A study of 1,100 employers to identify the crucial factors that will ensure a nominee makes a shortlist found IT hiring managers are looking for one thing above all else.

While relevant industry experience was the most important factor for all respondents (51 per cent), recruitment firm Hays found 60 per cent of IT employers said being a cultural fit is the most important factor.

This was compared with 50 per cent of all employers citing cultural fit as an important factor.

Speaking with Information Age, Hays regional director Robert Beckley reminded jobseekers that being a cultural fit goes both ways.

“Cultural fit is very important to employers, but it is a two-way street and equally as important to employees,” Beckley said.

“A starting place could be to look at the values of the organisation. How do they align with

your own? How do you connect with the company’s purpose? Then it would be a case of demonstrating the ‘fit’.

“This doesn’t just have to be with previous commercial experience, it could be your passions

outside of work, the meetups you attend and the training you are undertaking.”

Talking soft skills

In its 2019/20 salary guide, Hays revealed that soft skills carry significant weight in the hiring process.

And according to the recent study, this will continue to be an important factor in the future.

Beckley explained that in IT roles where certain technical skills are a given, IT hiring managers will instead look out for certain soft skills.

The data shows that the soft skills employers are prioritising are communication (51 per cent), adaptability (46 per cent) and collaboration (37 per cent).

This is compared to all employers, where the most desirable soft skills are communication (45 per cent), adaptability (40 per cent) and team work (39 per cent).

“For many IT hiring managers, having the exact skills needed for a role is a non-negotiable, however, recently organisations are trying to shift these skills-focused hiring behaviours to looking at a candidate’s competencies more broadly,” said Beckley.

The rise of remote work in light of the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the soft skills employers are looking for, Beckley added.

“Communication skills are always highly valued,” he said.

“Our recent research also shows that IT managers emphasised the importance of adaptability and collaboration, likely influenced by the adoption of the many new ways of working caused by COVID-19, such as transitioning workforces remotely, in short periods of time.”

Having a good CV with relevant experience is also a crucial factor for IT jobseekers, according to Hays.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of IT contractors surveyed said a resume (or CV) was an important factor to stand out, compared with 39 per cent of all employers.

A ‘good CV’ should include relevant data, such as the number of projects you’ve managed, team members you’ve worked with or the volume of work you have delivered in a specified timeframe.