The race for qualified talent is on. As your digital transformation journey continues, your new hires must have the skills necessary to integrate into a growing and changing organization. Tech giants with the resources to offer competitive salaries and hardy benefits packages make it more difficult for smaller organizations to recruit and retain excellent candidates.
Core technical competencies are necessary to ensure your candidates’ success, but be mindful that an aptitude for learning is equally important for employee growth. By focusing your hiring efforts on education and other soft skills (understanding employees can gain technical experiences on the job), you ensure that you are hiring malleable candidates with strong foundational skills.
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3 must-have digital transformation skills
Here are three skills required for successful digital transformation and how to hire for them:
Assessing critical thinking skills should be among the top priorities when hiring for a few reasons. Critical thinking is among the most sought-after candidate qualities but also one of the hardest to find. It is also cited as one of the most challenging skills to teach and cultivate within the workplace.
Industry-specific hard skills are teachable through training and onboarding programs, while critical thinking can take much longer to improve. Choose to prioritize critical thinking skills when evaluating potential candidates.
First-round interviews are an excellent opportunity to assess an applicant’s high-level thinking. To evaluate how your potential employee evaluates information, processes it, and provides meaningful, strategic solutions, ask multipart questions. For example, consider asking a candidate to identify who they consider the relevant stakeholders when working on a strategic project at their current job. Questions like these give insight into how a candidate thinks about a problem and whether or not they would be a good fit for your organization’s work environment.
Be open to a diverse set of applicants that may surprise you with the way they approach a challenge.
As you search for critical thinkers, look beyond traditional backgrounds or areas of study. Be open to a diverse set of applicants that may surprise you with the way they approach a challenge.
Highly adaptable candidates are valuable to organizations amidst a process change. Adaptability is vital as companies transition from remote to hybrid and in-person work – both for succeeding on a flexible team and for growing and expanding as roles evolve.
Here are three tips to screen applicants for adaptability:
- Ask the right interview questions. Questions that simultaneously assess how candidates have performed in previous roles while also prompting them to show some personality can help you thoughtfully evaluate if they are adaptable or not.
- Look for calmness and confidence during the interview. Candidates who have trouble collecting themselves under pressure likely won’t be the most adaptable in a high-stakes work environment.
- Set the right expectations for what the first months will look like in this role. The more you can prepare your applicants upfront, the better they will navigate the changes that come.
Teamwork, collaboration, and communication
As your organization grows, accountability is essential in taking responsibility for your actions (good and bad) and supporting your team members through adversity. Seek to hire team members who can be successful as team leaders and followers – working in whatever role advances the team’s goal most efficiently.
To gauge the collaborative skills of your potential new hires, take the time to speak with candidates’ references. Specifically, come with questions that go beyond the basics. Ask previous employers detailed questions like “How does candidate X respond to constructive criticism?” or “What is candidate X’s strongest attribute when it comes to working on a team?”
Finally, allowing potential candidates to meet with as many team members as possible can ensure that strong relationships begin to form even during the interview process. Your trusted team members may uncover red flags you hadn’t seen previously or help move the needle on a candidate about whom you were uncertain.
With open communication, you can build teams that will develop with your organization as it grows.
[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]