Bermuda Works: Do you have the qualities of the ideal job candidate?
Bermuda's Great Recession is changing the economy and the way Bermuda works.
Gone are the days when almost anyone could get a job and a certain amount of education and hard work were virtually the only prerequisites to getting ahead.
The recession isn't the only cause – technology and globalization mean that many jobs that once had to be done in Bermuda, or close to the centre of a business's operations, can now be done almost anywhere.
Goodbye Hamilton, hello Halifax and Hyderabad.
This hasn't just affected the careers and industries that Bermudians can enter but their job expectations and the overall nature of work.
As a result people entering the workforce and hoping to stay in the workforce need a wider range of hard skills – from mastery of a range of computer programs to more and more technical qualifications – and soft skills (which may be more important) to survive and thrive.
A recent article on www.recruiter.com talked about “The eight qualities of the ideal 2013 job candidate”.
The article, by Kasim Lademiji, listed those qualities as:
Flexibility – the ability to adapt to temporary changes in work or strategy, making the organisation able to quickly respond to market forces.
Adaptability – “Adaptability is about being able to change and let go of an established way of working (forever) and to adjust to a new, often radically different way of working for the good of the business.”
Intercultural Adaptability – The ability to work and accept different cultures inside and outside the organisation.
Generational Flexibility – The ability to work with everyone from boomers to Generation Y-ers.
Early Adopting Technology Evaluator – This is fairly obvious. If you don't keep up with changing technology, expect to be left behind.
Collaborator/Team workers – Teamwork is in, silos are out.
Able to Spot an Opportunity/Customer Centric – More on this below.
Leadership Flexibility – One style does not fit all.
It's unlikely that any one employee or candidate for a job will have all of these qualities, but the person who has five or more should do well in the current economy.
Of the eight, adaptability and flexibility are near the top of the list. No employer has the time or money to argue whether a function falls within a particular job description and the people who are prepared to do what it takes to make a deal succeed, cement a sale or give above standard customer service are the people who will survive and thrive in an organization.
These are also the people who will keep their jobs when the pink slips start flying, as they will in almost any organization today.
More broadly, employees and companies have to be able to change their business plans and strategies quickly to adapt to changing times. The businesses that succeed in this survive, and the ones that cannot change disappear. IBM has changed its business plan at least three times and has thrived.
There are countless examples of this in Bermuda as well, although examples of companies that have failed to change and have died are more common than those that have adapted and flourished.
Having worked in customer service businesses all of my life, from mortgage banking to employment to retail, I think the most important characteristic of all is being “able to spot an opportunity/customer centric”.
Mr Lademiji writes: “This is especially important in small business (the engine of many economies), where workers need to wear multiple hats.
“There is no hiding place in small business; all employees must be able to engage with clients face to face or on the phone as they represent your brand and can win and lose business/clients from their behaviour or lack of appropriate behaviour when in contact with clients.
“Can you really afford to have an employee in a small firm who is unable to effectively relay a lead from a potential new client, or who cannot handle/escalate a client concern?”
All businesses in Bermuda are small by world standards. And every employee in a Bermuda business is likely to deal with customers at some point.
So why do so many people treat customers as an imposition or a distraction from supposedly more important tasks?
Customers are the business and the reason we are all employed.
If our customers are not satisified, we are failing as a business.
And most business opportunities will not and should not come from the CEO.
They should come from the people dealing with customers and clients who ask why the business does not offer a particular service or who says: “I wish there was a way you could do this.”
Employees who take up those ideas or say, “We could do this better this way” and push these ideas are the ones who will get ahead – and if their employers don't take up the idea, they're the entrepreneurs who get out there and do it themselves.
Dawn Zuill is the president of Bermuda Executive Services Ltd and Atlantic Caregiving Ltd and the owner of children's retail store Daisy & Mac.