In our current political moment, we’re sometimes asked to focus on a narrower geography and a world less beholden to technology. But that’s almost precisely the opposite of what we have been witnessing in the professional world.
In the executive search arena, we have instead seen the rise of remote employees who work from anywhere and the increasing globalization of work teams, at least since the Great Recession of a decade ago. And we have every reason to believe these trends will only accelerate in coming years.
As a firm, we have significant experience recruiting talent for virtual positions. In fact, we have two clients that are entirely virtual, with every member of the management team working from home.
Here’s What We’ve Learned
When hiring for this kind of senior position, the candidate skill sets one looks for tend to change a little. In an entirely virtual environment, efficient project management and subtle yet effective people-management skills are at an even higher premium than usual. We have to assess how a candidate would train and manage direct reports as well as facilitate their productivity in a home office setting, with everyone still meeting deadlines.
Part of this trend toward virtual positions is of course related to the increasing sophistication of technology that helps us to more seamlessly collaborate over distance. But some of this is also tied to the different lifestyles younger people, including millennials, demand.
For many younger people, a flexible work day isn’t merely a fringe benefit but a simple requirement. They work hard, but they also expect to be able to accommodate their personal lives around their jobs.
And since we are recruiting so-called “passive candidates,” people who are not actively looking for a job but who already have good jobs and healthy compensation packages, the challenge for our clients then becomes: what are you prepared to offer these candidates in the way of significant flexibility? Being able to work from home—or a coffeehouse or a gym—is an alluring attraction for many.
For employers, the benefits should be obvious: It allows companies to recruit the best talent available on the market, without worrying about where they are located or whether they will relocate. It opens huge new pools of potential talent for employers. And of course the options for job candidates also greatly expand.
Effects of Globalization
This development goes hand in hand with ever-increasing globalization. In many cases, internal work teams are spread not just across domestic time zones but multiple continents. That means the right hire must have greater cultural sensitivity and an ability to smoothly integrate with colleagues halfway around the world.
But how do those of us in executive talent search gauge these soft skills?
For many years, we have used behavioral-based questions to gather insights into their candidates’ soft skills and their professional DNA. We also include incorporate video interviews, which provides an additional layer of insight into how they present themselves and engage with others. All of that helps us assess a candidate’s cultural fit with the organization.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the right cultural fit and the proper alignment of core values between a candidate and a company. In a world that’s simultaneously converging and expanding, the technical skills required of a position—as important as those are—are often not the hardest component of the talent puzzle. The trickiest part is finding the right blend of soft skills, deft teamwork and comfort with constant change.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on virtual jobs, globalization or any other topic that’s on your mind. Email me at MicheleTorch@TorchGroup.com.
- Posted by Cassandra Greaves
- On May 7, 2019
- 0 Comments