Much has already been said about the ‘digital skills shortage’, but I believe we should turn our attention to power skills. These qualities are vitally important across all aspects of the workplace, yet they have been neglected for far too long by recruiters.
According to Wiley Edge’s latest Diversity in Tech report, 45% of employers claimed entry-level talent lack the core technical skills needed for roles, despite the fact they held relevant degrees. But proficiency in certain software or an ability to code should not be the only metrics a candidate is measured on.
Human-centred qualities such as social and emotional intelligence, problem-solving, communication, leadership and work ethic can and should be measured as part of the recruitment process to give a holistic picture of what a potential employee will be like to work with.
Despite their immense value, power skills are often overlooked or dismissed simply as ‘soft skills’, but calling them such diminishes just how powerful they are. They are invaluable to the workplace and are often hard to find, with more than a quarter (26%) of businesses claiming that entry-level talent lacks them.
Power skills in the workplace
Technical skills can be taught and experience comes with time. But a positive attitude, organisational and communication skills, which are all vitally important in the workplace, can be moulded and teased out of people. These qualities can bridge the gap between a good employee and a great one.
No one who starts a job will know exactly how to fulfil every aspect of their new role straight from the start. But with the right attitude, willingness to learn and the ability to communicate clearly, those abundant with power skills are more likely to find their feet quickly.
Despite their immense value, power skills are often overlooked or dismissed simply as ‘soft skills’
Taking the initiative on projects, presenting clearly to colleagues and thriving as part of a team are all indicative of the strength of an employee’s power skills. Good leaders, critical thinkers and those who have an eye for enhancing productivity can be a huge help in the workplace. So how can recruiters go about spotting these power skills in potential hires?
The importance of the interview
Even if someone arrives with a technically perfect CV, the interview provides an opportunity to get a more well-rounded perspective of the candidate and what they can bring to the workplace. To do this, recruiters should be poised to assess a candidate’s power skills as well as their technical skills.
Scenario-based questions can be helpful in determining what power skills a candidate has. Getting them to give examples of a time they have shown leadership or worked well as part of a team can provide insight, while asking them about what they think their own power skills are can also be helpful.
A candidate who can build a rapport with their interviewer suggests they have strong communication skills, while demonstrating professionalism can show they are serious about the opportunity and will work hard if they receive a job offer. Being honest during an interview can also indicate that a candidate will take responsibility for their duties and be accountable.
Once a candidate’s power skills have been identified, employers can work to make sure the role suitably supports their strengths and enables them to thrive as best they can as part of the team.
How businesses can do their part
Businesses need to have a clear plan in place to bring new employees up to speed, and this may include training opportunities or explaining how new hires will be supported to gain the skills or qualifications needed to fill the gaps in their knowledge including both the technical and power skills needed.
The onboarding process must be thorough and get the best out of new hires, which in turn will ensure the ongoing success of the business’ workforce.