Paolo Soro

Many UAE job applicants lack leadership, job-related skills

Every third candidate looking for a management level job lacks leadership skills.

You don’t get it. You’ve sent out dozens of CVs, updated your social media profile, got called for interviews and attended networking events. It’s been nearly a year since you started your job search, but you’re still not getting any offers.

What’s wrong? A recent study conducted among human resources (HR) directors in the UAE might give you just the explanation you need: you’re not the right fit for the roles you’ve applied for.

HR directors interviewed by Robert Half, a specialised recruitment consultancy, said every third candidate looking to work in management level position fails to demonstrate that they can effectively lead a team, while more than three in ten fall short on functional, job-related skills.

There are also quite a number of jobseekers, about 16 per cent, who lack communication skills and strategic planning expertise, while nine per cent don’t have project management capabilities.

Among those who apply for a staff level position, be it secretary, office assistant or receptionist, more than half (55 per cent) don’t have the required skills to successfully do the work. “[These applicants] are equally lacking one of their core competencies,” Robert Half said.

Other areas they fall short on are communication skills (20 per cent) and leadership skills (20 per cent).

With about nine in ten people in the Middle East now looking for a new job, there’s no doubt that competition among jobseekers is tough. The onus, therefore, is on applicants to stand out and show to hiring managers that they’re the perfect fit for the position.

To beat their competition, candidates must, among other things, invest in their CV and ensure they have the necessary professional experience. According to Robert Half’ study, an applicant’s CV and  experience are some of the most important factors impacting their hiring decisions.

How the applicant fares during an interview and a test also plays an important role, as well as the feedback gathered during reference checks and recommendations from their network.

When evaluating management level candidates, nearly half (48 per cent) of HR directors also said that technical skills carry a greater weight than soft, nontechnical expertise. About four in ten (44 per cent) said they feel the need to consider candidates’ technical and soft-skills equally.

For those looking to get hired for staff level roles, there is greater weight placed on non-technical skills, with nearly six in ten (59 per cent) of HR directors leaning towards applicants with technical skills.

Summing up the results of their study, Gareth El Mettouri, associate director at Robert Half UAE noted that when adding new workers, employers use different hiring criteria, depending on the level and seniority of the role.

“As you’d expect, functional, job-related skills are most important for staff level roles, whereas soft skills such as leadership and strategic planning become more important at the management level,” he said.

“For professionals looking to advance their careers, preparing a professional development plan that incorporates soft skills is essential.”

Source: Gulf News

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