Different people thrive in different types of business models and work cultures. So, after the coronavirus pandemic forced some people completely outside of their work comfort zones, others found greater productivity and success in the new normal.
There is no end in sight for the pandemic, so, for many companies, that means they will continue operating under the work-from-home (WFH) model. And, for some businesses, remote work will continue into the foreseeable future. About 20 percent of respondents to a 451 Research survey say they’re planning on remote work through 2021 – and some are planning on using the WFH model even longer.
The WFH model presents businesses with new challenges, however. It’s more than getting the current workforce to adapt to these changes. It’s also filling open positions with the right people.
Simone Petrella, CEO of cybersecurity workforce development company CyberVista, points out that technology and cybersecurity businesses, in particular, will be faced with the task of hiring new personnel. The current demand for IT and security services to help businesses protect themselves from vulnerabilities created when their workforces shifted to the remote model may require some businesses to expand their workforces.
What to Look for in the Perfect Hire in 2021
Petrella says hiring managers at IT or cybersecurity businesses need to look for a balance between technical expertise and “soft skills.” Striking a balance between technical and non-technical skills will help employees work well with team members and, ultimately, perform most successfully.
“When it comes to the nuts and bolts of the execution of coding (and coding securely), then technical expertise can be disproportionately emphasized in those roles,” says Petrella. “But successful software development hinges on the ability to translate a vision and specifications by executing the technical coding required to make that a reality.”
She says there are four soft skills that technical businesses’ team members need to be successful as work from home –and certain change – continue:
- Critical Thinking: Petrella says one of the most consistent and requested soft skills, regardless of technical role, is critical thinking. The ability to identify a problem, draw on experience, and innovate new ideas to develop a potential solution.
- Interpersonal Communication: She says communication, whether through collaboration with others to accomplish a task or being able to articulate requirements, is vital in the current climate.
- Problem Solving: The perfect hire will also have strong analytic skills and an overall eagerness to learn and solve problems.
- Self-Motivation: With less oversight, a remote workforce needs to be self-motivated. Employees need to be able to juggle their responsibilities at home – which recently may be caring for children or other family members during shutdowns – with their work and ensure it’s done well and on time.
Petrella says if another economic shutdown and remote work become necessary, communication is the most important of these skills. “Given the additional barriers of remote work like time zones and technology delays, it’s easy to put blinders on and focus on just what’s in front of you,” she says. “So being able to reach across to different stakeholders, communicate needs, and work together despite being in different locations is key.”
The Best Way to Assess Candidates to Find the Perfect Hire
Understanding what the perfect hire looks like is only part of the solution – businesses also need to develop effective methods for identifying skills that will ensure successful performance.
Petrella says. “Here, the best approach is to take a page from the consulting companies’ playbooks. Pose problems or scenarios that require candidates to demonstrate how they would utilize soft skills – and make sure the scenarios you pose align with the skills you’re looking to evaluate.”
“When I interview and hire, I am often less interested in one particular answer and more focused on the way they would solve the problem or approach the scenario,” she says.
Just as work models, the way people work and the profile of the perfect hire have changed in response to the events of 2020, so will the way your business evaluates candidates. Ensure the next investment you make in onboarding and training will have the greatest return in an uncertain world.