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Valuing people’s soft skills
Candidate lists should reflect the real world and its diversity. To help this, recruiting should focus on personalities and behaviours with future potential, alongside the technical skills you need today. This will create market flexibility, improve candidate mobility and help make workplaces more representative.
From every 100 hires, 13 fail or leave in the trial period, leading to a total of 33 departing in the first year. Why is the attrition rate so high? There are many reasons, but a prime driver is the need to close the gap between the technical and the soft skills you need to succeed in the role.
“Your ability to work well within a team is just as important as your skills,” says Ashley Stephenson, director of Michael Page Sweden. “That’s why in our interviews with candidates we always test their soft skills, so we can pair them with the requirements of the clients we are recruiting for.”
“Of course, because we work in a candidate driven market, with many open positions, companies will always first check if someone has the right hard skills,” explains Richard Wilke, Executive Director of Michael Page Sweden. “Soft skills come into play when there are more qualified candidates for one position. In those cases, the person with the right personal skills has a huge advantage.”
Need for situational and emotional intelligence
Recruiters and hiring managers will need to focus more on situational and emotional intelligence, on people who have high levels of learning quotient and critical thinking. There is a need to balance hard, technical skills with an adaptable, open personality that fits into your company strategy and culture. To assess these skills, education, location and experience offer little.
The overarching question is: what skills will drive productivity and business forward?
Key Insight: Recruiters and hiring managers need to focus on situational and emotional intelligence, on people who have high levels of learning quotient and critical thinking
Today’s reality is not tomorrow’s
Yesterday’s methodologies are no longer fit for purpose. Some corporations and SMEs are working towards new models, but most still use traditional methods that can accidentally lead to discriminatory biases.
It is important to evaluate the work environment, the team and the open position to understand the behavioural skills required today and in the future, to protect against the placement failing in the first year. By better understanding all the skills needed for the open position, the list of candidates presented for the role can be wider and more diverse.
Behavioural skills will only grow in importance as more automation and AI enters the workplace. Machines will perform technical and routine tasks, requiring people to programme and monitor them, report on their work and improve human productivity. Adding to the complexity of recruiting is the fact that candidates with high potential do not need to compromise their desire for meaningful and purposeful work.
Key Insight: By understanding the reality of the working environment in your company today you can tap into the promise and potential of the kind of candidates that can bring the skills you need tomorrow.
Focus on the future, not experience
Candidates want to understand their mission and how it fits into the overall purpose of the company. Recruiters must reverse the prism of evaluating candidates to reflect this reality, with the support of HR and decision-makers in companies.
The focus needs to be on potential and growth, not a narrow focus on experience and less valuable metrics, such as education and previous employment.
Just as candidates want an open view into the company, to understand the what and the why behind their role, so employers need an open view on the productivity and potential the candidate brings. That way, your company can ensure the position you need filled remains so for the long-term, not temporarily.
Key Insight: Recruiter and hiring manager focus needs to be on the potential a candidate brings with them, focusing on future growth and not on static experience from the past.
How can you become more than a talent scout?
Sourcing a candidate is one thing. Placing them into a role for the long-term is quite different and requires deep understanding of the team you are hiring for and the way they work.
The integration, or onboarding, phase of recruitment is now more important than ever, specifically to avoid the placement failing because of a lack of cultural or skills fit. People often leave roles due to the way of working, the culture of an organisation or the misunderstood nature of the role itself, all of which stem from a lack of visibility during the hiring process.
This highlights the gap that currently exists thanks to outdated methods of assessing candidate suitability through a narrow focus on technical skills. If personality and behavioural skills are only judged after placement, the likelihood of a lack of compatibility between employer and employee increases dramatically.
Key Insight: People leave roles due to the way of working, the culture of the organisation, and the nature of the role itself, so with better visibility during the hiring process this can be avoided, helping you become a talent manager, not simply a talent finder .