Hiring for Emerging Roles? Think Competencies Not Certifications

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There have always been emerging roles, at least for as long as times have changed. Problem is, times are changing faster now, and roles are branching out in so many different directions. The jobs of tomorrow may bear little resemblance to those of today. But while the decisions that recruiters make are of paramount importance to a company’s successful growth, recruiters are also faced with the unenviable task of filling positions that don’t yet exist.

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The secret formula to sourcing and hiring the right people for these roles is equal parts reality and foresight. Reality is what’s known, whether or not it’s obvious; how the job is defined at the most fundamental level. And foresight is understanding how a person’s competencies could merge to create a candidate who not only suits the job, but also fits well within the company.

What’s Up with the Push for Emerging Roles

If jobs and technology have always changed, why is there so much concern about emerging roles now? It’s not just that new jobs are opening up. It’s that these jobs are critical to a company’s success in an era that’s changing fast.

This isn’t like adding sales manager to your employee roster. It’s hiring for a job that doesn’t exist in a department that doesn’t exist, both of which will use technology that still in its developmental stage. There’s practically no way to know where to look first, at least not until you define the role.

Remember how social media seemed like just some new gadget, and then it took over the world? And remember how social media jobs seemed like unnecessary fluff, but now those people are transforming the way that the world communicates? Those were emerging roles, and recruiters likely had little clue how to fill them. Fortunately, you’ve got some of their experience behind you.

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Sweet success.

Start with the Right Recipe

You can’t know which ingredients to buy until you know what kind of cake you’re going to bake. In this case, the cake is the job. Different ingredients perform different functions in a recipe, and you need the right balance of all of them or else your cake will fall flat.

Define the job, and then you’ll know which employee ingredients, or competencies, you’ll need to fill it. This is where hiring for emerging roles must begin, says Matthew Kosinski for Recruiter.com. Which tasks will the new role carry out? Which technology will the employee use to complete those tasks? And then which competencies are required to make those things happen?

Instead of using generic terms, try to drill down more. Senior vice president at Caliper, Frank Costanzo, tells recruiter.com that too many recruiters use different language to define the same thing. Define the role, then zero in on the actual competencies (not descriptors like “innovative”) and you’ll find the real-world abilities that you’re looking for and the candidates who have them. Which qualities does an innovative person have? Those are her competencies, and that’s the information that you need.

Competencies work for emerging roles because they help you see past existing, and perhaps soon outdated, qualification descriptors. They show the bigger picture. That’s important now, and it’s also important for the future.

With a shift toward competency-based assessments, says Kosinski, your recruiting world can grow a lot bigger. This kind of information can help determine whether a candidate suits a job that doesn’t exist, and also whether existing employees would fit into another role in the future. More than that, it helps you source candidates in places and in ways that you hadn’t thought of.

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