The infamous COVID-19 pandemic has changed gears of the world and made us sitting ducks in our own homes. Normal day-to-day activities from grocery shopping and office going to movie viewing and vacation trips have changed; most of them perhaps irrevocably. Those entering the workforce now are looking for new and stable job opportunities in this time of uncertainty. In fact in the post-pandemic world, job hunting and recruitment activities have become especially aggressive due to the unpredictability of the impending future and the workforce crunch simultaneously which makes it harder for a job seeker to understand what skills recruiters look for in an ideal candidate.

Recent studies suggest that around 50-60% of the workforce of the world is sitting at home attempting to forget the old ways of working while trying to gauge the job market where the demand for highly skilled workers who are experts in working digitally has increased sharply.

It is, therefore, critical to understanding what the skills recruiters look for in this pandemic-scathed world and what types of skills can make sure you’re able to wade through these uncertain times with stable employment.

1. Learn, Unlearn, Relearn

The fast-paced digital world of the 21st century demands an ability to constantly update your skillset as fast as Moore’s Law dictates. Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Automation are no longer just a part of science fiction but have started becoming a part of our daily lives.

The current pandemic situation has further accelerated this need for willingness to constantly learn, adapt and upgrade every 3-6 months. Companies today are looking for people who are not only comfortable with the current tools and technologies but can also rapidly evolve themselves as new and improved practices emerge.

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2. Positive Energy

As they say, tough times don’t last but tough men do! Never have recruiters laid more emphasis on the softer side of a person than today. Terms like ‘Emotional Quotient’ or ‘Culture’ have gained significant importance in the corporate dictionary. Basically, companies have realized how important it is to recruit someone who has a positive outlook, good work ethics, empathy, and self-motivation.

Recruiters are very mindful of who they let into their organization as one bad fish can harm many good ones too. With increasing competition and market pressure, the ability to deal with stress and deliver on timelines is also important. As VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) is the new normal in any business, and companies will need employees with agility to deal with it. Who has the time or mind space to deal with cry-babies or humiliators?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wisely says that he looks for two simple but powerful things in new hires: “clarity and energy” and these are called Nadella’s Necessities.

3. Cross-functional Abilities

Recruiters love those who can don many hats together! Many of the latest technologies and best practices have only been around for less than a decade. Hence for junior and mid-level vacancies, recruiters are not so much looking for extensive experience in them, as much as they are looking for the ability to cross-function around them.

Consider this – Big data analytics is a hot-selling field today that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with. Professionals from varied streams like engineering, statistics, mathematics, management, etc. are acquiring this cross-functional ability to be able to bring the best of both worlds together.

4. Effective Communication

Communication and interpersonal skills have been some of the most underrated yet most important things that recruiters have an eye for. Many companies are now switching to permanent work from home models, with top companies such as TCS and Microsoft planning to allow 50-75% of their employees to work from home by 2025. This would mean the need for more effective communication as peers may no longer share the same physical environment to communicate.

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5. Global Exposure

It is no secret that the world is becoming an open global market steadily. Companies are outsourcing their operational requirements or entering new geographies with their physical (physical + digital) models. This raises a need to possess talent that has some global exposure to be able to deal with all foreign stakeholders effectively.

For instance, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are a set of accounting rules for the financial statements of public companies that are intended to make them consistent, transparent, and easily comparable around the world. Companies recruiting for any finance function would definitely want to onboard professionals with relevant qualifications like ACCA, CFA, or Diploma in IFRS.

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