6 Top Soft Skills You Need To Work At a Startup

6 Top Soft Skills You Need To Work At a Startup

When Google first started, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, set up their hiring algorithms to sift for Computer Science students with top grades from the elite universities. Their belief was that technology can only be truly understood by those who actually studied technology.

They found out much later that this hiring principle wasn’t exactly accurate. In 2013, Google computers tracked all their data concerning their hiring, promoting, and firing of employees. They then found that among the most important qualities of the most successful Google employees, STEM knowledge actually came in last!

The other more important skills are what we call “soft skills”. These are the non-technical attributes that help employees become more productive and better able to work with others.

The soft skills that many startup companies today are looking for include:

Communication Skills

Being able to communicate well is a crucial skill if you want to work well with others. After all, what’s the point of having a good idea if you can’t communicate well enough to convince the other team members about the merits of your idea? If you’re able to communicate well, then you can help convince the rest of the team to believe in your idea. They can understand the idea because you’re able to explain it.

Self-Awareness

This is the ability to recognize how your words and actions affect others. A successful leader needs to develop this mindset because they can then discover how to encourage and motivate others properly. They can also avoid awkward situations when their words and actions hurt and offend their teammates.

Project Management

This means you’re able to organize the work and the team, you can focus on the task at hand, and can work under pressure and time constraints. Even if you’re not the project manager, you can do your part by meeting your deadlines.  You can give updates on your progress and send alerts if you’re having trouble.

Perseverance

You should be able to commit to an assignment until you complete it, even if takes longer than what you anticipated. This also means you need to be flexible, as requirements may change before the due date and you should be able to adapt to the new scope of the project.

Team Mentality

Plenty of people automatically say that they’re a team player, but of course, it isn’t always true. The true team mentality is about getting the work done and helping out one another. But some people seem more focused on getting credit for the success of foisting blame on others when things go wrong.

Willingness and Ability to Learn

Things change all the time, and that’s especially true in the workplace. What employers are looking for are workers who can change with the times and adapt to the new conditions. You can’t be dead-set on using traditional ways when new and more effective tools and processes become available. This means you need to demonstrate your willingness to learn, and that you can and have learned before.

During your job interview, it’s not enough that you demonstrate your technical proficiency for the job. Try to demonstrate these traits in your responses to interview questions, as these are the traits your future employers are looking for.

Also, check out these 5 Things NOT to Say to a Recruiter

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

Best Project Management Practice For Complex Projects

Best Project Management Practice For Complex Projects

Managing a complex project requires careful planning and an accurate estimation in terms of resources needed and deadlines that need to be met – and this is all prior to starting to execute on the project. Requirements must also be clearly understood, forming the basis of the project plan and helping to clearly define the goals of the project.

Not all projects are worth the time and effort, and sometimes there is a tendency to overestimate the capability of a team. On the other hand, you cannot know the limits of your team unless you take the plunge. If you boil it down, there are only two reasons why a project would not be fulfilled by your team: it is either a matter of ability or of management.

For ability, there is no substitute for good training, hard work, experience, and team synergy. Those four core characteristics are essential.  Hundreds of thousands of scholarly articles and case studies have been done just to find out how to achieve these characteristics, and a short feature in this article will not do them justice.

On the other hand, proper project management is much more straightforward and truly has a gigantic impact on the productivity of a team, ultimately promising results if done correctly. Project management may sound high-level and strategic, and this is partly correct, but, at its heart, project management is actually very simple to learn and achieve. It is the execution part of the process that takes time and effort. Simply put, project management is how a leader fulfills steps in order to complete a project successfully. Here are a few things you can do to make sure that a project is managed properly.

1. Get a bird’s eye view and look for the forest to follow up with focusing on the trees

Whether it be for conceptualizing and starting your project, for troubleshooting and improving the process for the duration of the said project, inductive thinking, or the top-down thinking, can definitely help. By knowing that conclusion that you want to arrive and then start building up from there, the project will have a better structure and the execution would be easier. Looking at the bigger picture will allow you to find the bottlenecks and the problem.

You can do this by either looking at it with the mentality of a third neutral person or better yet ask an expert who has no part in your project. For instance, asking questions in Quora or opinions with your friends in your social media, provided of course that you can trust them with your privacy and secrecy, will definitely help you find a different perspective.

2. Make a superstar team who knows the project well

By superstar team, we do not mean the best of the best, which was very good can be quite costly and a team of geniuses does have its own unique problems. What we mean is that you should make your current team superstars. This is directly related to the first reason why a project could feel like something beyond the capabilities of the team. We are not just talking about the capability but also the synergy of the team. To make it more straightforward, we make the team learn during the project and not just do.

Getting an experienced expert is good, but if you are thinking long-term, which you should, cultivating talent is the way to go. In managing a project, deal with it as an opportunity for your team members to level up, whether by improving on their abilities and talents or by improving the synergy of the team by making them more integrated and knowledgeable about the team members and the long-term vision and goals of your business.

This can be done by integrating tools into your project management that not only remind them of their duties and responsibilities but also make the team aware of where the progress of the project is currently. One way to do that is to use software light Trello or Scoro. These tools will not only give a visual representation people assigned, they will also allow you to put comments and do even time tracking and reports on finances and project progress. If you do not have a project management tool yet, please get one as soon as possible. You will see your efficiency improve by leaps and bounds.

3. Communication should be proper

You may have a plan that has a great top-down perspective and you may have the best tools for your project management, but one thing where a competent team can fail is the breakdown of communications. We are not just talking about the lack of communication. What we are talking about this proper communication. Communication is a two-way process, in the listener or receiver is as important as the sender of the message.

The best way to ensure that there will be no misunderstanding or miscommunication is to use not only a reliable tool but to also properly word your messages. There are communication tools like Slack and in fact, most project management tools have their own communication channels. Instant messaging is best and will beat out not only e-mail but also voice calls because instant messaging is faster and easier to understand.

As for your communications, it is best to use simple language for instructions and more detailed sentences for the process. It is best to start with what should be the result by use of descriptions using adjectives and adverbs and then followed by a series of instructions which has a lot of verbs and concluded by recommendations for processes. That way, your communications are easier to understand and by using words economically.

In simpler words, you can improve your project management by focusing first on the bigger picture, followed by the proper use of tools and lastly by using proper communication channels and techniques.

Overall, a project manager must be an expert in leadership, communication, and organizational skills. With the high workload and stress, it is critical to have the skills required to bring a project to the finish line. Staying accountable and aware of all aspects of the project will guide you to project management success.

Also, try these 10 shortcuts to boost your productivity.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

How to Build a Better Tech Talent Pipeline

How to Build a Better Tech Talent Pipeline

In the tech industry, your brand is only as good as the talented people you have. That’s why you need to make sure you have a strong tech talent pipeline.

If you’re in the tech startup world, then you’re certainly quite aware that competition is growing fierce these days. It’s like there’s a new company cropping up each day. This increasingly crowded space simply emphasizes how you need to have the talent your business requires to get ahead of your competition. But how you can build a strong tech talent pipeline when there’s a lot of demand and the supply isn’t up to par?

A Smaller Talent Pool

This disparity between the great demand for talent and the scarcity of tech people is one of the main challenges to building a better tech talent pipeline. Recent studies indicate that the pool of tech talent from which the industry can draw may dry up by the year 2030.

Not that this is surprising news. Surveys reveal that almost two-thirds (65%) of CIOs foresee that this scarcity of talent will cripple the industry in the future.

It’s even happening now. Companies are increasingly becoming dependent on new technology to generate value for their products and services, but they have not invested in the needed human capital to keep the tech coming.

As a result, these companies reap what they sow. Up to 86% of companies are having difficulties finding and enlisting the tech talent they require. Almost as many companies feel that the tech talent they have is insufficient, leading to delayed development and missed revenues. The talents they have in turn are overly stressed and more of them feel burned out.

Overcoming the Challenges

So what can you do in light of these problems? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make your company more attractive to potential hires. That means offering competitive salaries and benefits. You also need to customize your approach so that you can hire specific points about your company that will attract a particular potential employee. You have to consider what their goals are, and figure out how your company can help them achieve those goals.
  • What’s more, you need a healthy company culture that actually entices people to stay. Some companies are so enjoyable for workers that they refuse higher bids for their services, knowing that other companies may have a worse working environment.
  • Enhance the training for your current workforce. If you can’t find the trained talents for your needs, you may find them among your current employees. Or you can find the workers with the right potential and then offer to cover their training. You can then support them when they learn new technologies and new coding languages.
  • Invest in high school students. Identify which students have the smarts and the character that best suit your needs, and then help them out. Perhaps you can offer to pay for some training, or even offer a partial scholarship. At the very least, the relationship you forge will then make your company first in line as prospective companies to work for when they graduate from college.

Admittedly, these measures don’t hide the fact that a dwindling talent pool is a serious problem for the tech industry. But by considering our suggestions, you can do better than your competition in dealing with this issue.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

4 Secrets to Retaining Your Tech Talent

4 Secrets to Retaining Your Tech Talent

The supply of tech talent is dwindling, so how can you entice your current tech workers to stay? We have some tips to help you convince your workers to remain.

Many smaller tech companies these days feel like they’re the Kansas City Royals when they have great shortstops and pitchers. Once the Yankees and the Red Sox come calling, these small market teams have to no choice but to say goodbye to their superstars.

Is it then inevitable that you’ll lose your tech workers when headhunters dangle more lucrative salaries for these wizards? Not necessarily. There are ways for you to foster the kind of work environment that makes people want to stay. To achieve that type of work environment, here’s what you need to do if you’re the boss:

1. Remember the Human Element

Sometimes we just think of our employees by their job titles and what they can do for the company. But they’re not just chess pieces we move around the board. These are people, with human emotions and beliefs. You can’t forget that.

That’s why you need to learn how to emphasize and listen to your employees. One way to improve your skills in these aspects is to take coaching courses and read coaching materials. You’re more like a coach of a sports team rather than a chess player with unfeeling game pieces.

2. Have a Clear Vision and Mission

It’s not just money that drives people. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting to succeed, especially when the purpose is something they wholeheartedly believe in. To help your employees get on the bandwagon, you have to make it clear what your company’s vision is regarding its purpose. Workers are then more apt to be motivated to work for a noble purpose, and they’ll be more engaged.

Disengagement is a huge problem with workers, as this state makes them more likely to leave and find something more engaging. That’s why you need to set clear goals. Your workers need to know that what they’re doing is actually important.

3. Help Your Talent Become Better Leaders

You should have processes that support team leaders, especially those who have been thrust into leadership positions for the first time. Helping them to succeed helps your company in many ways, as you improve the productivity of those teams. In addition, you give your new team leaders a sense of belonging in your company, as they have a greater influence on the success of your business. Once they believe that your company is also in a way “their baby”, they’re less likely to abandon their position for a new company.

4. Offer Recognition

It’s no secret that the majority of employees tend to work harder when they’re recognized for their efforts. They’re disheartened when their efforts are seemingly ignored, which tempts them to leave for other companies where their efforts may be more appreciated. You don’t need to give them lavish prizes—just offer the recognition in a timely manner and make it personal. Make sure it’s sincere, and not just something that seems forced.

Remember, people aren’t always motivated by money. People can love their jobs not just because of the money, and if they love their job while they work for you they’re less likely to leave.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

Want to Work at a Startup? Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile With These Simple Tips

Want to Work at a Startup? Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile With These Simple Tips

If you’re looking for a job at a startup, no other social networking tool will be of greater help to you than LinkedIn. The vast majority of startups use it as their primary candidate search tool, so you need to do a version of SEO on your LinkedIn profile to make it stand out.

Even if you are happily employed, you owe it to yourself to be well represented on Linkedin, as you NEVER know what will come your way. LinkedIn is the first place companies go to find out about you.

Here Are The Must-Haves

Right from the very beginning, your profile has to stand out from the rest of the riff-raff. Startups are a lot about the mission of the company their building. Show why you are passionate about working for their company by sharing your experiences that align with their mission. Startups want to find someone who loves their company almost as much as they do.

So, first, make sure that you have the basic steps covered. This starts with a professional-looking profile photo to help them recognize you. It’s been found that you get 9 times more connection requests when you have a photo than when you don’t have one.

You also need to make sure that your profile is updated with the latest information. It must include your present industry, company, and position, so that you’re better able to connect with the content, groups, and jobs you’re interested in.

Your current location is also crucial, as this type of listing helps searches made by recruiters, former coworkers, and fellow alumni. With your location listed, you’re 10 times more likely to be found.

A good profile can immediately display your work affiliation and location, your contact info, and your list of connections. It can feature your education history, though you can also hide this easily if you don’t want to highlight it. You should also add videos and images to your summary.

Make your profile stand out from others by adding your FUN side to it.  Use emoji, symbols and visual cues in your profile will definitely help to make it stands out from the crowd in a positive way especially if you use them conservatively. Make sure you don’t overuse them. You don’t want your profile to appear unprofessional.

Keyword Your Skills

Recruiters spend hours searching on LinkedIn looking for top performers. And when they find them, they will contact the top performers. Knowing this, you’ll serve yourself well to market yourself as a top performer by highlighting your skills in the summary and experience section.

With the ever-increasing data available about you, the candidate, many companies are using innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to quickly weave out the low performers. AI technology has the ability to quickly sifts out keywords and key skills in your resume. Customize your profile with keywords that represent the required soft and hard skills found in the job listings. Incorporate these terms throughout your profile, particularly in the “Key Skills” and “Work Experience” sections will definitely help. Remember, hiring managers to need to know what industry you are an expert in, what technologies you are most fluent in, and which types of products/services do you have the most familiarity with.

You can start by featuring your top 3 skills on your profile. These are the skills for which you want to be recognized. You can also categorize your skills so that others will find it easier to find out if you have the particular skills they’re looking for.

One example of categorization is to have categories such as Skills in Technology and Tools, Industry Expertise, Interpersonal Skills, and Miscellaneous Skills. You should take care of the order of the skills you list within each category, as the most important ones should be at the top of the list. Don’t forget to update these lists as you gain more skills. Whether you learn a new program or even just a new musical instrument, include them all here.

These listings matter a lot, in case you still don’t realize their importance. If you have at least 5 skills on your profile, you’ll get 17 times more profile views. Recruiters and other people who can help you advance in your professional career can send up to 31 times more messages.

You can finish off the profile by adding more clues to who you are aside from your work and educational experience. Mention every charity or community work you’ve, and don’t forget to add new awards and accomplishments. Always update, as you’re never really done with your LinkedIn profile.

This might interest you: Top 5 Items that Job Seekers Need to Remove from Their LinkedIn Profile


 

Cadre is a quality over quantity boutique recruiting shop specializing in all things software engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. Cadre is building a talent network utilizing AI and Machine Learning to help solve the tech talent crisis across their portfolio of 85 startups throughout California, Seattle, and Austin.

 

Jason Stomel
Contributor
Cadre Talent, Santa Monica, CA
Jason is the founder and CEO of Cadre; a talent agency, recruiting software incubator and Angel Investor. He has been recruiting in LA for 12 years across a portfolio of startups ranging from Pre-Series A to publicly traded tech companies and Venture Capitalists.
×
Jason Stomel
Cadre Talent, Santa Monica, CA
Jason is the founder and CEO of Cadre; a talent agency, recruiting software incubator and Angel Investor. He has been recruiting in LA for 12 years across a portfolio of startups ranging from Pre-Series A to publicly traded tech companies and Venture Capitalists.

How the Stock Market Affects the Job Market

  • Cadre Talent is a quality over quantity boutique recruiting shop specializing in all things software engineering in LA
How the Stock Market Affects the Job Market

The recent stock market plummet has sent many people into wondering if the job market will follow suit, affecting their careers and livelihoods.

The good news is, even though the health of the stock market does have an impact on the job market, it’s often not a one-to-one correlation.

The Stock Market As an Indicator of Shareholder Confidence

The stock market reflects not only the strength of the economy at the moment but also the confidence that investors and corporations have in the future of the market.

If shareholders believe that a company is going to make more profits, then the stock price will bounce back and the organization will have more resources to expand and hire employees. If the market feels that a company’s earnings will remain stagnant or decline, then the stock price will drop and the organization will likely have to tighten its belt.

As such, how investors evaluate the economy will impact corporations’ resource allocation and hiring decisions.

Keep in mind that the stock market is a leading indicator while the job market is a lagging indicator. A single fluctuation in the stock market is unlikely to impact the job market significantly in the short run.

However, if the downward trend continues in the stock market and shareholder confidence starts to erode, the job market will likely suffer since a company’s stock value is based on investors’ projection of its future earnings.

One major reason that a bull market typically creates more jobs is the increased M&A activities. Larger companies have more cash and tend to expand more aggressively. On the other hand, M&A activities tend to slow down in a sustained bear market.

Also, VC money tends to drop off in a sustained bear market, which often results in a tight market, as well as a contraction in seed and Series A rounds. This, in turn, affects the hiring prognosis for startups while more candidates are holding onto their jobs at bigger shops. Such candidate-favored market could deter smaller companies from hiring.

How the Stock Market Affects the Job Market

How the Stock Market and Job Market Affect Each Other

Many factors, such as the global economy, political climate, and investor confidence can impact how the stock market and the job market affect each other as they’re intertwined in nuanced ways.

For example, the economy doesn’t have to decline to put CEOs under pressure. If shareholders start losing confidence for any reason and executives are forced to put a hold on spending, the job market could be affected.

Alternatively, when job seekers see signs of uncertainty in the market, they’re likely to stay at their current jobs and start banking more money instead of taking more risks or increase their spending. This will reduce their disposable income, impact the economy, reduce corporate earnings, and eventually affect the stock market.

There are other factors that will affect the confidence of the market and the outlook of investors in response to a plummet in stock prices, which can have a major impact on the job market.

For example, if investors are pessimistic about the political climate and the Fed responds by increasing the interest rates, global stock and bond market will continue to drop. Companies will be under pressure to tighten their spending by pausing their hiring or even laying off employees.

However, if the political climate instills an optimistic mood in corporate America (e.g., through deregulation and tax breaks,) stockholder confidence can stay high despite a momentary drop in stock prices. Businesses will feel empowered and continue to expand and hire more employees.

Last but not least, wild swings in stock prices could impact market confidence more significantly. As a result, the fluctuation is likely to be more destabilizing for the job market.


 

Cadre is a quality over quantity boutique recruiting shop specializing in all things software engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. Cadre is building a talent network utilizing AI and Machine Learning to help solve the tech talent crisis across their portfolio of 85 startups throughout California, Seattle, and Austin.

 

Jason Stomel
Contributor
Cadre Talent, Santa Monica, CA
Jason is the founder and CEO of Cadre; a talent agency, recruiting software incubator and Angel Investor. He has been recruiting in LA for 12 years across a portfolio of startups ranging from Pre-Series A to publicly traded tech companies and Venture Capitalists.
×
Jason Stomel
Cadre Talent, Santa Monica, CA
Jason is the founder and CEO of Cadre; a talent agency, recruiting software incubator and Angel Investor. He has been recruiting in LA for 12 years across a portfolio of startups ranging from Pre-Series A to publicly traded tech companies and Venture Capitalists.

Fear Of Missing Out?

Get our Newsletter Today!  

We'll let you know who's hiring (shhh), great deals on tools and services, upcoming events, which startup got funded, which investor to connect ...  
SUBSCRIBE
close-link