Building an Adaptable Workforce

  • Hire outside of STEM
  • Adaptability to change
  • What if...?

With a shortage of candidates for STEM roles how do you attract and hire the best talent available? Think about building an adaptable workforce…

Hire outside of STEM

Entrepreneur Eric Berridge makes a strong case for hiring outside STEM backgrounds after sending in a barman to speak to a client that his engineers were failing to please. Instead of diving deeper into the rabbit hole, Jeff the barman changed the conversation with the client, questioned the project and ultimately created a solution. As a consequence, and a lot of hard work, this computer consulting firm was the first to ever reach 10 billion dollars in annual sales. Although it’s not possible for every company to hire bar staff like Jeff to fix complex technical issues, the anecdote highlights that the importance of looking for bright sparks that can think outside the box – even if their CV doesn’t tick all the HR boxes.

Adaptability to change

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training’s current analysis of online job vacancies across the EU highlights workers’ adaptability to change as the skill most sought after by European employers. Workers that can adapt to any circumstances are valued more highly than any other skill. And is this a skill that you can find on a CV? Sadly not. It’s more important than ever to find a candidate that has the right mindset and chemistry that can make a significant impact on the business - so how can you do that?

What if…?

Venture Investor Natalie Fratto might have the answer. To test people’s adaptability in job interviews, Fratto asks ‘what if’ questions rather than asking for past examples of behaviour. By making potential employees look to the future she forces their brains to simulate and tests their resilience to change. Having a workforce that can bounce and roll with the punches can give the company the edge in our fast-paced moving world and that can hold more long-term weight.

So, step away from the ‘tell me a time when’ questions and prove your own adaptability by asking ‘what if…?’


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