What is the most marketable skill needed by future candidates?

Times they are certainly changing  and as an increasing number of our populations in developed economies are completing further education, only to become unemployed,  the cries from, and about, ” over/under-qualified ” candidates come  loudly from both sides of the hiring process. It’s hard to know what are our most marketable skill is.

This can cover:

  • too many/few  years of experience,
  • education levels above/below demanded level
  • too highly paid in current or previous job,  or simply unemployed

Both candidates and hiring managers are frequently guilty of wasting each other’s time. Candidates often apply for jobs sometimes in desperation, often times without any insightful or strategic thought, when their qualifications far exceed or fail to meet the demands made on the profile.

On the other hand organisations over- egg their job profile omelette assigning ludicrous qualifications and experience requirements to even low-level jobs.

Madeleine a research scientist  told me “ I recently passed through a hiring process down to the final short list. I was eventually rejected on the grounds that I had a Masters and an MBA and would get bored with the job.  My qualifications are clear on my resume.  Although no process is ever a complete waste of time I actually took 3 afternoons off work to attend the interviews with the executive search company and then twice with the employer. If every company did this job seekers would be trouble with their current employers”      

Alternatively, the concerns hiring managers have about placing candidates that are too highly qualified are in many instances valid. There could be repercussions for the team, the person could be onboarded and then leave because they lose interest or become disruptive or demotivated for the same reason

Do you struggle to identify the right candidates? Check out the executive search and research options?  

So with workplaces and technology changing at such a rapid pace and job functions disappearing or being re-engineered faster than we realise,  it is going to make the identification of the right calibre candidate hard to assess as transferable skills, training potential and cultural fit becoming increasingly important. By the same token it will also become increasingly challenging for candidates to know when they could the right fit for a particular job and  if they should submit an application.

Ideal marketable skill

In that case it will therefore be more helpful  for both parties to focus on requirements and qualities needed in the future:

  • Getting beyond job titles and focus on  skills and achievements
  • Examine team playing abilities and leadership experience
  • Look at personality, enthusiasm, learning styles and flexibility

If we are currently preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet then provided that basic skills are in place,  the most valuable and marketable skill candidates can have and need, will surely be the pace at which they can learn and adapt.

Add on other valuable soft skills which cement any career the lovely phrase “hire the will,  train the skill” will come into play.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “What is the most marketable skill needed by future candidates?

  1. meanderingmuser

    I have just started a new job and the speed at which I have had to learn the ropes has been key, mostly because after my first induction week (there were meant to be two), my manager went off on a planned remote work trip abroad and is out of contact. A large project hit its scheduled crescendo, two days after his departure.This is when I step in, and luckily I was able to play my role successfully and the result has been good so far. However, my anxiety and stress levels have been so high, as I have had no manager to turn to (it was his project), I don’t know many people in the organisation yet so I don’t know the hierarchy/politics, and I am only two weeks into the job now. The upshot is I now know I can do this job well, because I am a fast learner, but I have certainly not enjoyed the process, which is an unfortunate start to a new job that I was very excited about.

    1. Dorothy Dalton

      Danielle – yes I agree that’s a little faster than I had in mind. But I’m sure that there must have been real confidence in your ability to handle the situation on your own. Congratulations by the way. Perhaps worth raising with your boss on his return to have an effective onboarding process in place with a mentor in case he does it again.

  2. Kevin

    As the guy running a mid-sized medical device company, I’ve found that the most critical skill is the ability – and desire – to obtain, distill, implement, and teach new knowledge. I will no longer hire anyone, at any level, who doesn’t have a thirst for new knowledge in some way – and that often depends on the level of the job. I wrote about my observations here:


    1. Dorothy Dalton

      Hi Kevin – thanks for your comment. I agree the ability for learning quickly doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual has a thirst for knowledge and new skills – so important amplification!


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