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Author's profile photo Jason Cao

Coach’s Corner – SAP Recruiter: “Top 5 Soft Skills That Get My Attention”

It is said that emotional intelligence, more than any other factors, like expertise or IQ, is responsible for the majority of our success at work (Warren Bennis).

In this new blog series, we will explore the topic of emotional intelligence and specific skills and mindset that enable us to develop our emotional intelligence. The end goal? Greater self-awareness, better relationships at work and home, and a healthier community. I will be inviting coaches to share their perspectives and tips, and I invite you to add your comments so we can learn even more from each other.

A couple weeks ago, I ask the question: “What soft skills are important for your career?” and would like to summarize the responses so far in a word cloud:


Concurrently, I asked a related question: “What mindset and behavior are needed for a healthy community?” and received the following:


For a different perspective, I asked Maxx Snow (@MaxxSnowSAP), Technical Recruiter for SAP’s Products and Innovation, to share what soft-skills he and SAP hiring managers look out for in technical candidates. Here are his top 5:

Empathy – team atmospheres are difficult at times, and especially at SAP can be made up of all skill levels – from entry to senior level.  A good sense of empathy is always paramount to understand the problems your teammates may face and realize that everyone deals with different hurdles and negative feedback affects people differently.

Communication – written and verbal communication is also another important soft skill for technical resources.  Not every developer will be comfortable being an orator and that’s not what this is about.  It’s more about being able to communicate effectively enough to maintain visibility and achieve mutual team and individual goals with minimal confusion.

Curiosity – SAP attracts the best in class in development, and it’s important that if you ARE best in class that you maintain a level of curiosity that keeps your eyes towards the new and latest/greatest technology out there.  Being a tech nerd is NEVER a bad thing here, and it will only keep you sharp and relevant while you grow your career with us.

Accountability – nobody is perfect so taking ownership over your mistakes is key.  It can be difficult, but it makes you a better teammate when you’re able to own up to mistakes and grow from them.  Admit when you are wrong, and it will avoid problems down the road when your teammates could support you from the outset and fix the issues with you.

Time Management – If you’re a good developer, you’ll always be juggling multiple action items.  Knowing how to manage your day and time, but also planning ahead and knowing what’s expected is a great skill to have.  There’s many tools and techniques to help with time management, but this is something that you must build on from within yourself.  There’s always more to take on working here, so the better you are at prioritizing and using your time effectively is key.


Thank you Maxx for sharing these very valuable industry insights!

I spot a few notable themes, whether we are building healthy relationships or healthy communities: empathy, communications, and openness to learning. What do you think? Please feel free to comment below on aspects of emotional intelligence that are worth a closer look.

Check out more blog posts in this series: Coach’s Corner.

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      Author's profile photo Raju C D
      Raju C D


      Hi Jason,

      Nice Blog.. One of my Interesting area as well.. I completely agree with above soft-skills which should be there for technical candidates, along these skills I feel that Negotiation........, Influence........ and Persuasion....... are also required to be more successful in the career.


      Raju C D


      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you CD Raju! These are excellent additional soft-skills to develop! I find that one's ability to influence is related to reputation. However, for new graduates and even those who have been in the workforce for many years, there are many things we can do to increase our influence, starting with understanding how organizations are structured and reporting lines. This topic is worthy of a seperate blog or Community Call. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Jakob Marius Kjær
      Jakob Marius Kjær

      Hi Jason, I'm not sure I would entirely agree on that. Certainly it does help a great lot. But I think if you bring enough enthusiasm to the table you can influence in a great way without being the best or most reputable in the field.

      If the above wasn't true then I wouldn't be where I am today. There are plenty more who are far more experienced and reputable.

      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Jakob Marius Kjær! Yes, you are right - there are many different things that helps to increase one's influence. My point was that having a good reputation helps. However, we can't always rely on this (who knows, who we think we are does not always match with who others think we are). Enthusiasm is a perfect way to immediately demonstrate our intentions! In an old blog, I came to the conclusion that attitude outweighs aptitude in many cases (sorry, the videos did not make it through the platform migrations).

      Author's profile photo Matthew Billingham
      Matthew Billingham

      Yay - I'm the perfect candidate. 🙂

      Early on in my career, I was sent on a 3 day presentation course. I never looked back. I particularly like the 3rd point. If you're not curious, you never progress from where you are. I've found as I get older, I'm actually better at acquiring and consolidating new information and techniques.

      The classic techy personality is a starting point - it's always possible to learn new behaviour. It's even possible to learn to be empathic.

      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Matthew Billingham! Hehe, yes, looks like you are the perfect candidate from your description and willingness to learn. DJ Adams mentioned the ability to learn as an important skill, and I think genuine curiosity enables this - also enables empathy.

      I find that to learn a new behaviour, and commit to that behaviour, we need to change our belief.

      Author's profile photo Matthew Billingham
      Matthew Billingham

      On a management training course years ago, we did some exercises that revealed that I've got quite a strong creative characteristic. Until then, I was almost entirely unaware, and believed that I wasn't particularly creative.

      Now - I even direct theatre plays.

      Author's profile photo Matt Fraser
      Matt Fraser

      Really! I'd love to hear more about that some day.

      Author's profile photo Matthew Billingham
      Matthew Billingham

      This from about ten years ago:

      This is from a play I directed last year. 6 performances, to a total audience of around 1800.


      Author's profile photo Joao Sousa
      Joao Sousa

      I agree curiosity is probably the most important and the hardest to change. If you're curious we will make that extra effort, if you're not.... it's just a job.

      Author's profile photo Jack Milgram
      Jack Milgram

      I'm absolutely sure that everything is changeable. Curiosity is, after all, just another skill that you can develop in different ways including the hard one. You just imitate curiosity until it becomes a habit.


      Author's profile photo gabriel davis
      gabriel davis

      Yes, I also agree with this point. You can acquire many skills like we have written a detailed article on How to Restate A Thesis? You must read and gain knowledge about skills.

      Author's profile photo Anne Johnson
      Anne Johnson

      Hi Jason, super setup thank you for the post. I would personally argue that the challenging approach is also a great candidate trait to carry with you. If your companions/community is also open and curious, they, and you, would grow immensely if challenged correctly! To be challenged once in a while helps you grow, see the current limits and in which direction you want to grow. To be challenged is to be given a possibility to reflect on the current state.

      Of course, the idea of challenging yourself and others to grow requires the other skills mentioned in your blog, or else it might fall flat!

      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Anne Johnson! The "challenging approach" is a great addition and I think connects with curiosity. Moving out of our "comfort zones" is a great way to test ourselves and, in many cases, grow. The "growth" mindset is something we can all benefit from having, if and when we're ready as you mentioned.