In a perfect world, we’d gently glide from one gig to the next with dignity and skill sets intact. In the sometimes dog-eat-dog world of job hunting though, you have to create a version of yourself that both highlights your skills and jumps off the screen at recruiters. These are some of the skills recruiters will be actively seeking in potential candidates in the year ahead:
1. Where you are coming from
An emerging trend is recruiting from very specific backgrounds. Shift concentrates on military transitions, and CEO Mike Slagh says that military personnel can help “launch technology-focused careers through predictive job matching technology and immersive fellowship programs.” To that end, when placing a veteran, they look at “hard skills, soft skills, preferences and culture,” and consider “these characteristics more relevant than ever before.” Someone with a background in the military might be able to fit into a rigid corporate structure that might be too tight of a fit for someone else.
2. A balance of hard and soft skills
You’re a tech genius and extremely science savvy — yay, you! But, you can’t meet people’s eyes during conversation and tend to mumble during presentations – big boo. Or the flip side, you’re a smooth talker and can engage anyone in conversation, but you need constant hand-holding when it comes to figuring out how to create a PowerPoint.
Regardless of the industry, “It’s no secret that hiring managers are increasingly looking for technology-, analytics-, and computer science-savvy professionals,” said Don Bossi, president of STEM education nonprofit FIRST, who works with companies including Boeing, NASA and Lego. That said, “So-called ‘soft skills’ are also critically important, and include teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, and communication skills,” according to Bossi.
3. The best fit for the job (over the long haul)
Sometimes it’s not enough for you to think you’re the perfect candidate for any gig, if you don’t meet some unseen or unknown criteria they’ll probably go with someone else. “Quality recruiting is not just about finding the person with the best skill set, but also about finding the best fit for the job and company from a work culture perspective” according to Laura Platt, Director of Human Resources for Spreadshirt, a global e-commerce company.
It isn’t always just the skills though, “It’s important to determine the kinds of personalities that will get along with one another,” according to Platt, “and we aim to find applicants who will encourage teamwork and contribute to a collaborative environment.” And one more thing: “It is imperative to look for the necessary applicant skills that will be needed not just for today, but also for the future.”
4. Listen up
Sometimes very specific soft skills will be the ones that set you apart. You may be so busy talking about yourself that you miss the fact that some recruiters want to see just how well you can listen. How great are you at communicating your needs? How well do you manage a team?
“As someone who has hired hundreds of people over the past 38 years, I have always screened for communication skills, especially listening and verbal skills,” stressed Brad Neuenhaus, Chief Business Officer of MindEdge. Neuenhaus also listed critical thinking and business process improvement skills as being crucial for new hires.
5. They’ll search in unexpected places
Not all recruiters go through mountains of resumes or LinkedIn profiles — some look for hidden clues instead as Laura Hanson, CHRO of Sphera explained: “What’s important in the search is knowing who your company is and what behaviors make people successful at the company.” Hanson said she finds success in hiring for tech “by looking in non-traditional places for candidates with the right soft skills.” She notes that “veterans, working mothers and recent graduates have fantastic skills and behaviors and can be brought up to speed on the tech.”
6. If you match your message to the medium
With apologies to Marshall McLuhan, recruiters will be looking to see if you can find a way to communicate in an effective manner no matter the method of communication. With text-initial interviewing on the rise (that’s an entirely different article) prospects have to learn to be succinct by “sharing clear and tight responses,” according to Aman Brar, CEO of text-based startup Canvas. “There’s no reason to be verbose when interviewing in person and the same is true for screening over text.” Save long answers for follow up interviews and keep things pithy and informational to start.