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How the ‘perfect’ job candidate has changed

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How the ‘perfect’ job candidate has changed

The pandemic also changed realities in the hiring pool, as many workers had reduced opportunities for professional development. In this way, de-emphasising hard skills on job ads “is opening up the options for those job seekers who might not, for example, have had the opportunity to attend or complete a four-year degree”, adds Han.

Some job ads are even indicating that job-listing requirements themselves are a formality, by adding notes encouraging candidates that don’t meet the all-stated criteria to apply regardless. This can provide an opportunity for candidates who don’t feel that they are traditionally perfect on paper to put themselves in the running.

However, amid this upside, Tegze advises candidates to be aware that this doesn’t open up the field as broadly as it may seem. He believes this strategy also works to a company’s advantage in a tight labour market, as such notes draw attention and encourage applications. In this way, he says, “companies can get lots of job-seekers into their database while, in reality, they can still be looking for one specific type of person with specific skill set”.

Han says that while many job listings today are encouraging applicants of different backgrounds to apply and de-emphasising hard skills, many also do still value highly specific technical abilities. Ultimately, there will still be candidates that are more ideal than others. And Tegze notes that many of these new ‘check-lists’ will include both soft skills and hard skills, as many companies are unprepared to train new hires on the latter.

But ultimately, he continues, the definition of an ‘ideal’ candidate is broader than it’s ever been. “I really don’t care about a candidate’s schooling or past companies. I care if they have the right skills that the company needs, and the right mentality, meaning the right fit for the company culture.”

Han also welcomes the more balanced approach, as it encourages workplace diversity and, he says, “leads to higher-functioning teams”.  “So,” says Han, “I celebrate this evolution.”

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