A good place to start rethinking the recruiting process is at the top of the funnel, by cutting requirements in job ads to what’s truly essential—tossing out education and experience nice-to-haves—and hiring for fit rather than technical mastery of the role.
Resumes, for example, won’t necessarily reveal a candidate’s creativity, willingness to work hard and love of learning, says Jennifer Carpenter, vice president of global talent acquisition at Delta Air Lines. “A candidate’s potential is far more relevant than any skill pedigree they may show up with.”
“Education and tenure requirements act as a proxy for skill,” says Nicole Smith, a research professor and chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington, D.C. “As we know, they are not the best proxy, and there’s a lot of mismatch.”
Tanya Axenson, global head of human resources for Allegis Group, recommended that HR identify the core competencies needed for any job. “The question is, how much of that must someone possess when they sit in the chair on day one versus how much can be trained or taught?” she asked. “With the way jobs are changing more quickly, we’re finding that more organizations are willing to hire for the core and make sure that the person has the necessary soft skills to navigate the workplace, and then train for the rest.”
Soft skills—agility, creativity, teamwork, ability to learn—will survive the automated future, Smith says. “The jobs that endure will be the types of jobs that are not easily automated, where human reasoning is required.”
Other strategies experts recommend:
Offering internship assignments and mentoring opportunities to high school students. “Getting in front of younger students is a creative way to influence people earlier on,” Axenson says. “There are careers and industries that kids may not even know exist.”
Recruiting outside the local labor market and in parts of the country where there’s a surplus of workers. “You’ve got to go where the talent is,” Axenson says. Increase flexibility and remote work options to attract those workers.