Hiring managers will often say that they don’t need top talent, they need the right talent to fill an open position. The definition of the right talent will vary from team to team, but there are some characteristics that have become more important, as we all make our way through the current pandemic.
If there is one takeaway from COVID-19, it’s that the world we know can change in a moment. The seismic shift sent us all home to shelter in place, and changed how companies do business, probably for the foreseeable future. How employees interact with their work and with their employer changed overnight. Uncertainty is sure to be a constant for quite some time.
Along with everything else, hiring is undergoing changes, too. Face to face meetings are replaced with video conferences. On-boarding is happening virtually. Some key attributes, such as adaptability and resilience, are being added to the definition of the right candidate.
It is increasingly important to find candidates who can embrace the uncertainty and thrive. Being adaptable in the face of change is critical. Someone who is an insatiable learner, who is curious and enthusiastic, who is energized by a challenge can be a valuable asset as your business continues to find its way.
Another key soft skill is resiliency. A candidate who can demonstrate the ability to bounce back after a setback shows a willingness to take on challenges and not be defeated by things that don’t go according to plan. Someone who can see the lessons to be learned from a failure and put what they have learned in place for the next iteration of a plan will be able to provide the continuity that teams need to move around obstacles but still toward their goal.
When beginning the search for your next hire, include questions that will give you some insight into each candidate’s adaptability and resilience. You might ask about times when they were asked to do something that was outside of their skill set or experience. How did they handle learning something new, reaching out to colleagues for help, and ramping up for the project? Ask them to share about a failed project, what they learned, and how they recovered.
Take an inventory of the hard skills needed to successfully fill the position. Consider which of those could be taught to someone with the right soft skills for moving into the uncertain future. Project where your company is headed, and how this new hire might fit into new and changing positions over time. The future of your company will be enhanced by gaining employees who are adaptable and resilient, as well as technically competent. You will have found the right candidate for your position.