The Philippines has a big job market that has a high potential for growth. While the economy is certainly feeling the effects of COVID-19 right now, recovery is around the corner. Meanwhile, there are many talented professionals on the lookout for work, which leaves companies in a good position to be in — with a lot of choice on who to hire to help them through recovery.

So the question becomes, what are some of the top skills to look out for in your next great hire? And how can you ensure you’re able to find those candidates out of the high volume of job applications received?

The top skills needed for recovery

Technical skills are simple to evaluate - a candidate either has the necessary skills, education and experience or not. So what are the skills that any employer in the Philippines should look out for that will bring that extra advantage? Seek out the following:

1. Leadership skills

While anyone can find themselves in a management position, not just anyone can become a true leader. Beyond simply managing groups of people, leadership skills are in high demand because they both set the tone for the overall organisation, and can be a key factor in whether or not you are a successful leader, and therefore a successful organisation.

The ability to inspire, encourage and develop team members is what true leadership is all about. Being able to do this virtually is another bonus as the COVID-19 situation continues in the Philippines and around the world.

2. Stakeholder management skills

Stakeholder management skills are centred around communication and being able to develop relationships. Look out for candidates who can communicate their ideas effectively and persuasively. This is necessary to get buy in from all levels of an organisation, and to get everyone on the same page.

3. Agility

Being agile is an essential skill, especially in today’s work environment. A professional who is agile knows how to deal with situations that change overnight, like shifting company priorities. Carla Lastimosa, Director of Michael Page Philippines, says this is one of the most important skills. “Agility is crucial, as the COVID-19 situation has shown us. Professionals have had to go from working in an office to working from home, in a completely different environment — overnight. As this volatile situation continues to evolve, a person who is agile will be a key asset to an ever-changing working environment.”

Related: 8 must-have qualities of an effective leader

4. Critical thinking abilities

The ability to think critically is the difference between a professional who can simply do the job at hand, and one who can innovate within a role. Professionals need to show that they know how to deal with complexity, uncertainty and situations in which the solution is not immediately obvious. The ability to analyse a situation from all sides, and come up with the solution is a key in-demand skill.

5. Stability and a proven track record

In a job market like Manila, you will find many professionals who are loyal to a company for many years, but you will also find professionals who change jobs often and quickly; in many cases, starting a project, but leaving before it comes to fruition. Because of this, one skill or characteristic in high demand is showing stability and measurable results in previous roles.

“There is a lot of movement within the job market in the Philippines - high turnover is something that many companies have to deal with. Because of this, when you have a candidate who has a track record of completed projects, showing a history of being able to follow through, this is a high indicator that they will be successful in roles in the future,” says Carla Lastimosa.

Finding the candidate with the right skills

Now that we have defined these skills, the question then becomes, how can you screen for these skills in the interview process? Here are a few tips.

Ask the right questions: Before any interview, come up with a list of questions that will draw out the really essential answers that you are looking for. Soft skills like those mentioned above can be harder to assess directly, so it’s important to ask creative, insightful questions that will elicit the right answers.

Get real-time examples of abilities and knowledge: When possible, include a test or some sort of evaluation of skills within the hiring process. Ask for a sample strategy document, a writing sample or a hypothetical action plan.

Focus on specific experiences or achievements: In the interview, after getting a summary of their experience, choose one or two experiences that stand out as interesting and relevant to the role they will be doing. Then ask specific questions about that particular experience or project, getting into details where more of their soft skills might be revealed.

Making the right hires now is as crucial as ever, as these are the professionals that will lead your organisation into recovery for the future. Find out more here about working with Michael Page for hiring needs in the Philippines.

Click here to download our Talent Trends 2021 report

Discover workplace focal points for the Philippines, and insights into the future workplace, and the latest trends in hiring, salaries and bonuses by downloading our Talent Trends 2021 report now. Report results are derived from over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees in the Asia Pacific.

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