Candidate lists should reflect the real world and its diversity. To help this, recruiting should focus on personalities and behaviours with future potential, alongside the technical skills you need today. This will create market flexibility, improve candidate mobility and help make workplaces more representative.  

From every 100 hires, 13 fail or leave in the trial period, leading to a total of 33 departing in the first year. Why is the attrition rate so high? There are many reasons, but a prime driver is the need to close the gap between the technical and the soft skills you need to succeed in the role. 

“Recruiting for the right soft skill is one of the biggest challenges companies are facing right now,” explains Grégory Renardy, Executive Director of Michael Page Belgium. “Although we don´t know what the world in the near future will look like, we will all have most certainly different jobs than we have now. Therefore, companies need candidates who have the ability to learn and to adjust to new situations- They are looking for flexible candidates, with an entrepreneurial mind set. But to find those candidates you´ll have to focus much more on their soft skills. At the moment, recruitment processes are mainly based on the hard skills of candidates.” 

Need for situational and emotional intelligence 

At the same companies, face difficulties in retaining their best employees. “To improve the retention rate, soft skills are a key requirement for team managers,” says Olivier Dufour, Executive Director of  Page Personnel Belgium. “They need to know how to create an environment where their team members can thrive, and feel fulfilled.” 

Recruiters and hiring managers will need to focus more on situational and emotional intelligence, on people who have high levels of learning quotient and critical thinking. There is a need to balance hard, technical skills with an adaptable, open personality that fits into your company strategy and culture. To assess these skills, education, location and experience offer little.  

The overarching question is: what skills will drive productivity and business forward? 

Key Insight: Recruiters and hiring managers need to focus on situational and emotional intelligence, on people who have high levels of learning quotient and critical thinking.

Today’s reality is not tomorrow’s 

Yesterday’s methodologies are no longer fit for purpose. Some corporations and SMEs are working towards new models, but most still use traditional methods that can accidentally lead to discriminatory biases.  

It is important to evaluate the work environment, the team and the open position to understand the behavioural skills required today and in the future, to protect against the placement failing in the first year. By better understanding all the skills needed for the open position, the list of candidates presented for the role can be wider and more diverse.  

“Team work is becoming more and more important, as projects are becoming more complicated and wider than ever before,” says Olivier Dufour. “Soft skills, project management, communication skills and presentation skills, are key to succeed in such an environment.” 
Behavioural skills will only grow in importance as more automation and AI enters the workplace. Machines will perform technical and routine tasks, requiring people to programme and monitor them, report on their work and improve human productivity. Adding to the complexity of recruiting is the fact that candidates with high potential do not need to compromise their desire for meaningful and purposeful work.  

Key Insight: By understanding the reality of the working environment in your company today you can tap into the promise and potential of the kind of candidates that can bring the skills you need tomorrow.

Focus on the future, not experience   

Candidates want to understand their mission and how it fits into the overall purpose of the company. Recruiters must reverse the prism of evaluating candidates to reflect this reality, with the support of HR and decision-makers in companies.  

The focus needs to be on potential and growth, not a narrow focus on experience and less valuable metrics, such as education and previous employment.  

Just as candidates want an open view into the company, to understand the what and the why behind their role, so employers need an open view on the productivity and potential the candidate brings. That way, your company can ensure the position you need filled remains so for the long-term, not temporarily.   


Key Insight: Recruiter and hiring manager focus needs to be on the potential a candidate brings with them, focusing on future growth and not on static experience from the past. 

How can you become more than a talent scout?  

Sourcing a candidate is one thing. Placing them into a role for the long-term is quite different and requires deep understanding of the team you are hiring for and the way they work.  

The integration, or onboarding, phase of recruitment is now more important than ever, specifically to avoid the placement failing because of a lack of cultural or skills fit. People often leave roles due to the way of working, the culture of an organisation or the misunderstood nature of the role itself, all of which stem from a lack of visibility during the hiring process.  

This highlights the gap that currently exists thanks to outdated methods of assessing candidate suitability through a narrow focus on technical skills. If personality and behavioural skills are only judged after placement, the likelihood of a lack of compatibility between employer and employee increases dramatically.  

Key Insight: People leave roles due to the way of working, the culture of the organisation, and the nature of the role itself, so with better visibility during the hiring process this can be avoided, helping you become a talent manager, not simply a talent finder.

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