For the recruiter of the past, the more specific someone’s skill set was, the better their job prospects would be. However, the rise of recruitment processes that value a broad range of skills is a trend that human resources industry insiders expect to develop further in the coming years.
With a wealth of information available for anyone to access, skills that used to be difficult to come by are becoming increasingly common. “Nowadays, people can develop new skills free of cost and easily acquire additional expertise for a range of jobs across all industries,” outlines Alejandro Ureña, Chief Innovation Officer, Evolutive Agency. This begs the question, how has skills-based recruitment evolved from traditional models?
Ricardo Rodríguez, Employee Experience & Talent Attraction Manager, Scania, set out his company’s innovative approach to recruitment: “We recruit people rather than abstract skill sets. When we talk about machines, we may say that they are well-suited for one task or another’, but that is not how we should treat people. Of course, Scania looks at kills and experience, but our recruitment model is also based on personality, assessing how an individual will fit within our organization and whether they share our values.” While it used to be a feather in your cap to have held down a job at one company for an extended period, Rodríguez notes that in today’s job market, employers value those candidates with diverse resumes and a wide range of experience in different industries and positions. “A Linkedin profile displaying a tally of diverse skills and varied experience is very attractive to us,” he emphasized.
El Palacio de Hierro’s Organizational Talent Director, Vanessa Escudero, concurred. She added that personality traits are becoming just as important as previous experience and qualifications. “We look for individuals with the required skills and knowledge but we also want someone who fits our company culture, which is not always an easy task. We want someone who not only possesses expertise but someone who is also engaging, shows a willingness to learn and adapt and displays the potential to flourish within our infrastructure,” summarized Escudero.
“The biggest challenge is finding the right cultural fit. It used to be companies recruited on technical skills and qualifications with attitudinal aspects an afterthought. However, we have turned this model on its head,” agreed Alejandro Hernández Dander, People and Performance Head, The Kraft Heinz Company. For Hernández, this approach goes even further. “Many employers are beginning to focus on what a candidate could become rather than what they have to offer currently. As the pandemic showed, people can adapt quickly and learn new skills with ease. Technical skills and competency can be taught, but one’s attitude, especially a willingness to learn and grow, is innate,” he said.
Fabiola Quiroz, Country HR Manager, Bosch, is of the same opinion. She argued this transformation has been decades in the making but gained more force in recent years. Quiroz promotes “robust” recruitment methods which favor quicker learning curves so less time and resources are invested in employee development and training. “We try to avoid having to fill a position right away and prefer a long-term vision to manage talent. Our hiring process is skills-based but with an emphasis on the future outcome rather than short-term fixes,” she said, pointing toward a recruitment model that Kraft Heinz shares. “We want to understand who the candidates really are, where their talents lie and how they fit in our company’s present and future goals," added Escudero.
Likewise, soft skills are held in higher regard than technical ones since these can be picked up and developed on the job while soft skills are more instinctive. “As more of the technical issues are carried out by AI, soft skills are proving to become more important, '' emphasized Quiroz. Soft skills are often universally useful and enable an employee to adapt to new roles and migrate to new positions within an industry.
The question, then, is how to identify these desirable profiles. Quiroz underlined the additional value in-person interviews contribute to the hiring process. “We take advantage of the digital world. As a recruitment tool, software is a great leveler. We use it to narrow down our list of candidates. However, once we have this shortlist, we use the interview process to separate the top candidates,” she said. However, after this list has been established, the approach changes: “We want to see how candidates demonstrate problem-solving skills and an ability to think quickly on the spot. We wish to find candidates who show traits such as leadership skills. And quite simply, some skills, such as fluency in a foreign language, can be discerned much more easily in an interview scenario.”
“The human factor simply cannot be substituted,” Hernández agreed. However, Rodríguez noted that the implementation of digital processes is imperative to speed up the application process, ensuring companies do not lose out on top candidates to their competitors. Quite simply, those who do not stay up to date with the latest software will fall behind.
Nevertheless, as Ureña pointed out, companies should not put too much emphasis on shared values, lest they lose out on much-needed diversity.. “If everyone is the same and shares the same values, aspirations and reasoning, we may risk closing the door to new ideas and innovative concepts,” said Ureña.