Soft Skills Gaining Importance in IT Recruitment

Soft Skills gaining importance in IT Recruitment


Adaptability is a priority in IT Recruitment…

IT Recruitment experts have been persuading employers to weigh a candidate’s soft skills over their hard skills when recruiting. Employees can learn technical skills on the job, while things like collaboration or creativity are often more challenging to nurture.

Until recently, there has been little focus on soft skills. Plus, in a pre- Covid candidate-driven market, it was difficult to find good candidates without adding more requirements

Now mid pandemic, the stakes could not be higher. In no time at all,  the lowest unemployment rate in recent history transform into one of the highest as the pandemic runs rampant through the economy.

The impact on recruiting has been high. Most companies are recruiting on more restricted budgets with fewer resources. Suddenly, a soft skill like adaptability is one of the best qualities a candidate can have.

Employers’ priorities have changed. Maybe it took a pandemic to finally prioritize soft skills.

Leading up to the pandemic, soft skills were always a factor for recruiting decisions, but they were not essential requirements. Traits like adaptability and flexibility have always been requested in a candidate, but not necessarily compulsory.  

In this current market, employees who are not adaptable or flexible, open to frequent changes in priorities, and can demonstrate a history of that, are not being offered the job!

So what does adaptability look like?

  • Willing to help with tasks as needed, even if someone was hired for something different
  • Taking over a colleague’s role 
  • Working on a different project than qualified for.

In today’s new paradigm, flexibility, strong communication skills, and the ability to adapt as working conditions evolve are the most important qualities a candidate can have. This is a shift in priorities that we at Langley James IT Recruitment are seeing across many sectors.

A survey carried out in July 2020 of 700+ recruiters on everything from how they were using their time during COVID-19, to whether or not they were on a hiring freeze. The results demonstrated a resilient picture during this crisis. When it came to skills prioritised in recruiting, over 60% of respondents agreed that they will need to recruit employees with skills that were not necessary pre-pandemic. These included: 

  • Adaptability (68%)
  • Communication (60%)
  • Technology proficiency (58%)
  • Resilience (47%)
  • Change management (28%)

 Why are these skills considered “new” by recruiters in 2020? Experts have been practically screaming this to employers for years to prioritise such skills.

Maybe it took extreme external pressure to change old habits and priorities. With Businesses across all sectors are facing new levels of uncertainty, we are seeing soft skills come into their own. The challenge going forward, though, will be how to screen for them.

The Impact on Screening

Perhaps another reason why recruiters have been slow to prioritise soft skills is that these skills can be tricky to measure. Employers need to standardise screening for soft skills through a mixture of behavioral interviewing and automated assessments during their hiring process to help recruit managers address and measure capabilities accordingly. Here are three best practices we at Langley James IT Recruitment have found can help:

  • Apply empathy. It’s important to screen for adaptability, but you also have to show candidates your business is adaptable and empathetic, too. While the pandemic has resulted in a plethora of candidates to the market, that doesn’t mean recruiting will be easy. Most employees want to feel safe in their place of work and know that their employer will look after them if they get sick.
  • Apply behavioral interviews. Communication is part of daily work, and the best way to know if a candidate has good communication skills is to understand how they handled situations in the past. Behavioral interviewing allows you to do just that and role-play to understand those experiences.
  • Apply automation. Automated assessments allow for reduced bias and the ability for recruiters to cast a wider net. 

It is difficult to predict whether the prioritisation of soft skills will become normalised after COVID-19, . The workplace is changing and the things that make people human —  empathy, creativity, resilience, and emotional intelligence — will always remain the greatest assets as employees.


Jobs Market Remains Resilient

Jobs Market Remains Resilient Despite an Inconsistent Economy.

We will look back on this time with curiosity post-pandemic when future economists tell their children’s children about a time when there was a 15% rise in GDP (Gross Domestic Product). They will also remember the quarter before when there was a massive 19.8% drop inconsistency, however,  this is not a common occurrence and for that we are grateful.

While it’s fair to say that our economy has been erratic recently, there are some positive elements to take from the pandemic. For one, the job market itself has remained fairly resilient. 

Despite the fact that official unemployment figures have risen by 4.8%, which represents a total of 1,620,000 individuals,  peak unemployment records are predicted to be lower than that of previous recessions Britain has endured. This may be attributed to Britain’s ‘flexible’ job market; particularly when compared to its European counterparts. To put this into perspective, unemployment in the UK peaked at 11.9% throughout the 1980s, 10.7% in 1990’s and 8.4% in 2010 following the financial crash. 

So why the optimism regarding Job Market Resilience?

It’s true the news surrounding the 95%  ‘effective’ vaccine has had a huge impact on businesses’ confidence, which, combined with the UK’s flexible labour market, is reassuring signs that a bounce-back post-Covid-19 will see Recruitment levels recuperate quicker than other decades. 

Other examples of the resilience of the job market are the number of jobs currently being advertised. The ONS showed a 146,000 vacancy rise during August-October, and CV-Library found that job postings in this 2nd English Lockdown (November 2020) were 88% up on the levels of job vacancies advertised in March 2020.

More businesses are learning to work differently and are now recruiting remotely, interviewing virtually, and onboarding new employees without meeting them. Some say the “new normal?”

At Langley James, we have experienced a steady and increasing flow of vacancies since June, despite local and national lockdowns. Indeed, savvy employers are aware this is a good time to find new blood for the IT projects.

IT professionals are also keen to see what opportunities are out there without jeopardising their current job security. They will contact us to discuss what roles we have and may not necessarily always apply for IT roles in the traditional manner.

To Conclude

In summary, despite the current spike in unemployment, good candidates, especially highly skilled IT candidates, are not necessarily easy to find. Advertise your role directly and you will be inundated with responses, and most likely not the candidates that you are looking for. As an established IT Recruitment Agency, Langley James can find you your next employee that may not be responding to adverts. 

Langley James specialises in IT Recruitment throughout the UK our specialist teams cover IT Infrastructure, IT Development, IT Contracting roles, Cybersecurity, Data Analysts, IT Managers, IT CIO’s and IT CITO’s contact Langley James to deliver your next IT vacancy or IT Contract Recruitment Vacancy. We can help you to recruit someone worth recruiting.

6 Silver Linings for IT during Covid-19

6 Silver Linings for IT during Covid-19

6 Silver Linings of the COVID-19 pandemic for IT

Unquestionably, the coronavirus crisis has dramatically shifted the way society functions on a global scale. The undue stress and anxiety caused as a result of the virus have had a profound impact on the world – a notion exacerbated by the increasing toll of lives lost from this disease. 

Naturally, as social distancing measures are implemented in order to keep the public safe, humanity – and businesses as a whole – have relied heavily upon technology. Consequently, tech companies have experienced some major positives in the age of COVID-19.

Langley James has looked to find the positives that came from a very bad negative. These findings are summarised below;

Remote Work Success

The move from office to remote work has surprisingly revealed to businesses the effectiveness and potential of a primarily remote workforce. A study found that 82% of business leaders say their organisations plan to let employees continue to work from home at least some of the time, while 47% plan to allow employees to do so permanently. 


sad staff worker

 The transition to working from home to both business hardware, specialists software, and cycle security has demonstrated the ability to work flexibly and subsequently save employers money on office rental, heating, and supplies. Most employee have found that they are financially better off with less money being spent on fuel, luches and clothes and having the flexibility to walk their dog, particpate in the school run and spend more time on domestic projects.

Pandemic Entrepreneurs

The pandemic has been a catalyst for many silver linings, one of which is the emergence of new entrepreneurs. Around a quarter  of those who were made redundant due to COVID-19 were starting their own businesses. In the survey, Those who said they didn’t have plans to start a business pre-pandemic, do now; 51% said they identified new business opportunities due to the crisis. 

The majority of sectors these entrepreneurs were venturing into mainly involved the hospitality, arts, and entertainment industries – a surprising finding considering these occupational spheres have been one of the worst affected as a result of the virus.

Increase in IT Monitoring Tools 

Every day this pandemic is driving customers to think and work differently.

In light of the current climate, there has been a much-needed interest and increase of production tools across a variety of businesses. 

Productivity is typically one of the most difficult things to measure. Striking a balance between monitoring employee productivity and allowing them space to be autonomous can be challenging. For example, financial giants Deliottes have published a report detailing their extensive implementation of online collaboration tools (such as a virtual KANBAN* board, virtual task list, etc.) to keep track of tasks that are outstanding, in progress, and completed across the team. These technological tools are now more important than ever with a limitation of social contact, facilitating team and individual productivity within the workplace. 

Cybersecurity Increases 

Another major finding is the increased and independent distribution of cybersecurity for insurance coverage to small and midsize businesses “at speed”. This speedy rotation may be attributable to the 100% move to online, as opposed to the traditional paper-based model. 

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations had to rapidly pivot from work in the office to a fully remote structure. While some were well prepared and able to accommodate such a shift, others were scrambling, increasing cybersecurity risk. The concern for insurance companies was how easily these companies were able to transition and whether they were able to do it securely. 

Consequently, it seems the COVID-19 pandemic may prompt a lightbulb moment for a lot of organizations that cybersecurity risks should be front and center. As companies become increasingly reliant on technology to run their business, it should raise questions as to what happens if that technology fails. Cyber insurance acts as a backstop to be able to protect organisations from a system failure standpoint, yet less than half purchase a standalone cyber policy. Overall, this is accelerating the adoption of cyber insurance. 

Enhanced digital interactions between companies and stakeholders

There has been a need for “accelerating  digital interactions”. What this means is that in order to effectively communicate and interact online, companies have needed to open their data and services to their stakeholders through the medium of integration technologies. 

Indeed, recent data highlight how consumer and business digital adoption has accelerated 5 years forward in a matter of around eight weeks in sectors such as Banking, who have transitioned to remote sales and service teams, and launched digital outreach to customers to make flexible payment arrangements for loans and mortgages.





Increasing consumer transparency. 

Continuing the theme of openness, surprisingly, consumers have been more willing to share their data during the pandemic, to provide companies with vital information about their gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, post code, tv channels watched, and specific programs they watch. All this data has been obtained from the “Privacy + Privacy” study regarding consumers’ concerns about gathering data. The findings are summarised below;



For instance, a majority are somewhat or completely willing to share data on each of the following:

  •       Gender (68%),
  •       Ethnicity/Race (65%),
  •       Age (62%),
  •       Sexual orientation (61%),
  •       Postcode (55%),
  •       TV channels watched (54%),
  •       Specific programs watched (53%), or
  •       What they buy at the supermarket (50%)


It seems that we have been able to cultivate some major technological advancements within the business sphere as a result of COVID, which is likely only to accelerate as we adapt to our “new normal”.