By Dr. David Solot, Vice President of Client Services at Caliper
Here’s a simple fact that can't be argued with: Technological advances have changed the business landscape dramatically and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. With automation replacing so many task-oriented jobs, it’s no longer enough, from a hiring standpoint, to pursue applicants based on their technical qualifications.
Savvy recruiters are already moving away from the old keywords around task-related expertise and are instead seeking ways to identify what were once called “soft skills” or “people skills.” Of course, it's also not enough to write “must have people skills” in a job posting and then wait for a flood of top candidates. You have to know what people skills look like before you can spot them.
“Skills” in this context, refer to how well people react and respond to the stimuli around them. In the new age of task automation, that means we’re looking for employees who interact positively and constructively with their work environment, their responsibilities, and their stakeholders. So instead of using the word "skills" to describe an applicant’s relationship with these stimuli, it might be better to use "dynamics."
With that in mind, here are the three major dynamics to evaluate when hiring a new staff member:
1. Personality and Company Culture
By looking at a person’s motivations, interests, and behavioral tendencies relative to the environment, you can get a sense of how well a new hire will fit in with the corporate culture and where there may be friction. Assuming it’s not an altogether bad fit, such awareness can lead to the development of an onboarding plan that helps the employee assimilate to the prevailing environment and become a good citizen of the company as soon as possible.
2. Personality and Job Match
When you gain a deep understanding of your new hires’ natural tendencies and motivations, you will see which areas of the job may come easily and which might cause difficulty. Armed with this insight, hiring managers can customize a learning plan designed to augment each employee’s strengths and help compensate for limitations.
3. Personality and Team/Manager Fit
There are two important factors at play here: One, people are not hired in a vacuum (That is, their peers and their manager will have strengths, limitations, and behavioral tendencies as well.). Two, introducing new personalities always changes the team dynamic. By discovering the similarities and differences between the new hires, their managers, and their team members, it becomes possible to not only focus on developing personal success behaviors, but also to define team roles so that everyone is aligned for maximum performance.
To use this hiring approach effectively, it falls upon management and human resources leaders to explore, understand, and define their corporate culture, their existing staff dynamic, and the job itself. With that accomplished, you’ll be able to target your interview questions and even begin to hire more strategically in the automation age.
David Solot, Ph.D., is the vice president of client services at Caliper, a global employee-assessment and talent-development consulting firm based in Princeton, NJ.