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Digitally-ready candidates

Are you equipped to recruit digitally-ready candidates?

ISE blogs

 31 July 2018


“Graduates and apprentices now need ‘future-proof skills’ for the digital age”, says Lena Justenhoven, Senior Consultant at international talent measurement and assessment specialist cut-e.

‘Digital readiness’ is an ability to perform tasks, manage information, share knowledge and work with others in a digital context. To flourish in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment, employers need graduates and apprentices who have this capability. 

When there’s a global shortage of digital skills, how do you identify them?

As the essence of good recruitment is matching the person to the job, we need to look for individuals who are strong in the key competencies that will be required for success in tomorrow’s job roles. 

With evolving cognitive technology and the onset of artificial intelligence, it’s difficult to predict exactly what tomorrow’s tasks will involve. However, our research reveals that 11 competencies are likely to be required for digital working. Of these, three are crucial: Learnability (the desire to develop and improve), Agility (the capability to adapt quickly and effectively) and Curiosity (being open to change, and inquisitive and enthusiastic about new approaches and initiatives). 

If job candidates achieve a low score on these core competencies, they’re unlikely to have a preference to work through the means of technology. In other words, they won’t feel comfortable in a digital workplace.

Eight other competencies are important, which will vary according to the job:

Virtual collaboration: inspiring and interacting with others remotely, and working together towards common goals.
Drive to succeed: proactively taking initiative and following through to accomplish objectives.
Handling data: evaluating situations and analysing information to form data-driven decisions.
Business acumen: understanding the business and the needs of customers, and developing new opportunities.
Digital communication: communicating, influencing and maintaining a rapport with others via technology.
Mental endurance: resilience and the ability to cope with pressure and setbacks.
Strategic solutioning: solving problems creatively and balancing the needs of all stakeholders.
Coaching mindset: supporting the development of others and motivating them through feedback and encouragement.

Some of these may look familiar to those that are already in your competency framework. But remember these are digital competencies. There’s a considerable difference between the behaviours and attitudes that are required to, for example, ‘collaborate with others’ through technology, as opposed to doing it face-to-face. 

Conventional assessment processes do not easily measure these digital competencies. However, it is possible to assess for them using a modified personality questionnaire and a cognitive ‘executive attention’ ability test. This can reveal an individual’s proficiency in each competency as well as their overall strengths and areas for improvement.

The same assessments could also be used to assess the digital competencies of existing staff. This would help to put in place development interventions to address any competency gaps. With the right development, you could then build and cascade the necessary capabilities throughout your organisation. This will help your organisation to stay competitive in a digital world, no matter how technology changes or jobs evolve.

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