As we come upon a new decade, we constantly hear more discussions surrounding how AI and technology will affect every business, institution, organization, the education system, as well as the workplace and how we interact.
When we contemplate how robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) can impact our lives, many people seem to view this new era with both curiosity as well as fear, especially in the workplace. These two reactions come from different viewpoints: curiosity is tied to how AI can make our lives easier and less stressful, and the fear surrounding AI refers to the role of AI and how robots may take over jobs.
The concern of job loss can lead to a life lacking in purpose, innovation and the human need to connect.
These conversations are happening all over the Internet, in coffee shops, restaurants and dinner tables. If you have a child about to embark on college, right now is probably one of the most difficult times to choose a major or career path. Also, due to advances in technology, everything we know can rapidly change in a day. We don’t know what tomorrow may look like as we move into this new decade. In the coming years, for example, many futurists say we will need to zone in on skills such as the following:
- Compassion and empathy
- Innovation and ideas
- Critical thinking
- High level of emotional intelligence
Although there are more skills to add to this list, for this piece, I’m focusing on these six areas.
In my quest for answers regarding business and education, I asked a group of people from different industries the following question: How do you think one will be able to notice, identify or measure these types of skills in an interview or two?
From my personal observation, I believe many of these skills also come from our personality traits, environment, and our life experience.
During my quest for answers, below are some interesting responses from executives and entrepreneurs who shared their thoughts on this topic.
Note: This article has been edited and condensed for reading purposes.
Heather Younger —“From the second I met the candidate, I always looked for emotional intelligence, the ability to problem-solve, and creativity. I observe their behavior. How are they treating the front desk staff? Are they aware of where they are in the room? Do they listen to understand when one of my team members is talking? Am I answering their questions? Are they locking eyes when talking and listening? Can they recall a time when they had to overcome a customer concern or issue? What is their energy around that description, and how did they solve it? I think there are a lot of ways to interview, but the person interviewing should also have those skills too.”
Adam Lofquist —“First, a company needs to be clear on which of these skills are the highest two to three priorities for their business. That way, they can focus in on what matters most to them. Second, employers should ask situational questions, where someone explains how they’ve used creativity, compassion or problem-solving. Third, they should pay attention to the process they enacted and their thought-process. This response will give employers helpful insight into how they think and not just what they do. It is easy to say you are a problem-solver, but only real problem-solvers can walk you through the overall strategy.”
Lindy Lamielle — “Scenario-based interview techniques would be the simplest form, but I actually like the idea of non-standard interviews, which can occur outside the office space. Get people in their normal, everyday environment and ask curious questions. Then following the interview, allow the candidate an opportunity to debrief, learn why they chose the answer they did, and see if they would consider a different answer or approach to thinking and problem-solving. This provides an opportunity for direct observation of self-awareness, EI, critical thinking, and creativity. Group interviews could be another option for the same observations. I would also consider background and skills of the person conducting the interview as a key factor to consider when making hiring decisions. Often, the notion of ‘it takes one to know one’ can apply, and significantly help or hinder the process if the individual does not possess strong traits, such as the ones you mentioned.”
Nick Reynolds —“In an interview, I believe it is vital to start by just having a conversation with the potential employee. Ask questions that reveal him or her as a person little by little. I treat interviews like the 1-on-1 meetings with the teams I work with today. Bring up some of the challenges that are present right now in your teams and see how they respond. This way you can help to get a sense of how comfortable they are on the spot. Talking to them about their hobbies and how they tackle their day to day helps to understand how their mind works a bit. How engaged they are at opening up to the conversation helps to see how quickly they can adapt to the situation and their comfort level with new people.”
Valissa (Spencer) Kelly — These traits are more natural for some and evolve through experiences. How can we notice, identify, or measure these skills? Ask questions that enable a candidate to speak to these traits and note how the candidate speaks to them. How did they approach a problem, project, or opportunity? What were some challenges, and how did they overcome them? How did they handle objections to an idea they felt strongly about? Share a time when an employee or customer was dissatisfied. What was the outcome?
Measuring is complicated even with open-ended questions. However, specific themes may emerge over time as employers recruit new hires and connect their success level in the role. It would be necessary for interviewers to know what they are looking for in each category.”
Marietta Gentles Crawford —“The fact that creativity is at the top of the list doesn’t surprise me. It comes down to being able to paint a picture of your unique strengths so vividly that it shows in every answer you give. This is the reason why having a strong personal brand is essential. Once you know what makes you stand out, your interview approach is going to be different. You’ll focus on using stories to demonstrate your skills rather than the same buzzwords another candidate may use. You know the right way to connect your message with results and use the right words to paint a picture of your skills that can’t be measured by years or skills on paper.”
Lucy Schalkwijk —“I think employers should start making better use of potential employees’ digital footprint. Their activity on social media can tell you a lot about their creativity, compassion, and ideas. It can even give you a glimpse of their emotional intelligence. If they lack self-awareness and social awareness here, why would it be better in person?
Problem-solving and critical thinking are skills that are often assessed during assessments using case studies, group work, and presentations. Emotional intelligence can also be evaluated using psychological tests. One crucial aspect you can quickly test is the potential employees’ growth mindset, which will be critical for workers to adapt to new circumstances and learn new skills rapidly.”
Jacqui Genow—“I do a lot of interviews in my branding and strategy work. The best insights I gain come from simply listening. It may sound cliché, but open-ended questions provide insights far beyond the questions that interviewers typically ask potential employees. Direct questions tend to get direct and short answers. It’s when we allow others to talk that we can find out so much about how they think, how they draw connections between things, and how ideas formulate.”
Carla Taylor — “I’ve been speaking on this topic for a while now – I run a Future of Work series for many corporate groups, and this is a hot topic. We will need to focus more and more on these higher levels of thinking as more of the routine work or straightforward pattern analysis goes to AI. And, just like with things like personal computers, these are all tools. They will still require a human brain for interpretation and implementation, especially across a team of people. Companies are starting to try to find ways to test these skills, and some have extensively online applications with problem-solving questions.”
Eric Mochnacz — “Past behavior is the best predictor for future behavior. My recommendation would be to formulate behavioral interview questions that allow employers to ascertain these skills.
For example, they can ask questions such as:
- Tell me about a time you thought outside the box to find a solution?
- Can you talk about a time you supported someone on your team?
- Can you tell us about a time you fixed a process that just didn’t work?”
Skills Begin at School or Home
Gerard Corbett —“Every one of these skills or traits can and should be taught beginning in childhood, and that is how we have tried to raise our children. It continues in elementary school and carries right through high school and college. The more you learn, the stronger these skills and traits become part of you.”
April P — “For me personally, I extend trust until you show me differently. I have to be careful of stereotypes and bias as well. We often draw assumptions about others based on past experiences, culture, and environment. To honestly know, ask the difficult questions that fear keeps us from asking. The only way to recognize or get to know someone is to ask. As for understanding myself, I’m human. I make mistakes, I’m a work in process, and I’m always growing and learning. Not perfect, but I know who I am. I give myself a lot of credit for that because this world is tough.
Josh Steimle — “It reminds me of how in Olivia Fox Cabane’s book, The Myth of Charisma, she says that a lot of what we call ‘charisma’ are techniques that come naturally to people whose parents practiced them. For example, if your parents maintained a lot of eye contact with you as a child, it’s normal for you to do the same, and people who maintain better eye contact tend to be rated as more charismatic. I think the same often goes for empathy, emotional intelligence and the other skills. This is part of the reason why I’m so pro-parents working from home, and a bit against traditional schools because schools simply aren’t set up to teach these skills like parents can.”
Angelica Vega — “A lot of primary educational systems are beginning to experiment with teaching philosophy to children. Taking philosophy classes at a younger age may allow students to start developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills early. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching high school students how to construct ethical arguments to work through real-life dilemmas. They are quickly learning how to develop meaningful questions to ask, and have started thinking outside the box to form solutions to them. In a professional setting, their ability to ask questions and generate interesting viewpoints can put them at a considerable advantage. These skills are going to be super valuable for them in the future, and the sooner they can start honing them, the better.”
Lynda Spiegel — “Don’t throw around a bunch of skills-related keywords without any context. One strategy I use in writing resumés is to tell a bullet-length story that demonstrates a skill such as creativity or curiosity.”
Source: Forbes – Entrepreneurs