HR professionals increasingly find applied skills lacking in candidates in the current job market.
Every company operates differently but many are beginning to see a common deficiency when hiring candidates. It matters little whether the hiring is done for a senior position or an unskilled post, the screening of candidates increasingly has a common focus. Employers search for candidates’ ability to work well with others, communicate and think clearly and deliver effectively. Unlike the belief in the past that the job was handled by the most qualified in terms of technical ability, the narrative has now changed. Applied skills are now a must. Whether it’s an internal interviewer or staffing agency, the truth is many organizations still struggle to fill positions.
A major reason is because they find that many candidates missing key applied skills.
This article shall be focusing on five major applied skills lacking in candidates that cause employers to have difficulty recruiting for their open slots.
1. Work ethic
A good work ethic is the backbone for successful companies and they encourage this trait for all positions. This explains how the candidate will handle the job and the environment under which they work. It translates how they will relate with colleagues handling the same roles. The focus of an organization is on productivity and stress-free working environment. A negative work ethic detracts from team accord. This results in low productivity, poor work attendance and a negative atmosphere.
There is no precise definition of “work ethic.” But it includes: honesty, punctuality, reliability, diligence, agreeableness, and ambition. In today’s social climate, creating a solid work ethic in those who lack it is quite difficult — and in some cases, impossible.
2. Critical thinking
Most employers seek candidates who will relate well and use their technical skill at work correctly. It shows how someone will respond to change and behave if their role requires more than they know. Critical thinking as a value starts with internal perspective. Hence one must be ready to observe and be self-disciplined. Training can teach critical thinking to candidates. Mentoring can support them to apply it in work situations. But, self-developed and directed critical thinking is always the best.
Just like the previous two skills, leadership applied skills are lacking. But, employers believe in getting candidates who have natural leadership qualities. Workers with leadership skills may easily pass positive traits to co-workers. They have a lead-by-example approach. Leadership talent helps them remain more focused. Informal leaders ‘own’ the organization vision and tend to work positively towards meeting it. They have the ability to lead without a work title. Companies encourage people like that because they make it easy to relate to Management’s goals and to achieve company objectives.
This is the spice that makes employees work together as a team and appreciate others’ efforts. Collaboration really contributes to the performance of an organization. Cooperation becomes easy for team members to share ideas and become more productive. This factor helps a company offset competition. Factors that will encourage teamwork are very critical and must be adopted by all employees – particularly new hires. This is true whether the team members are co-located or in different locations.
5. Written communications
Sharing information is important in any business not just oral but also written. Digital communication and file sharing has taken over communication in organizations. It now accounts for more than 60% of communication. This has made written communication a key factor in hiring. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the applied skills lacking in the workforce. That’s why employers will look first for a candidate who writes well. This will also contribute to smooth work flow since it limits unclear directions which can lead to costly errors.
Applied skills lacking in new hires
Leading firms have begun education and training to help close the gap on applied skills lacking in new hires. They also encourage current employees to improve these necessary applied skills. Efforts to build applied skills along with technical skills will help balance and create candidates the employers need today.
Training can improve these missing applied skills. This will enable an employee to learn the needed skills while they work. This will overlap with adapting to the company culture. Staff members may not consistently use some of these skills over time. So, an organization should set a stable training and learning program for both new and experienced employees to reinforce their skills.
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