Beyond Coding: The Soft Skills That Employers Look for in IT Job Candidates

by Pranav Ramesh
March 28, 2023

Soft skill development has become increasingly important for job seekers and hiring managers alike. But given its elusiveness, professionals have trouble identifying, measuring, and cultivating soft skills. 

Let’s first address what soft skills are.

What Are Soft Skills?

According to Gallup, soft skills are “the ways in which people get along and work effectively together to get work done.” For example, when hiring a service worker, hiring managers look for employees who are personable, warm, and able to manage stressful interpersonal situations. To determine what soft skills may be required for certain jobs, consider what natural tendencies or behaviors lead to high performance in a specific field.

Learn more about why IT employers are looking for professionals with their soft skills.

Soft Skills for IT Professionals

With the advancement of technology, many tasks for IT professionals are now automated. Still, people are at the center of the profession, which means IT employers are looking for candidates with the appropriate soft skills. The following are the top soft skills that employers look for in IT job candidates.


  • Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (also referred to as EQ) describes the ability to be in tune with one’s emotions and the emotions of others, along with the ability to control one’s emotions given the situation. 

In a high-stakes, high-stress industry like IT, employers are seeking candidates who understand what those around them are feeling. An IT candidate with a high EQ can tell when their team members are feeling stuck and know how to adapt.

The field of IT also requires employees to work with clients who may not be versed in the technology that will bring their organization to the next level. In these interactions, having emotional intelligence means being patient when explaining complicated processes and being able to recognize when the communication between them and a client is not clicking. This brings us to our next soft skill.

Related: 3 Skills to Include on Your Tech Resume


  • Communication & Collaboration

Roles in IT often involve working alone for long periods, but complex projects involve more team members, who all need to be on the same page regarding deadlines, project requirements, expectations, etc. Top IT talent enjoys explaining technical subjects in terms anyone can understand.

Especially in the world of remote work, e-mail is playing a larger role in how we communicate in the workplace. This applies to IT professionals, who frequently need to keep teammates and clients updated on their projects. And when it comes to teaching others about technology, IT candidates need to be able to have excellent verbal and written communication skills.


  • Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking, according to Forbes, is “the ability to find trustworthy data, and use it to make decisions.” Employees with critical thinking skills approach challenges with creativity; their ability to think outside the box signals an ability to tune into industry trends and patterns.

An IT candidate with critical thinking skills can take their tech knowledge and skillsets and apply them to the specific business needs of different companies.


  • Time Management

“Having good — or bad — time management skills can create a ripple effect on the rest of the team,” says Ubisoft’s communications manager Christopher Navalta. “When a team is working on a project, that project could go sideways very quickly if one person misses a deadline.” In this high-stakes environment, time management is what can keep projects from completely falling apart.

High-tech industries have little flexibility, so all deadlines are tight. IT professionals often have many problems thrown their way with little guidance, so for many, the most efficient way to solve these problems is to assess the priority of each one. Forbes contributor Christin Perry notes that tech employees “may have to work backward to figure out the best way to manage their time given their other responsibilities.” Candidates with great time management skills tend to do this naturally.


  • Adaptability

The world of technology is constantly changing, so it makes sense that adaptability is one of the most attractive soft skills for IT employees.

Multiple psychological studies support the phenomenon referred to as the adaptive third, in which, among a group of individuals undergoing difficult change, most people search for meaning behind the traumatic event, while one-third do not seek meaning but instead adapt to their new reality. It is this one-third who turns out to be the most well-adjusted in the short and long term. 

Ultimately, adaptive individuals not only survive difficult change but thrive in response to it. This soft skill is attractive to IT employers not only because technology is always changing but because adaptability helps employees take on challenges through a positive lens.



While many soft skills come naturally, they can also be developed. Once IT professionals understand what soft skills hiring managers are looking for, they can seek skill-building methods such as mentorship, coaching, and strength assessments. No matter the method, employers are attracted to candidates who are motivated to build their skills, soft or hard.

Looking for your next career?

Email us, or just browse all our open positions today. 


About the Company: 

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has partnered with some of the biggest Fortune brands to offer excellence of service and best-in-class team building for the last 25 years. 

PTP’s diverse and global team of recruiting, consulting, and project development experts specialize in a variety of IT competencies which include:  

  • Cybersecurity  
  • DevOps  
  • Cloud Computing  
  • Data Science  
  • AI/ML 
  • Salesforce Optimization 
  • VR/AR 

Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunities employer. As an industry leader in IT consulting and recruitment, specializing in diversity hiring, we aim to help our clients build equitable workplaces.  

26+ Years in IT Placements & Staffing Solutions


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Park Ridge, IL 60068


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