one worker highlighted among many business peopleOur current climate is characterized by: radical change, new technologies, a multi-generational workplace, globalization and the rise of the BRIC economies, which have all led to extraordinary levels of competition in the consumer, commercial and candidate marketplace.

These forces are placing significant and varied demands on workers and professionals, and to thrive, survive, and deliver within the workplace, professionals must evolve and develop new skills and qualities. And taking into account the current climate, I have outlined what I believe to be the ideal candidate specification for 2013, which can help to produce candidates who perform and succeed in your business:

1. Flexibility: The ideal candidates will not be a ‘walkover’ (if you can walkover them, so can clients and suppliers), but will have a flexible outlook and be able to change their approach regularly and respond quickly to changes in your business or department strategy that are necessitated by an unpredictable internal and external environment. Flexible staff will make your organization agile and able to quickly respond to market forces.

2. Adaptability: This is different than flexibility where changes may be temporary or fluctuating. Adaptability is about being able change and let go of an established way of working (forever) and to adjust to a new, often radically different way of working for the good of the business. Adaptable people can let go of legacy systems and help your business move forward into the new age; rigid professionals may hold your business back in these circumstances. Seek out adaptability.

3. Intercultural Adaptability: A recent research report by Booz Allen Hamilton, Ipsos Public Affairs and the British Council shows that employers are now valuing inter-cultural skills as much as skills and experience. Fifty-eight percent of U.S. employers see inter-cultural skills as very important, and in the UK this figure is 70 percent. Inter-cultural adaptability means being able to understand and accept different cultural viewpoints and contexts, speaking foreign languages (ideally in international destinations of strategic concern to your firm), and being open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

4. Generational Flexibility: Even though Baby Boomers have just started retiring, we are working in a world with four generations (Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y) working alongside each other from an internal and external perspective. Workers who have the generational flexibility to be able to adapt their communication and collaboration style to suit different generations should be able to collaborate better and be more effective.

5. Early Adopting Technology Evaluator: There is no doubt that used well, new technologies can create efficiencies and open up new opportunities for your business. Employees who can spot new technologies as they hit the marketplace, evaluate their usefulness to your business and deploy those that promise to make most impact, can help give you first mover advantage over your competitors.

6. Collaborator/Team workers: While focused, committed and cohesive teams are in, Silos and isolated teams are out, big time. The efficiencies, mistakes and inappropriate end products that come from ‘siloed’ working can be ultimately damaging. Ideal candidates can form cohesive teams but can come together and work collaboratively across functions as part of the overall business team.

7. Able to Spot an Opportunity/Customer Centric: This is especially important in small business (the engine of many economies), where workers need to wear multiple hats. There is no hiding place in small business; all employees must be able to engage with clients face to face or on the phone as they represent your brand and can win and lose business/clients from their behavior or lack of appropriate behavior when in contact with clients. Can you really afford to have an employee in a small firm who is unable to effectively relay a lead from a potential new client, or who cannot handle/escalate a client concern?

8. Leadership Flexibility: HBR research tells us that the most effective leaders have a flexible leadership style and regularly deploy up to six different leadership approaches: Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative, Democtraic, Pacesetting and Coaching. The ideal leader will have the ability to deploy at least four of these styles on a regular basis.

Good luck in hiring top talent in 2013!



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