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Top skills to look out for when hiring in 2021

25 Jan 2021 | Lesson Desk Team2 min read

As we all know, 2020 has completely transformed the working landscape for its successor, 2021. Among other things, we have seen a vast number of organisations embrace the remote work model as their new normal, whereas other organisations rely on a hybrid workforce, combining on-site and remote working. With companies adapting to the current environment and finding new, interesting and online-centric ways of improving business, they also need to look out for key skills in candidates that were not sought after before things shifted.

So, what skills should you look out for when hiring in 2021?

Time management

Today's new working world requires you to trust that your employees can stay on task and on target without anyone having to look over their shoulder. But the problem is that most employees feel as if there is never enough time in a day to accomplish what is planned. This could be due to heavier workloads or an increase in meetings, but without proper time management, employees might not be able to successfully manage additional stressors when the going gets tough.

This is why, now more than ever, seeking candidates that are able to manage their time effectively is a crucial skill needed to cultivate progressive teams. New hires who can manage their time well will also show to be more productive, more efficient, and more likely to help in meeting departmental- and organisational objectives.

Critical thinking

While for some, this may come naturally, for many individuals, thinking critically and making important decisions can be burdensome. Candidates that possess the ability to effectively analyse, conceptualise and interpret information can be considered as go-getters and problem-solvers – especially in remote working positions. This key skill also shows that they are able to engage in independent thinking and are willing to take calculated risks – an extremely valuable attribute for the organisation when it comes to facing future challenges.

Active collaboration

Although many might feel a bit isolated when having to take on a fully remote job, remote working does not at all mean flying completely solo. On the contrary, our current working environment has forced the emergence of the need for people to be collaborative. Collaboration takes place when more than two co-workers or a team are able to work together towards achieving a common goal through a culture of idea- and skill-sharing. However, active collaboration takes more conscious effort now than ever before. Candidates that are able to fully embrace collaboration and implement it into their day-to-day activities will show you that they are able to work towards a common goal, supporting workplace and team efficiency.

Emotional intelligence

Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and clear communication skills are the key fundamentals that make up emotional intelligence. Finding candidates that are emotionally intelligent means that they are able to understand, use and manage their emotions in a healthy way to communicate effectively, empathise with co-workers and clients as well as overcome workplace and personal challenges or conflicts.

Hiring people that can embrace the nuances of human emotion in both their personal lives and the workplace, can benefit teams by boosting performance and productivity through functioning in a more positive and happier environment.


Because 2021 is the year of change and growth, having employees that possess creativity, resilience and flexibility when needing to find solutions and new ideas, can be exceptionally beneficial for your organisation.

But unfortunately, not all solutions and ideas are necessarily "the one". However, candidates that show signs of resilience and are able to rebound from a setback with new and improved ideas can be an incredible asset to any organisation.


One skill that isn't always thought of as a must-have and quite underrated in the workplace is curiosity.

Think about it; you would much rather hire someone who is continuously excited to learn, motivated, and eager to build and hone new skills than someone who lacks the drive for knowledge and the desire to grow. Curiosity will nurture innovative, independent and rational thinkers. Having someone with this skill in any team will benefit the organisation indefinitely, as these types of candidates have a better chance at prolonged success. Team leads will also be more inclined to build trusting and collaborative relationships with those who show interest in wanting to learn more.

The more multi-faceted candidates you can hire who have acquired all or most of these top skills, the better! For assistance on how to effectively evaluate candidates' cognitive traits and aptitude, contact Lesson Desk at learn@lessondesk.com or visit our website to learn why our digital screening solutions are the perfect addition to your hiring process.