One of the prime questions that irk every candidate is what skills the recruiter is looking for in them. More often than not, most job descriptions explicitly state the hard skills and experience required for the concerned position. However, the soft skills they are looking for are not clearly expressed most of the times.

Yet, “94% of recruiting professionals believe that an employee with stronger soft skills has a better chance of being promoted to a leadership position than an employee with more years of experience but weaker soft skills.“, according to a study by iCIMS Hiring Insights.

And as a result, the former category becomes a preferred choice for recruiters.

We recently asked the leaders from some leading tech- startups to know directly from the horse’s mouth about skills that startups look for in a candidate. While most agreed that knowledge of the technical skills required for the job is a must-have, they also pointed out these soft-skills that they look out for.


Problem-solving is the most sought after soft-skill by recruiting professionals. The same iCIMS Hiring Insights study revealed that 69% of the professionals valued problem-solving the most in the candidates.

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“The technical knowledge is very important, in the areas which we’re interested in and general problem-solving – and by that what I mean is the approach taken to solve the problem, even though the person doesn’t come up with a final answer. If the approach is valid, I definitely look at that,” said Manish Kalbande, Head of India R&D, Foghorn Systems in conversation with Workship.

What Manish Kalbande looks for in a candidate


The second most valued skill according to the study was adaptability. 49% of the recruiting professionals looked for it in the candidates they wished to hire.

“The company mindset for a startup is basically that it’s usually chaotic. So people in startups – not only ours, but also other startups also that I’ve had experience with don’t know what they’re going to be building in the next three months. That’s basically going to be based on customer feedback and on where the technology is going, etc. So, adaptability is important,” Dr Milind Bhandarkar, Founder and CTO of Ampool told Workship.

Here’s what he looks for in a candidate.

What Dr Milind Bhandarkar looks for in a candidate

The Right Attitude

Startup these days are focussed on growing and pacing with the technology. For that, they want a team that is ready to learn and learns quickly. And that becomes a key skill that recruiters look for in candidates.

“We look for attitude because we understand a person might not know everything. But, as long as they have the right attitude, there shouldn’t be a problem getting that person up to speed,” Milind Barve, Head of India Ops, Platform9 shared with Workship.

Here is what he looks for in a candidate:

What Milind Barve looks for in a candidate

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