The uncertainties brought on to industries across the globe by the pandemic in 2020 have been manifold. For employees who have escaped the downsizing in their companies are finding themselves getting used to the new norm of remote working, virtual meetings, long hours, evolving company strategies, attempting to balance their professional and personal lives in the meanwhile. Employers, on the other hand, have had to struggle with devising new monitoring and evaluation processes, maintaining employee wellbeing, and gearing up for a future that will soon recover from the impact of the economic recession. For companies that are on the brink of stabilizing, on their immediate agenda is filling spots that have been vacated during the crisis. 

Recruitment

Given the current circumstances of social distancing, many tried and tested familiar methods, such as face-to-face interviews have become impossible, with an urgent need to be replaced with more innovative methods and engagement strategies. While inventing new methods of recruitment, it would be highly pertinent to begin relooking at the competencies employers need from their new talent, when recruiting during and after the pandemic.  

  • What skills should companies be looking for in the new talent they’re hiring? 
  • What are non-negotiables for new recruits, which would enable a smooth transition for both the organizational leaders and the employees?  
  • What can recruitment planning look like during and after the pandemic? 

The World Economic Forum in 2016 published a report titled, ‘The Future of Jobs’, where it preempted what skills and employability trends would be important in 2020. While the expectation for 2020 was the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the featured skills were thought to help prepare the workforce for developments in advanced robotics, autonomous transport, artificial intelligence, machine learning, biotechnology, and the like. Surprisingly, the list encompassed critical life skills such as people management, complex problem solving, coordinating with others, negotiation, judgment, and decision making, which would definitely have prepared the workforce for the unprecedented changes in the economy and workplaces. Critical Thinking and Emotional Intelligence could especially resonate with the circumstances and needs of life during and post the pandemic. 

Critical Thinking 

One of the key necessities required in a company recovering from setbacks like this economic recession is an employee that can think critically. Helen Lee Bouygues, founder of the Reboot Foundation explains how a lack of thinking critically from organizational leaders is responsible for many business failures. But what does critical thinking actually mean? Can you reflect on the given status quo, by analyzing it from multiple perspectives, while devising relevant solutions? Can you reimagine what has already been done, all the while recognizing potential risks and simultaneously figuring out ways to mitigate them? Does this enable you to make rapid decisions? All of these abilities empower you to become a critical thinker. 

When recruiting new talent, leaders need to begin to look for candidates who separate facts from opinions and assumptions. The Watson-Glaser Test used widely across the globe, measures levels of critical thinking ability, and is a good predictor of how an employee will perform in the roles defined in your company. What abilities does the test really measure in a candidate? 

  • Analysis, interpretation and drawing of logical conclusions from written information 
  • Recognition of assumption from facts 
  • Evaluation of arguments’ strengths 
  • Drawing of correct inferences 

Emotional Intelligence 

In times of uncertainty and chaos, having an acute understanding of emotional intelligence can help in identifying suitable candidates for your company. There is no dearth of candidates who have great skills and experience but they might lack in other spheres such as communication, collaboration and empathy. These are all equal determinants to success. By identifying the traits and characteristics of the candidates’ responses to work situations can help figure out whether or not they are a good fit. How well do they perform in high-pressure environments? Are they good team players? Do they demonstrate empathy to team members, during difficult situations? How do they work with different levels of seniority? When left unsupervised and working remotely, how do they perform? When faced with complaints or harsh feedback, how open are they to receiving it? 

Remote Readiness 

The era of digital technology is upon us and there’s no better time than the present for equipping your company with the right set of skills to be able to tap into what the situation demands. While recruiting in the times of a pandemic, a candidate who has a good WiFi connection, time tracking tools and other productivity apps could be exactly what you are looking for. Organisation leaders of global companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter have made the news for their decisions to extend remote working for the foreseeable future, which could be anywhere between a few months from now to the next one year. This is the future of employment for many organisations and employees. Finding candidates who are eager to be hired must now be equipped with a level of preparedness to work remotely, from their homes. They must have the resources and skills to perform at optimal levels while continuing to work this way. 

Joining an organisation, while working remotely can be challenging for any candidate so getting accustomed to the company’s strategy which encompasses the policy and rules on remote working, will be the first step. The more adaptive the candidate is, the better the engagement, responsibility, accountability and productivity. The candidate will need to possess a heightened level of communication skills and personal responsiveness. Reaching out proactively when in need of support and learning to work autonomously will come as a given to adapt quickly to new remote working conditions. Adhering to project timelines and goals will also need to be given importance, even though they are working remotely, with less supervision and monitoring from their reporting managers. 

Learning Agility 

In the uncertain times of a crisis, how many organisation leaders have the cognitive abilities required to deal with situations as they arise? These abilities mostly deal with mechanisms of learning, memory, problem-solving, paying attention to detail amongst other things. Using a highly trusted assessment that helps organisations measure the cognitive abilities required for performing in job roles and training courses will help prepare the organisation for any situation. The ability to think laterally, the agility shown in learning new concepts, quickly solving complex problems and tasks without drawing on prior knowledge are all skills that can help in finding a good recruit, which can be assessed using the RAVEN’s APM III. RAVEN’s APM III is one of the most proven predictors of performances in roles requiring these abilities and is available in 12-languages. 

Dr.Vishalli Dongrie who is the Partner and Head of the People & Change at KPMG talks about agility being the new world order, which will lead organisations towards success in the future. 

Job Fitness 

When considering multiple highly proficient candidatures for a particular role, it is immensely difficult to differentiate between them and select just one who will potentially be a perfect fit. Moreover, interviewing them virtually is an additional challenge. The Workplace Personality Inventory II assessment can be used to determine work styles requirements for a wide range of occupations, and then easily measure the candidates’ level of fitness for the job. This test will provide a development report which will help new hires with their own self-awareness and guide their direct managers to support them effectively, in their initial days on the job. By being able to assess skills which are more relevant to work, the chances of seeking out the right candidate is so much more fool-proof. 

Organisational leaders have to soon get aligned to the evolving world and embrace all available technological tools in their arsenal and work towards the future. Embracing psychological assessments will definitely be pivotal in recruiting the right candidate who is a perfect fit for companies, with the right amount of critical thinking, emotional intelligence and cognitive agility.