Top Job Skills for 2016

SC&C Top skills in 2016Numerous surveys among C-suite executives have developed a rather broad consensus that new candidates are missing some essential skills for the future.

Fifty percent of executives who get promoted fail at the new job within 18 months—Pattie Sellers, Senior Editor-at-large, Fortune

Here are the top skills human resources and hiring managers are looking for in 2016.

Expected Skills

There is a certain justified expectation that you will have typical technical skills. You should be comfortable in the Windows® environment, understand Microsoft Office®, and e-mail and social media should not be a puzzle to you. Also, you should have a good understanding of software specifically related to your occupation.

There’s also an expectation that you’ll have some team-development skills and consequently project-management skills. They go hand in hand so don’t be afraid to mention some complimentary Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and previous successes that you’ve had.

Tell how you’ve guided your teams in the past; how you motivated them; and how you kept them on task. Don’t be afraid to tell them about how you’ve learned from failures. As the old expression goes, “Experience is a thing you get immediately after you need it.” Show that you can learn from your experience.


Candidates, especially young ones, need team skills. Modern society has taught us a number of things that are just plain wrong in the team-management environment.

Leaders need to realize that it is important to take charge of their team. Worry less about being inclusive and empowering your team members. Collect information, make decisions, and be a good leader—that makes you effective— and that engenders respect. Don’t be afraid to embrace your power. Show them that you are in charge.

Entrepreneurial Attitude

SC&C Entrepreneurial skillsIt doesn’t matter how big an organization one joins—an entrepreneurial attitude is still an important factor. Entrepreneurs use what we call 360º thinking. Basically it’s a strong ability to use pattern recognition to spot trends and then make the imaginative leap necessary to turn it into an opportunity for the company. If you’ve got that, you’ve got a step-up on competition. What strategies have you used to promote a company or service or product?

Asking simple but powerful questions can change the way a team operates; the way an advertisement reads; the way an audience reacts. Encourage your own team to ask meaningful questions, and you’ll get well-thought-out, effective, meaningful answers—Brian Crozier in Analysis + Strategy.

Intellectual Curiosity

The autodidactic, someone who teaches themselves, is a rare bird indeed, and a great find for an executive team.  This sort of person knows how to explore and seek out variety. A deficit of Intellectual Curiosity has been identified as significant in Senior Executives by Senior Executives. Desire and hunger for learning drive advancement. People who enjoy expanding their horizons are just generally better thinkers.

Analytical Skills

If you can demonstrate an ability to solve problems by incorporating different data sources and experience, you’re ahead of the game. Taking lessons learned from previous problem-solving sessions and overlaying it on the current problem to see if anything is applicable is a useful skill. What is happening globally that might affect a given company?

People who treat every new circumstance as a new problem create a lot of extra work for themselves. Consolidating knowledge can make you seem like a problem-solving magician.

Extracurricular ActivitiesSC&C Extracurricular Skills

If you happen to coach Little League or attend Night School, this would be a good thing to make known. It demonstrates time-management skills, which are highly sought after.

Interpersonal skills — Adaptability

Communication is a two-way street, but sometimes people forget this. As a leader it’s your responsibility to take charge. Conversely, don’t steamroll over anybody who has a different view. You will make the ultimate decision but gather as much intelligence as you can before you do so.

It is equally important though to learn body language. You will use it to interpret what coworkers, clients, or a competitor is thinking. This gives you more leverage when it comes time to negotiate.

Cultural Awareness allows you to see the world though other’s eyes. Grasping the differences between cultures allows you to become tolerant of ambiguity. It also garners you a lot more respect because you are seen as evenhanded and thoughtful.

Getting your foot in the door may be the easiest part. Remembering to elucidate about all the relevant skills that they want might take a bit of memory work, but it is well worth doing.

If you have to, get a small 3″ × 5″ card, and make a list of points you wish to make during the interview. Having a prompt card doesn’t make it look like you have a bad memory; it makes it look like you are well-organized and are sticking to an agenda.

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