Design Thinking: The Most In-demand Skills in the Job Market
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Up until a decade or two ago, most companies took a standardised approach to hire talents. The HR department posted a detailed job analysis along with a list of skill sets required for the role. This was followed by a shortlisting of potential candidates based on their professional and personal backgrounds. And, the last step involved the extensive interview process which often went for over a month. Cut to 2019; the recruitment industry has undergone a massive transformation.
With the workforce becoming increasingly globalized, the hiring process, too, has changed drastically to meet the requirements of new generation jobs. These changing times mandate a shift in how companies hire and retain talents. In today’s increasingly digital era, hiring managers are looking beyond the academic qualifications of candidates. Despite the fuss over grades, good grades alone are not enough. There is an increasing emphasis on skills such as design thinking, problem-solving, adaptability and empathy – all of which are indispensable to current as well as future job roles.
Design Thinking and Problem-solving in Today’s Evolving Job Market
Whether a company requires a software developer or an interior designer, design thinking is identified as an essential skill irrespective of the job role. Wikipedia defines design thinking as the cognitive, strategic and practical processes by which design concepts (proposals for new products, buildings, machines, etc.) are developed by designers and/or design teams. However, it’s more than that. Design thinking is essentially a problem-solving method which follows a systematic approach. It is also referred to as a way to identify challenges, gather relevant information, come up with potential solutions, refine ideas and then test the solutions. The core concepts of design thinking include empathy, brainstorming, prototyping and storytelling.
When it comes to hiring, recruiters, therefore, seek someone who has the ability to take timely decisions and generate creative ideas to resolve existing and new issues at the workplace. This explains why leading companies are focussing more on interactive methods of discussion than the age-old interrogative rhetoric interview process. While the latter only explores a candidate’s technical skills, interactive discussions help the recruiter to have a deep understanding of his/her design thinking capacity.
How to Test a Candidate’s Design Thinking and Problem-solving Abilities
A candidate may have all the required skill sets but can still perform poorly in a job. This is because he/she may lack in design thinking, which is crucial for many job roles of today. Now, the question is – How can recruiters test a job applicant’s design thinking ability? A few organizations have already started exploring various ways to understand how an applicant uses his/her skills, experience and technical ability while finding realistic solutions to a particular problem. Specially curated tests, for example, can be used to effectively determine someone’s design thinking and problem-solving skills.
Design thinking is no longer just associated with the design world, as it can be strategically implemented across various industries to solve complex problems. Hence, hiring employees with design thinking and problem-solving skills is not an option for companies; it’s a necessity. However, the responsibility of recruiters extends beyond hiring. They must create an environment which promotes empathy, experimentation, open-mindedness and out-of-the-box thinking.