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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, in addition to the technical skills you need today. This will create greater market flexibility, improve candidate mobility and help make workplaces more representative.
From every 100 hires, 13 fail or leave in the trial period, and one in three new hires depart in the first year. Why is the attrition rate so high? There are many reasons, but a primary driver is the need to close the gap between what a role truly entails and the skills (technical and behavioural) needed to succeed now and into the future.
A step change in the way candidates are assessed is coming. 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 current 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.
What is often missing from the recruitment experience?
- For the candidate: expectations about the role and their tasks i.e. the mission and purpose
- For the company: the candidate’s potential performance and their technical and behavioural skills.
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’sYesterday’s skills assessment methodologies are no longer fit for today’s purpose. Some corporations and SMEs are working towards new models, evolving towards a less heterogeneous recruiting style, but most still use outdated systems that can accidentally lead to discriminatory biases.
“We don’t sell but we advise our clients depending on their individual needs. That means that we present candidates who convince us of their set of soft skills and who are ready to train the technical skills. Through presenting diverse candidates we teach our clients to think outside the box. This way, we create more diversity, the fluctuation rate decreases while the return of investment increases.”, says Melissa Haymerle, Director at Michael Page Austria.
The importance of soft 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.
It is important to evaluate the work environment, the team and the open position to understand the technical and behavioural skills required today and tomorrow, to protect against the placement failing in the first year. By better understanding all the skills needed for the open position, the list of the best available candidates for the role can be wider.
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 come with the skills you need tomorrow.
Focus on the future, not experience
Candidates want to understand their individual 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.
Melissa Haymerle adds the following:
“During a personal get-to-know with the client company, we discover soft skills that are either wanted or needed. As a consultant, I have led a number of interviews for Michael Page with different kinds of people. This improves my knowledge of human nature from time to time. Accordingly, it is relatively easy for us to read and understand the soft skills of our candidates.
However, we do not leave the final assessment of applicants to our gut feeling. But we follow an all-around strategy. This consists of a personality test, a personal interview and the reference check and gives us a complete picture of the applicant.”
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.
Michael Page can help you to evolve your role beyond that of simply finding talent. We can help you harness the power of your company to attract, retain and gain the maximum value from every candidate you hire, contributing to the long-term success of your business.
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