What skills should we look for when hiring in 2018?

Another year has begun, meaning the search for new talent and potential employees has commenced. The job market has never been easy, seeming more like gladiators in the Colosseum than bright-eyed talent looking for a new home. While there are no promises that the 2018 search will be any easier, there are certain ways for job seekers to increase their potential/worth: skills.

When it comes to the workplace, skills are the new currency. During evaluation, companies exchange, accept and judge potential employees based on what they have to offer the company. What they look for is usually a combination of cognitive, social, and technical skills.

Although these skill requirements are based mostly on the potential job, there are a number of skills that not only transition well but are necessary across the board.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the next decade is expected to surpass growth during the previous decade, creating 11.5 million jobs by 2026. These new types of jobs mean new potential and new expectations for workers at all levels. LinkedIn’s 2017 Emerging Jobs Report highlights which jobs and skills are on the rise and what this means for the future job market.

Whether it be soft skills or technical skills, it’s time to think about what talents and roles would help you accelerate your company’s growth. Here are some skills to look for in your 2018 candidates.

1. Adaptability

In large organizations, adaptability is a reasonable requirement. As a prospective employee, it is essential to show that you are capable of handling not only the responsibilities of your role but also any additional expectations that may grow over time.

While most companies have flat organization structures, employers are looking for people that understand basic business principles across these traditional boundaries. As we explored in a previous blog on organizational design, the future of business is based on a network of teams: greater collaboration between teams and individuals, rather than siloes of top-down departments.

With the gig economy and contracted workers on the rise, it is a necessity to choose workers who will be able to adapt and adjust to the expected pace. An adaptable employee can work well independently or as part of a team, proving their flexibility.

The ability to adapt in changing work conditions will become more prevalent as employees move around organizations more. Businesses will need to rely more on contractors to fill skills gaps and increase productivity within their company.

2. Social media literacy

What was once seen as an unnecessary distraction has now become a primarily used tool in the workplace. Social media is now one of the easier and often preferred ways to engage, inform and connect with employees.

Social media is changing the way that companies and individuals operate, making sites and apps like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram primary tools for marketing, internal communications and the like. Therefore, individuals showing hiring managers that they are acquainted with the basic functions of these tools can be crucial in making them more attractive candidates.

A study by Pew Research Center found that only 21% of all U.S. adults use Twitter, proving that many job seekers today are not capitalizing on the wide-reaching benefits that social media has to offer.

In almost every field, candidates that have developed strong online brands or otherwise demonstrated their proficiency with social media have a clear advantage over candidates that have limited experience.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Psychology Today defines Emotional Intelligence, or EI, as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.”

Human relationships hold massive importance in the workplace. The way you communicate with management, employees, etc. is essential to companies that are in the market for employees that can nurture relationships in the workplace and connect with others on an emotional and professional level.

With the talk of automation and bots on the horizon, it is even more important to hire talent that has a strong ability to regulate the emotions of others, especially when it comes to customer specific and service roles.

4. Culture Fit

The culture of the company is something that potentially gets overlooked during the hiring process. Hiring managers sometimes make rash decisions for fear of losing a candidate without the extensive analysis on whether that person is a good fit for the culture.

Failure to properly screen these candidates can be potentially damaging to the company. Hiring employees that don’t mesh well with the existing company culture leads to decreased job satisfaction, lowered productivity, and a higher rate of turnover.

On the other hand, hiring employees that fit well with your organizational culture can produce a higher rate of satisfaction in employees, greater job performance, and improve the employee experience.

High turnover is costly; the key is to ask the right questions. Asking candidates to describe their ideal company culture or asking to describe their previous company workplace environment will go a long way in making sure the culture fit is right.

5. Prioritization

As flexible and remote working becomes more of a commonality in the workplace, hiring managers will be on the lookout for organized and independent employees who can focus on the task at hand. A candidate that offers up this flexibility and focus can paint themselves as the perfect candidate for any organization.

Hiring managers look out for employees who increase their productivity and can inspire their co-workers to do the same. More demand is being placed on the modern workforce than ever before. Competition is high, and employees are expected to accomplish more tasks with fewer resources and less time.

Lack of prioritization manifests as an absence of time management, lowered efficiency and a failure to deliver projects on time. Hiring managers don’t want to feel like their chosen candidates can be easily replaced. A candidate that can deliver and knows the most effective ways to prioritize increases their value tenfold.

6. Resiliency

Often confused for problem-solving, resiliency is a skill that hiring managers look for regardless of the industry. New employees aren’t expected to do everything correctly from the first moment. Trial and error is a practice in many of the most successful organizations – some of the most prominent innovations have stemmed from mistakes.

While problem-solving focuses on your ability to find a solution to your problems, resiliency and grit allow individuals to bounce back from any setback with the same amount of enthusiasm that they entered with.

A recent Deloitte survey of over 7,500 Millennials found that two-thirds plan to leave their current employer by 2020. Showing the desire for quick gratification or undeserved praise only gives hiring managers the idea that the candidate will leave for greener pastures as soon as things get a little bit “difficult.”

Employers want to see that candidates can thrive in the midst of any situation. The stronger the resolve, the higher the chance an organization will be willing to invest in that candidate’s development and future.

7. Willingness to learn

Curiosity in the workplace is a skill that keeps on giving long term. Hiring managers are always looking for a way to future-proof their employees and what better way to do that than to hire candidates that are continually hungry for knowledge and growth.

In many fast-paced industries, employees without drive tend to fall through the cracks, becoming compliant. While compliance maintains productivity, the lack of enthusiasm can lead to long-term unhappiness and increased turnover. This is where curiosity and willingness to learn come into play.

Candidates that show a desire to continuously learn, exhibit adaptability, and are eager to grow with a company are exactly what hiring managers are looking for.

Employees that have this are more likely to see companies investing in them by providing access to continuous learning and taking note of their future within the organization.

Look beyond the resume

These skills and many other soft and technical skills can be translated across any role. If you are on the hunt for the perfect candidate, the process should begin by searching for these significant skills rather than the ideal resume.

The job market is constantly evolving, and while the best technical skills can be taught to the right individual, it is more challenging to teach core skills such as listening, flexibility and resolve. A person with any of these soft skills should be deemed as more valuable.

Taking the initiative to look past paper credentials and further evaluate the potential candidate will have a vast and lasting impact on your business.