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In a World of AI, Being “Human” is Still Job Seekers Most Important Skill

Yes, the business world is obsessed with Artificial Intelligence, aka AI or commonly referred to as coding. Most business experts believe that coding is the must-have skill future jobseekers will look for.  It’s predicted that this skill is no longer just for tech employees at Google, Technology or IT companies, but that most programming vacancies are opening up in industries outside of technology like magazines, hospitals, retail, finance, as well as manufacturing, etc… 

The Mindspa Institute believes that soft skills will always form a huge and vital part of the skillset required to function optimally in the working world. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner agrees. He says hard skills like coding aren’t as important as they seem and even went so far as to say they might become obsolete. In an article written and published on businessinsider.com in June this year, he said that, “soft skills such as oral communication, team building, and leadership skills are more vital in the long-term.”

Technical skills to a degree are easier to learn and seen as more tangible. The reality is that good talent is hard to get because of a lack of soft skills, but recruiters can pick and choose from a list of equally hard skilled qualified candidates. So what do they do? Recruiters look at the package deal. More than ever they evaluate the applicant’s soft skills like emotional intelligence, teamwork, critical thinking, effective communication, problem-solving, leadership, decision-making, time management, flexibility and obviously an eagerness to learn. 

Even Brent Hailpern, head of computer science for IBM Research and IEEE Fellow, was quoted in another article as saying “Soft skills are clearly more valued now than they were, say, 15 years ago. The days of working on a research project in your office and throwing the result “over a wall’ are long gone.”

In LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report, they reported that “92% of talent professionals said soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. And 89% said that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack critical soft skills.”

This seems easier said than done, but how do recruiters know what to test for? 

  • The first step is to identify what is important in terms of the company values and then to think about what specific soft skills the ideal candidate will need to fit in.   
  • The second step is to set up a soft skills testing questionnaire bearing step 1 in mind. Standardise the questions across all interviews not only to be fair towards applicants but also to be able to compare apples with apples. 
  • Thirdly, streamline questions to prompt behavioural answers and note body language. Think about questions that will test:
    • Emotional Intelligence. Are they self-aware? Do they feel comfortable with their emotions and try lining up questions that will test their empathy.
    • Their willingness to further their learning by directing a question at personal growth, going the extra mile and ask them to motivate their answers with examples. 
    • Their management skills like how they manage time, stress, problem-solving, decision making etc. Give scenarios and listen to their responses carefully.
  • Fourthly, prompt their communication throughout the interview. Perhaps ask them how strongly they feel about a certain issue and then how they would handle difficult communication around it. 
  • Lastly, be attentive and try to see if they are authentic or superficial while being interviewed. If you are not convinced, keep pushing the ‘why?’ question. 

The greatest gap in the world is between “knowing” and “doing” so all The Mindspa Institute’s soft skills training workshops and interventions focus on bridging that gap through interacting with the business, its management and employees, enabling them to take the lessons and practically implement the changes in their work and personal lives. 

While Management Training remains a key focus, we offer a variety of different public training courses, in a variety of business fields, around the country. Our training material is carefully researched to ensure relevancy to the South African business world and is developed in-house. Therefore, we can customise training manuals to include your branding, mission vision and value statement – exclusive to in-house training. All facilitators are specialists in their particular fields and this gives them insight into the needs of the delegates as well as knowledge about actual trends in the market.