3 minute read

Seven future skills to look for when recruiting in 2019

Recruiting the right people is not just about existing skills and experience. To get the best for your business you need to look for people who are actively developing these seven skills, says Emma-Sue Prince, author of 7 Skills for the Future

Seven skills needed today

As an HR leader you already know that your organisation is only as good as the people you recruit. You’ll be used to looking for a variety of skills and competences outside the job description and a willingness to learn quickly.

It can be tricky though – most companies now are spoilt for choice and bombarded with people who have great CVs and LinkedIn profiles. People who undoubtedly have all the right skills in terms of your business or product come across well at interview and seem like the best people to take on.

But when it comes to performance, productivity and commitment you need to also find people who are actively developing and working on these seven skills:

  1. Adaptability – this is about being flexible and ok with uncertainty and change and someone who is not afraid to leave their comfort zone and try new things. If you don’t already do this at interview, surprise them with an unexpected task or problem to solve or ask them about the last time they failed at something or how they stretch their comfort zone. Their answers to these will tell you everything you need to know about how adaptable they are
  2. Critical thinking – rather than being about philosophising, what you are looking for here is the ability to question assumptions (both their own and others’) and to always ask lots of questions. You need fluid, creative and resourceful thinkers who can problem-solve and consistently work well with others
  3. Empathy – empathy is the key for successful, collaborative and effective professional relationships. You need people who can listen well, pay attention and focus. Even though we are all tied to our Smartphones, look at this behaviour in people a lot more closely, including yourself! If you’re unable to be present and in the moment then you’re equally unable to fully listen to others and be more reactive as a result. Those who cultivate empathy will own the world and their business will be supercharged with success
  4. Integrity – this is all about values and how we behave in practice regardless of what we might say or the veneer we present to the world online. Do we do what we say we would do, keep promises, even the smallest ones, are we committed and accountable? Trust is everything in business. If you don’t trust the people you are recruiting your business will fail – perhaps not initially but definitely once change, uncertainty or challenges hit. Does trust need to be earned? Probably, but test it out first by simply asking some questions about values, how they make decisions and to what extent they feel accountable for their actions and commitments
  5. Optimism – look for radiators and not drains. This is an easy one to spot because people so often bring their inner energy into the room with them. It can be quite tangible sometimes. We all know how it feels to be around someone with low energy – if that’s your feeling with someone, regardless of how great they may be on paper and regardless of what they say, don’t hire them! Trust your instinct here as it will probably be right
  6. Being proactive – you need employees and colleagues who are able to take the initiative and work autonomously. When things are changing so fast you need people who can spot opportunities that even you can’t and have the freedom and autonomy to act on them. This is also about proactively problem-solving and being solution seekers
  7. Resilience – a hot topic right now and a key skill you want in the people you take on. This is all about being able to bounce back fast from setbacks and rejection and to not be afraid to make mistakes.  Failing fast – getting out there and failing and then learning and bouncing back are key here. So why not ask them about the last time they failed at something?

Make 2019 the year you look for these skills and you’ll have the best year ever with the best people to nurture and grow your business

Emma-Sue Prince

Emma-Sue Prince is a soft skills and effective behaviours expert and author of 7 Skills for the Future, published on 22 January

Published 9 January 2019
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