Looking for employees with specific skills but having trouble finding qualified candidates?
Maybe you’re putting too much emphasis on hard skills, which can be taught, rather than soft ones like creativity, empathy and leadership.
“When filling a position that requires in-demand, specialized skills, you need to balance a candidate’s aptitude and practical skill set with their cultural fit at your company,” according to business writer Nicole Fallon. “It’s often difficult to find the ‘perfect’ candidate who checks both boxes, but if you focus on soft skills and a growth mindset, you’ll likely find an excellent new hire who can do the job well.”
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Following are some takeaways from Nicole Fallon’s article, “Experiencing a Hiring Skills Gap? How to Find Qualified Employees,” which appears in the US Chamber of Commerce publication CO.
- Consider honing skills down the road. “Look at which skills are truly a prerequisite before a candidate starts and which ones can be honed after they are hired,” writes Fallon. “Even if candidates don’t have the exact skills your job requires, you can still find qualified employees who demonstrate an aptitude for learning and growth.”
- Design your interviewing process to identify soft skills. Choose candidates who will fit in well with your firm culture.
- Seek out a willingness to learn. “Hiring for flexibility and adaptability allows for growth and innovation within the role and the organization as a whole,” according to Fallon. And remember, it goes both ways: be willing to be actively invested in your employees’ career development.
- Tap into overlooked talent pools. “Sometimes they are hard to find due to economic or technological inequalities,” according to Fallon and CO. “In other cases, certain types of candidates won’t apply for jobs they don’t believe they’re qualified for. Work with recruiters to cast a wide net to find as much diverse talent as possible. This includes overlooked groups such as older workers, veterans, talent from outside your local geographic region and candidates with disabilities. Companies can also partner with academic institutions and training programs to find fresh talent.”
- Build a culture of “intrapreneurship.” According to Fallon: “As a leader, it’s essential to create a culture that encourages innovation and education so that there is continual growth, both for the employee and the company overall.”
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