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.


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.


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 // 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, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect: john@lastartups.com

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