Industries and workforces are evolving. This means businesses’ needs to function and produce great results are also shifting. During this change, a pressing challenge emerges: the need for candidates equipped with indispensable skills to navigate this dynamic landscape.
In this article, we go over rare traits in candidates that every recruiter should look for today. We’ll examine why these traits are enduringly significant in a landscape increasingly characterized by automation.
Evolving Industries: What Will Change and What Will Remain
McKinsey & Company conducted over 2,000 work activities across 800 occupations. They found that specific activity categories are more accessible to automate than others. These include physical activities in structured and highly predictable environments and data collection and processing.
Among these tasks and skills, they found some that are least susceptible. These include skills in interfacing with stakeholders, managing others, and providing expertise.¹
While these soft skills may resist automation and remain vital in the foreseeable future, HR professionals face difficulties in recruiting candidates equipped with these essential attributes for an increasingly automated environment, as reported by SHRM. The top 3 areas of missing soft skills are as follows:
- Problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity, according to 37 percent of respondents
- Ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, according to 32 percent
- Communication, according to 31 percent²
Rare Traits in Candidates: What the World Needs Today
Gallup discovered through a meta-analysis that companies that select the top 20 percent of most talented candidates for a role often gain a 10 percent increase in their productivity, a 20 percent increase in sales, and a 30 percent profitability increase. On top of this, they also found a 25 percent decrease in unscheduled absences and a 10 percent decrease in turnover.³
Related Reading: How To Reach Top Talent Without Giving Up Your Authenticity
If your firm is looking for the best candidates, remember to consider their soft skills. These come rarer than technical skills. Here are some of them to look out for.
1. Management Ability
Gallup also discovered that 82 percent of the time, companies fail to appoint the person with the right talent to become a manager. A factor that affects this is that great managers are few because the skill needed to become one is rare. The research showed that only around one in ten people have the high talent to manage.⁴
Hiring people with good management skills, especially in leadership roles, can improve a company’s performance as they can naturally engage their members and customers, retain top-performing employees, and sustain a high productivity culture.
2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Candidates who are very good at critical thinking can approach any challenge with a structured and logical mindset. This can lead them to solve problems more methodically as they’re proficient in gathering and analyzing relevant information.
This allows them to make more informed judgments at work, especially when they’re faced with ambiguous and complex concerns.
3. Empathy and Interpersonal Skills
Technical skills are easier to learn as they come with step-by-step tutorials and other resources. However, it’s a different ball game for empathy as it comes from human development, influenced by the interactions and relationships people had growing up.
Empaths with excellent interpersonal skills often contribute to a great work environment by showing respect and kindness to those around them. This is a great trait to have for candidates who will be working closely with clients and customers.
4. Continuous Learning and Adaptability
Since industries are rapidly evolving due to automation and other forms of technology, the willingness to continually learn and the ability to quickly adapt are traits that you may want to look for in candidates.
Candidates who possess these can easily adjust to changes in their work processes and responsibilities. They are the first people to learn new things and help their colleagues understand better any new duties assigned to the team.
Adaptability is also a form of flexibility. Flexible people know better how to adjust to their colleagues’ and clients’ needs because they enjoy learning.
5. Effective Communication and Seeking Support
Workplace communication isn’t just about sharing knowledge; it’s also about having the self-confidence to ask for assistance when necessary. Candidates who openly express their needs make exceptional team players because they recognize how their personal issues can impact overall team performance.
Accountability is a fundamental trait in any employee. Accountable individuals willingly shoulder responsibility for their actions and outcomes. It promotes reliability, trust, and transparency in the workplace.
For instance, when a project encounters setbacks, an accountable employee steps forward, acknowledges their mistakes, and proactively rectifies them. This willingness to take ownership instills trust and boosts efficiency and effectiveness.
They don’t see mistakes as the end of the world but as an opportunity to improve. Such individuals take pride in their work, ultimately enhancing team productivity and collaboration.
Perseverance isn’t just about enduring; it’s about thriving. It fuels a relentless pursuit of excellence, even when the going gets tough. This helps them keep their focus on their long-term goals.
These gritty individuals constantly improve their craft and adapt, even when their tasks become demanding. They contribute to their team’s resilience and inspire others to keep going with their steadfast commitment.
So, if you want a workforce that doesn’t just survive but thrives, seek out the gritty trailblazers who redefine the limits of determination and inspire others to follow suit.
Resourceful individuals are innovative problem-solvers. They approach every challenge with an unwavering belief that there’s a solution, no matter how puzzling the problem may seem.
Resourceful people know how to navigate present obstacles by making the most of the tools and knowledge they have. They are creative and can think outside of the box which makes them efficient and adaptable. Hiring them isn’t just brilliant; it’s a strategic move amplifying positive business outcomes.
9. Motivational Skills
Motivation isn’t just a trait for leaders; it’s a skill every employee should possess. The ability to inspire and uplift colleagues is a potent catalyst for team success. Imagine a workplace where optimism and enthusiasm are contagious, where everyone’s performance receives a turbo boost.
This skill isn’t confined to managerial roles; it’s a valuable asset for all employees. Those who can create a supportive, inspiring environment contribute to high morale and employee retention. They benefit everyone in the process. So, seek them out and watch your team’s spirit soar.
Related Reading: Recruiting on Culture Fit and Culture Add: What’s the Big Deal?
Soft Skills Never Go Out of Style
Technology trends come and go, but soft skills are the foundation of meaningful, impactful work. Work ethic enhances an individual’s ability to work with others through communication, collaboration, adaptability, and other traits.
In this ever-changing professional landscape, hiring candidates with robust soft skills ensures they can overcome challenges and contribute to others positively within the workplace.
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1 “AI, Automation, and the Future of Work: Ten Things to Solve for.” McKinsey & Company, 1 Jun. 2018, www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/ai-automation-and-the-future-of-work-ten-things-to-solve-for.
2 “The Skills Gap 2019.” SHRM, 9 Feb. 2019, www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Pages/Skills-Gap-2019.aspx.
3 Rigoni, Brandon, and Bailey Nelson. “Hiring Decisions: Big Data Isn’t Enough.” Gallup, 25 Feb. 2016, www.gallup.com/workplace/236462/hiring-decisions-big-data-isn-enough.aspx.
4 Adkins, Amy. “Only One in 10 People Possess the Talent to Manage.” Gallup, 13 Apr. 2015, www.gallup.com/workplace/236579/one-people-possess-talent-manage.aspx.