The importance of soft skills is increasingly winning over recruiting teams, and companies more generally. Otherwise put: candidates who don’t have all the required technical (hard) skills may still be a good fit for the position. The key is to anticipate any training they may need to acquire the skills they may be lacking, after they’ve been recruited. This strategy allows you to dodge the labour shortage and at the same time improve your new hire’s experience, both during the application stage and once they join the company as an employee.
Prioritising potential and soft-skill qualities
As the recruiting world endeavours to navigate these tough times, companies are having to rethink their strategies to make sure they recruit worthy talent. It is often recommended that businesses focus on potential for performance instead of exclusively on already-acquired technical skills.
According to a 2022 survey by soft-skill training expert CSP Docendi, nearly all companies take soft skills into account in their recruiting strategy. And this is excellent news! But how many employers consider the possibility of completing these skills down the line with any missing hard skills?
Attractive soft-skill-rich profiles may require training
The world of work is undergoing some deep transformations, and businesses have a stake in training their teams in skills of the future and taking on new employees whom they can train quickly. After all, 85% of jobs in 2030 don’t currently exist (source: Pôle emploi, France’s governmental employment agency).
Training programmes that cater to high-learning-potential hires
There are training solutions out there that allow your candidates and/or employees to develop a variety of skills. This is often referred to as “reskilling” or “upskilling”.
Reskilling: Training provided immediately after hiring to compensate lacking hard skills
Reskilling can be a solution when you hire a candidate who doesn’t yet have 100% of the technical (hard) skills required for the vacancy. In such cases, recruiters base their decision on the person’s behavioural (soft) skills and their potential for development and learning. The candidate’s personality, motivation, and capacity to acquire new skills take precedence in recruiting decisions.
The company commits to training the employee to enable them to reach the level of technical skills required to succeed in the position they were hired for.
Reskilling is especially popular in the IT field where, in France, software development training sessions are provided by the company in partnership with Pôle emploi (through a programme called “Préparation Opérationnelle à l’Emploi Individuelle”, or POEI).
This approach to training is fully aligned with diversity and inclusion requirements in that the new recruits who receive training often come from all walks of life, mixing generations, qualification levels, interests, geographic location, etc.
Reskilling is especially popular in the context of professional reconversions, but also in the case of internal mobility within a company.
Upskilling: Training provided for continuous skill development
Upskilling strengthens existing skills, and can be prescribed for employees and candidates alike. For example, this can include training for sales reps on digital prospecting techniques in the aim of ensuring business sustainability. This type of training is essentially used to guarantee employability and equip employees to face ongoing shifts in the world of work: increased digitisation, remote working, etc.
Upskilling allows employees to evolve within the company and mitigate skills obsolescence. It is also a contributing factor for employee retention. From the company’s perspective, upskilling provides a way of remaining competitive on a tense labour market, where companies don’t necessarily win all the best talents.
“Cross-skilling” is also sometimes used to refer to training aimed at developing employees’ skills across different functions. In other words, cross-skilling increases employee versatility. For example: training a UX designer in web development to improve their cross-functional capabilities.
How can recruiters optimise the sourcing process in relation to these training-worthy candidates?
What are the best practices for finding the right candidate when the core elements to focus on are no longer qualifications and hard skills?
Sourcing optimisation is about finding profiles that meet your business needs. If these needs include soft skills such as critical thinking, learning potential, creativity, you’ll need to find a way of identifying them.
Expanding selection criteria for soft skill-centred recruiting processes
In order to succeed, recruiters will need to broaden their selection criteria. Sourcing based solely on a candidate’s level of qualification or the higher education establishment they attended is no longer an option. Profiles which may look perfect on paper won’t necessarily be the right fit for the company’s needs. So you’ll need to look at values, work ethic, behaviour, aptitudes, personality, etc.
So how do you do that in practice? Recruiters need to convene with teams seeking new colleagues in order to obtain a clear brief with a list of soft skills to assess. Recruiters can also suggest a scale for these skills, ranging from absolutely necessary, to preferable, to not mandatory.
Leveraging matching technology to identify candidates with reskilling potential
The first step in the process will be to identify the right profiles, even if their resumes don’t point to a perfect match. How can you recognise soft skills and anticipate reskilling needs? Matching could be an interesting path to go down.
Matching technology looks at the contents of a resume in terms of skills, experience, qualifications, but also whether it mentions any personality traits or particular soft skills. It helps select the most relevant profiles to move on to the next step – often an interview over the phone, via video, or in person.
All in all, matching aims to establish a level of compatibility ranging from 0% to 100%. The higher a profile scores, the better the candidate meets the selection criteria. Matching also has the power to push profiles which may not present a particular skill, but do have other skills which come close. So for all these reasons, matching can be a useful solution for identifying opportunities for reskilling and upskilling.
Capitalising on pre-recorded video recruiting for identifying soft skills and training opportunities
The 2022 survey by CSP-Docendi on soft skills mentioned previously found that 65% of recruiters assessed soft skills based on the candidate’s posture and body language during the interview phase.
With the screening phase now consisting mainly of assessing soft skills, calling every candidate in for an interview really isn’t a realistic option. Striking the right balance might mean resorting to video recruiting thanks to pre-recorded video interviews.
This solution presents numerous advantages for recruiters:
- It saves time: 4 minutes for a video interview versus 15 minutes on average for a phone interview.
- It places importance on motivation: only the most motivated candidates will apply.
- It supplements resume screening by providing a window to assess posture and soft skills.
The way it works in practice is that candidates film themselves answering questions which recruiters prepare in advance.
Pre-recorded video interviews provide an excellent opportunity for candidates to stand out by spotlighting their ability to learn new skills, sharing a relevant experience, and compensating any imperfections on their resume by demonstrating motivation and personality.
Pre-recorded video interviews optimise the candidate screening phase, allowing recruiters to plan their schedule more freely. And importantly, this method places more focus on candidate personality through non-verbal communication elements and posture. In short, pre-recorded video recruiting is the optimal solution for positioning soft skills at the heart of your recruiting process.