By Dennis Hung

Recruiting the right people can make all the difference between success and failure of your company. It’s not just who’s the smartest or who has the most decorated resume from college. The right person for the job should fit both technical requirements and the values and goals that your company stands for. To simplify the headhunting process, go through your candidates quickly but accurately using these three skills as a filter:


It’s not as sexy of a skill as data analysis, software engineering, or other more technical abilities, but communication is a serious skill set that envelops any and every industry out there. From small mom and pop shops to large investment firms, communication is key to smooth day-to-day operations. Gauge how your candidate communicates his/her ideas and answers. Are they clear and concise? Do they ask the right questions? Are they confident and assertive in stating out facts?

Clear lines of communication is important for efficient workflow and continued business growth. Every employee on your payroll should be able to listen, instruct, and pass on information effectively. Furthermore, being a good communicator reduces any risk for internal conflicts. Any misunderstandings or issues created by unclear conversations and meetings can create a stressful and hostile work environment, something any entrepreneur or manager would want to avoid.

In addition to day-to-day operations, communications also play a pivotal role in your brand presence. Good communicators are powerful networkers who can bring in attention and interest from the right people – investors, business partners, and clientele.

Research and Self-Learning Ability

Another non-technical and broad skill set to look for is a person’s ability to learn a concept or system by himself/herself. Researching is a subset of self-learning and can expedite the process of absorbing new knowledge and skills.

Knowing what specific keywords to type on Google search and which links to open up and read can affect how quickly an employee does his/her task, whether it’s managing the company’s spreadsheets, filing for taxes, or maintaining the business’ website.

Imagine you’re a marketing company. What digital marketing trends are emerging that you can capitalize on? Which social media platforms and user demographics are the most profitable to target over time? These are all questions that someone with solid research skills can answer accurately.

Programming and Problem Solving

Programmers are astute problem-solvers. It’s the nature of the job to throw different technical problems and bugs that need fixing. Look for candidates who have, at the very least, understanding of basic programming concepts, languages, and frameworks.

Being a skilled front-end developer with knowledge of how to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are positive attributes that can translate to graphic design and web development applications for your company. C++ and database experience, on the other hand, can help your business’ back-end.

But even if you’re not looking to fill in web development positions, someone with programming skills can bring in a lot of problem-solving power to your business. They can consult with different departments on how to effectively handle hurdles as they appear and how to improve existing operations.

Candidates who can solve problems without folding under pressure are the people you want on your side when you are building and running a business, especially for tech startups.

As you may have noticed, all three skills are broad and not very technical to any one industry or field. It’s because these three skills can allow any average person to do a good job in their respective role. Being able to solve problems without caving under pressure, learn complex concepts by yourself, and communicate your thoughts, opinions, and information clearly are skills that every employee should have.

Dennis Hung has extensive experience in business and technology fields, and loves to write in his spare time to help others.