For too many times in my short career I was forced to work with people that has no people skills. Those people held a programming, admin or other technical roles, which means they weren't "customer facing", so for the employer, there was no need to require people skills when hiring them.
But that's a wrong call in my opinion. Even if the people in question were among the top 5% of the most professional people I met, I'd rather not work with them at all, than suffer their presence. Even if that means spending a few more days on solving some technical issues.
Many things bother me with such people:
- Some of them know they're so good at what their doing, and leverage their bad people skills in a way that no one would be able to learn from them. This gives them job security.
- Some of them use the fact no one wants to communicate with them in order to get this quiet room "in the basement".
- If there's a "dirty job" that involves communicating with customers, obviously they aren't tasked with handling it. That's an ugly way to get only the "nice" tasks.
- They get away with ugly code, since no one wants to communicate with them and get them to beautify it or write documentation.
When it's time for me to hire employees, be sure that having decent people skills will be a criteria.