Future of Work: Hire people who care because skills can be worked on but not attitude, says Pocket Aces' Viral Mehta

At YourStory’s Future of Work Summit, Viral Mehta, VP of Engineering at Pocket Aces, said organisations should hire people with humility about their craft.
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It is important to hire people who care about the product and can develop their own craft, said Viral Mehta, Vice President of Engineering at Pocket Aces.

Viral Mehta, VP of Engineering at Pocket Aces in conversation with YourStory at Future of Work 2021

“You want people who care. You get people who care about the product, excelling themselves, enhancing their craft. Knowing specific languages and skills does not matter as long as fundamentals are strong,” Mehta said during a fireside chat with Priya Sheth, Senior Anchor at YourStory, on Day 1 of the fourth edition of the Future of Work 2021 Summit.

YourStory’s Future of Work is an all-virtual, two-day product-tech-design summit being held on March 5 and 6. The summit will bring together the best minds in industry to understand the future of work and the impact of product, tech, and design on businesses of today and tomorrow.

Mehta comes with decades of experience in the segment. Prior to joining Pocket Aces, he worked with Microsoft for over 11 years.

Sought-after qualities

Listing a few of the qualities to look out for while building a high-quality technology team, Mehta said it is important to recruit those who believe in shared understanding. He explained that the people hired should understand they are product engineers and would need to build products for the company. 

Mehta advised organisations to focus on hiring people with sound fundamental skills. He said it is important for team members to have a balance of hard and soft skills.

“One should hire people who are open to new ideas, open to learning, and can communicate well," he said. "One of the major drawbacks of the engineering education system is that communication skills are not properly taught.”

Mehta explained that one has to get better at communicating to work in the tech team. He said that in the pandemic-induced work-from-home routine, communicating with colleagues via Slack or other virtual platforms became very important to get things done.

He advised people to practise writing, as he said it is one of the best ways to develop soft skills. “If you can't communicate well, then you are gonna fall back.”  

According to Mehta, there is a need to have a 50:40 balance of hard and soft skills among tech team members.  “Do not hire people with rock star attitude, rather get people with humility about their craft.”

He said people with a “rock star attitude” could be efficient, but they might not work well with the team. 

Make the team feel valued

Mehta said organisations should give their teams important things to work on so that they feel valued. 

“The work has to be important enough that all the way up and down the chain, especially in a relatively small startup, like less than a 100-people startup, where the founders will know who is doing what… It can't be like hands off, because that's how they get a lot of value.”

He said that if an organisation has got the cash, it should pay the team well to maintain the high quality for a long time

“If you are able to get super dedicated people aligned with your vision, then give them equity and make them founders. Give them equity, get them aligned with you, so that they are really working,” he added.


A big shout-out to our Future of Work 2021 Co-presenting Sponsors Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Unique Solutions; Digital Excellence Partner Google Cloud; Associate Sponsors HP and Intel; and Sponsors Atlassian, Freight Tiger, Archon I Cohesity, TeamViewer, and Pocket Aces.

Edited by Lena Saha