you need both

When building a tech team, it’s essential to consider all aspects of one’s qualifications and personality traits important for the role. While role-related skills ensure that team members have the technical expertise needed, inter- and intrapersonal skills indicate effective collaboration, communication, and growth. With a combination of practical tests, technical interviews, behavioral-based questions, and team exercises, you can build a well-rounded and high-performing team in the tech field.

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