The key to working in tech isn’t knowing everything–that’s not even possible for multi-decade vets of the industry. For Brendan Browne, VP of Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn, this question boils down to the number one soft skill needed at LinkedIn: adaptability.
“Soft skills like adaptability are a hard thing to suss out but they’re critical for someone to be successful here,” Browne says. Projects change direction all the time, while departmental reorganizations and management shifts lead to priorities being rearranged. “Your ability to deal with these scenarios will impact where you’re best able to contribute at a company.”
As far as the best way to show your adaptability in an interview setting, Browne says he’s “looking for real answers, not the canned, stereotypical responses.”
Go with an experience from your career (a department re-org, a client changing their mind last minute) or personal life (becoming a parent, a cross-country move) that shows how you’ve been able to “adapt, persevere, and manage change.”
Not a particularly adaptable person? Don’t panic. Self-awareness is also a key trait Browne looks for. “You don’t need to pretend certain skills are your strong point if they aren’t. If adapting quickly is hard for you, that’s okay. You likely have other soft skills an employer wants (collaboration, culture fit, etc.), so play those up during your interview,” he says.