Today, recruiting is a tricky game. With the business landscape changing, the recruitment game is no longer restricted to looking for one or two skills associated with a role. While specific tech skills are a must for any role, organisations are also assessing candidates’ emotional intelligence and soft skills. They believe that gauging a candidate on these skills helps better understand a candidate’s long-term fit. Top recruiters want to know how a candidate exhibits skills such as collaboration, flexibility, problem-solving, decision-making, etc. in dynamically changing business scenarios.
It is a given that technology is changing rapidly, and people need to update and stay relevant. Therefore, recruiters look for a suitable mix of tech and soft skills for a role. In the changed scenario of virtual hiring, it becomes more important for recruiters to use the right tools and technologies to ensure this. From adapting tech-enabled assessments to video interviews, recruiters use various means to find the right candidate. This change is evident even in campus recruitment that has now gone virtual. From candidate application to selection processes, campus hiring has become remote. The scale is now manageable without compromising on quality or diversity, thanks to tech platform providers who efficiently chalk and execute the complete programme.
Hiring trends indicate that recruiters are looking for a mix of skills. In the quest for the best talent, assessment tools lend recruiters an edge with regard to time, cost and quality.
Let’s now look at the top tech and soft skills that recruiters are looking for in candidates in 2022.
1. Technical skills: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been one of the top trending technical skills for a while now. And why not, considering that AI is impacting all aspects of our lives? From virtual assistants and chatbots helping us shop to robotic surgeries in healthcare or driverless cars, AI has become all-pervasive. All major global organisations continue to invest in R&D using AI. Therefore, it continues to be a top tech skill in demand. Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) are associated with AI and they will continue to evolve.
Data is at the core of this technology. Everything that AI does is based on data. Data Science helps analyse patterns and behaviour from the data, which ML and DL models use to become intelligent and make predictions. Where and how is all of this data available? This is where Cloud computing comes in. With most of our personal or enterprise data sitting on a Cloud somewhere, Cloud skills are also highly relevant. Learning these technologies may be the stepping stone to a great career in the industry. Some freshers keep track of the trends and ensure they stay updated by doing courses outside the curriculum. Technical skills can be checked by recruiters using customised coding tools.
2. Functional skills: Every role that recruiters hire for will require some specific functional skills. In lateral hiring, candidates come with previous experience and feedback that can help recruiters assess their role-specific functional skills. However, in the case of freshers since there is no prior experience, it will require some carefully customised functional assessments to gauge this capability. For HR roles, candidates need to have good communication and people skills. The role will also require a good amount of administrative and management skills, alongside financial literacy and advisory skills to assist employees.
Marketing roles will require candidates to be digitally savvy as digital marketing is the most potent marketing tool today. Additionally, communication and negotiation skills and the ability to assess the market, the target audience and competitors are valuable assets. While hiring for finance roles, recruiters seek good financial literacy with an analytical mind. Planning and strategic thinking are also coveted capabilities in finance roles. When it comes to operations, one’s capacity for strategic planning, problem-solving and decision-making play a significant role, as do the relevant technical skills. Recruiters can tailor functional assessments to test skills relevant to every role.
3. Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence encompasses skills that help understand emotions and manage them. Statistics suggest that more than 80 per cent of competencies displayed by top performers fall under this category. Also, companies whose employees have high emotional intelligence are more likely to record great profit and growth. Emotional intelligence training is said to bring about a major leap in productivity. Thus, it happens to be a top skill that recruiters look for. It refers to a candidate’s ability to perceive, analyse and respond to other people’s emotions in various scenarios.
Also, in the present scenario, chosen candidates may have to work with teammates whom they may never get to meet in person. It is essential to gauge how people build camaraderie in a virtual environment. Therefore, it is a must-have skill to build productive teams. It tells you how people respond when things turn stressful in dynamic business scenarios. Tailor-made psychometric tests bring out the various candidate attributes of emotional intelligence.
4. Communication: Communication skills have always been considered a critical element. In the virtual working scenario, this assumes even greater significance. Communicating the right message at the right time to the intended recipients can help to address many team issues with ease. Whether emails, voice and video calls or chats, it is one’s communication skills that keep it going.
Communication is a two-way process where listening is considered very important. For example, what, when, and how to respond during online communication is essential. Recruiters can assess this skill throughout the recruitment process, from the start to the final interview, based on candidate interaction.
5. Adaptability: Though not easy, embracing change is inevitable; people and businesses coped with the pandemic and the changes it forced on every aspect of life. Businesses and employees need to adapt to changing scenarios. For instance, rapidly evolving technologies and constantly changing customer needs dictate the need for new products and services. Organisations and employees that failed to adapt could not thrive; many even perished. Adaptability is thus a skill that top recruiters should look for to build successful and productive teams. Some realistic scenario-based questions posed to candidates and their responses to the same can help assess this skill.
6. Willingness to learn and grow: This skill is linked to adaptability. It is an undeniable fact that unless one is willing to learn and evolve, one cannot adapt or grow. An organisation’s growth depends on its ability to innovate and hit the market early, and this growth mindset should be reflected in every employee. Recruiters check for this with pointed questions during interviews or through psychometric tests that can assess the attitude to learn.
7. Problem solving: Understanding the problem-solving attitude is essential to evaluating a candidate comprehensively. Problem-solving is not limited to solving business problems only. It could be managing unforeseen scenarios, handling a crisis in the absence of seniors in a team, identifying bottlenecks and suggesting solutions, handling uncooperative team members, or balancing professional and personal life as one grows in the career. This skill is linked to critical thinking and is essential to career growth. Recruiters always prefer candidates with growth potential as the organisation can groom leaders for senior positions. Recruiters can assess the problem-solving attitude of candidates through situational questions during interviews or assessments. Candidates can also be requested to provide examples from their personal or academic life that relate to them.
8. Active listening: This skill is closely linked to communication skills. Active listening goes beyond merely paying attention or flipping through mail communication. It means paying careful attention to what is being communicated. Employees need to take an interest, engage fully, ask the right questions and ensure a positive outcome. Recruiters can check for active listening skills during interviews or through customised assessment tests.
9. Creativity: This is one skill recruiters would appreciate in most candidates, irrespective of the role. The ability to think out of the box and come up with innovative ideas can help teams to streamline their work and be more productive. Creativity is handy in any role, whether technical or non-technical. It is also intrinsically linked to problem-solving, as very few people can come out with multiple or unique solutions to solve a problem. In fresh hires, organisations look forward to their fresh thinking, ideas and energy that can be infused into existing teams.
This is an exhaustive checklist that recruiters need to address on their journey to getting the best from out there. It may appear daunting to perform such a comprehensive check, but equipped with the right tools, it becomes possible and easier, especially in the case of campus hiring. Hence, a comprehensive campus hiring strategy needs to be made by linking these skills to the respective roles and customising assessments accordingly. An established tech-enabled enterprise recruitment platform like HirePro can help execute this exercise smoothly.