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Hiring for the Long View—Re-skilling for the Future

The future workplace requires a different set of skills and method of recruiting. Are you ready?

Because of the technological talent shortage, present-day IT recruiting is reactive. While longer term planning is taking place, fast talent acquisitions drive the posting of the next job description. IT or project management talent is usually needed yesterday, but what about the talent you might need tomorrow? A responsive recruiting process is needed.

The future according to the World Economic Forum

Each January, the World Economic Forum (WEF) meets for five days at a Swiss mountain resort. The Forum is composed of thousands of business, political, and economic leaders. Tackling different topics each year, the ambitious motto of the WEF is, “Committed to improving the state of the world.”

In early 2016, the WEF topic was the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the event produced a job report that provides a framework for the near future. Visionary, but practical, the research report spells out the sectors and skills that will diminish—and grow—in importance in the next three to five years.

Companies looking further than the next year for their development needs must future-proof the recruiting process. While hiring may always be driven by the present state, the future state is fast approaching.

Consider these points about creating a responsive, future-aware recruiting process:

The WEF states, “five years from now, over one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed.”

The disruptive technological change that is pushing the next Industrial Revolution is also driving the development of adaptive skills. In 2015, among the top five core skills required in the workplace were complex problem solving, coordinating with others, people management, critical thinking, and negotiation. In just five years, by 2020, the top five core skills are projected to be complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, and coordinating with others. Emerging core skills include emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility.

Within any field, it is possible to recruit for adaptivity in addition to skills and experience. Taking into account globalization, and the difficulty of hiring for emerging needs, a Harvard Business Review piece recommends hiring for potential, not necessarily current high performance.

While top talent may have extensive experience and capability, watch for applicants with characteristics such as curiosity, teamwork, dedication to a larger ideal or idea, and aggressive pursuit of goals. Technology skills grow stale within about two years, these qualities, like curiosity and dedication, fuel rapid learning and the acquisition of new ideas and skills. While you may recruit for an expert in a particular programming language today, you may need a candidate tomorrow with a broad background and demonstrated ability to learn new skills.

Start planning for tomorrow, today

Develop your workforce for future goals. Consider these points:

Look ahead: Work with top management to envision your brand in three and five years. Develop goals and chart an organizational path forward with appropriate personnel.
Look within: Assess the capabilities and aspirations of your current workforce. Initiate career development and position succession plans. Define individual and team skill and interest areas, and create plans for the diversification of skills where appropriate.
Refine recruiting: Work with stakeholders like HR, hiring managers, and recruiters to refine overall recruiting methods to attract candidates who meet current needs but also display capabilities that could fulfill future goals.

As you react to current hiring needs, keep in mind responsive recruiting for the future. When you are looking for experienced guidance creating teams and establishing organizational goals, contact us at The Hunt Group, we can help.

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