There are qualities, qualifications and personality traits that employers need not become preoccupied with–at least temporarily.
In short, the soft skills are not where the value is right now, says About Staffing CEO Sharlene Massie.
“Employers need the hard skills at this moment in time,” she says. “The candidates have to be able to do the jobs now. Don’t hire for personality and train for skills, because it is too hard to do that remotely. Hire for skills, purpose and culture, so you have a long term fit.”
Last fall, the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report found, on average, companies estimated about 40% of workers will require reskilling, and almost 95% of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, which is a significant uptick from 65% in 2018.
So if you hire people who are already skilled up and ready to tackle the tasks at hand, you as an employer, are at an enormous advantage.
So what are the things you don’t need to care about? (For now, at least.)
You are a people person? That doesn’t matter much at the present time. You aren’t going to be seeing many of those right now.
You are a fast learner? That is great, but most employers need someone who already has a great grasp of what they need to know. We are all tired of Zoom training sessions, sharing screens and educational webinars. Can you execute now?
You are a great team player? Wonderful. But can you get the job done without the obvious benefit of being surrounded by people who can encourage, direct, motivate and move you forward? You may have to go it alone sometimes right now. Can you do that?
So what do you need to be most concerned with? Massie suggests asking these questions:
• Tell me about your five top skills.
• Tell me about the technology, platforms and software you are most familiar with.
• What are your values? And why do you say that? How do you know when those values are being compromised?
• What causes do you support?
• What do you want from your career future?
• What do you value the most in life?
• What did you do to fill in your Covid gaps? What did you do well? What would you do differently?
Soft skills will always matter, but maybe don’t put quite as much weight on them right now.
Don’t worry. We aren’t suggesting this should lead to the demise of the emotionally intelligent employee. But investing in highly skilled staff is a winning strategy, when the losses many businesses are facing are at an unprecedented high.