In the past, I’ve written about the skills that every employee needs to possess. But what about abilities? Abilities are equally important. They are those qualities that we need in order to be skillful…and ultimately successful. Over the past year, I’ve heard some words come up frequently when it comes to the abilities that organizations are looking for in candidates and employees.
- Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily. Today’s business environment is very fast-paced. Companies want employees who are able to keep up with the pace. This is also particularly true when it comes to change. Employees that are longing for the “good old days” might find themselves left behind.
- Courage is the ability to do something that scares us. Never before has the business world been so accepting of making mistakes. Employees should be prepared to take educated risks and be held accountable for the outcomes. Courage also refers to standing up and speaking up when something isn’t right in the workplace.
- Curiosity is the desire to learn. Organizations are putting employees in charge of their own career development. That means employees need to be curious about learning. Companies want to know that employees will be curious and take the initiative to learn how to do something on their own.
- Resilience is the ability to recover from setbacks. This ties into courage. If you make a mistake, own up to it and move on. An increasing number of organizations are equating resilience with grit and perseverance – a sign that an employee will work hard to achieve their goals.
- Stress-awareness aligns with resilience. Employees today need to understand their stressors and not look for someone else to monitor them. Employees should be aware of what causes stress and what they need to do to alleviate stress. In addition, companies will be looking for employees to be proactive and maintain proper stress levels before things reach burnout levels.
- Technology enthusiast might be a term I made up, but it’s the ability to look for technology solutions – simple, scalable and effective solutions to problems. Yes, sometimes going old school makes a lot of sense. But companies today want employees to think in terms of current options (versus the way we’ve always done it.)
I see more organizations building into interviews some questions surrounding these abilities. They want to hear candidates tell stories about when they’ve used these abilities.
- What was the last major change you dealt with at work? And how did you handle it?
- Tell me about the last work task you completed that scared you a little.
- When was the last time you went to your boss and asked to learn something? How did you decide what you needed to learn?
- Tell me the last time you made a mistake at work. How did you handle it?
As the job market continues to get tougher, companies are going to consider candidates who might not have all of the qualifications for the position with the idea that they can help the new hire obtain the skills. But that is all predicated on the candidate having the right abilities.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby