By Dina Bayasanova, co-founder & CEO, PitchMe

The coronavirus pandemic has not only changed work as we know it — but also the job market itself.

Half of all UK workers say that the impact of the virus has resulted in significant changes to their careers. People are moving jobs, shifting careers, upskilling, reskilling and even changing industries altogether.

This influx of career-shifters means employers must take a more comprehensive look at candidates. Hard skills such as education, training and years of experience are all obviously important evaluation metrics.

However, they fail to put into view the true value of a candidate to your organisation.

It’s time employers gave more attention to soft skills such as adaptability, communication, and social and emotional intelligence.

Unfortunately, CVs tend to focus on hard skills only and too frequently lack the ability to encompass the full spectrum of skills that a candidate can bring to the table. According to our internal research, about 85% of skills potentially relevant to a role aren’t presented on CVs.

This means companies inadvertently miss some of the best candidates by being too quick to reject those who don’t tick the prescribed boxes.

When candidates are relegated to just their CV, it prevents them from showcasing the full spectrum of their relevant skills. There’s got to be a better way of gathering candidate insights beyond a piece of A4 paper.

Soft skills and career shifters

Many of today’s active job seekers are reskilling and shifting careers from badly hit sectors to more stable arenas. It benefits employers to not dismiss career shifters, even when their candidate pool is arguably bigger than ever. This is because career shifters have the potential to revitalise the company through new ideas, approaches, and solutions. This is diversity in action.

So, how can employers look beyond the CV to find the best candidates for the roles they’re looking to fill?

I suggest going beyond primary data sources such as the CV alone and turning to secondary sources that can bring to life and validate the primary sources. This sort of screening method also helps illuminate the candidate’s soft skills throughout the interview process.

Secondary sources will differ depending on the candidate. For example, a software developer can showcase their contributions to open source code, with comments from the community that validate their coding skills. Or a marketing candidate can include their blog with many engaged followers, offering objective proof that the candidate knows how to transmit ideas to audiences.

Because these sources are validated by other stakeholders in the field, they provide a better view into the candidate’s true aptitude and qualifications.

Employers can even get creative in their approach to supplementing the CV by asking candidates to share a one-minute video, write a paragraph about themselves, or demonstrate their problem-solving capabilities by preparing a “crisis” case study to show how they navigate their team out of a problem.

Such methods of validating hard skills and unearthing soft skills allow the employer to consider whether a candidate matches their company culture. We estimate that up to 30% of candidates drop out before the end of their trial period due to poor cultural fit. By bringing more attention to soft skills, employers can potentially minimise this costly attrition.

Moving towards a better way of hiring

Recruiters are realising that unconventional candidates can prove to be better hires because of the transferable soft skills they possess. Yet, their potential is often lost within the focus on hard skills, making career shifters more difficult to hire.

By going beyond the CV and implementing some of the more creative interview tactics described above, employers can identify more diverse talent, helping to drive the diversity & inclusion initiatives that are crucially important to businesses today.

Technical skills can always be taught, but evaluating a candidate’s full spectrum of skills can go a long way to furthering an organisation looking to disrupt markets and think differently in a post-pandemic economy. 2021 is the year to make hiring better and smarter by finding those who can add new value and grow harmoniously with your company and culture.