Embracing Adaptability: The Key to Thriving in a Shifting Job Market and Future Workplaces

embracing adaptability Photo: Adobe Stock

Embracing Adaptability: The Key to Thriving in a Shifting Job Market and Future Workplaces

Unveiling the Adaptability Quotient (AQ) in Hiring and Creating a Culture of Change

Many new graduates are in the job market today.  This column is helpful for new employees as well as companies looking for candidates that are worthy of hiring. If you can’t adapt, you don’t fit, so don’t waste your time applying.

The Rising Importance of Adaptability in Today’s Workplaces

Teachers today have the huge task of preparing students for the current and future workplace. Many of today’s schoolchildren will have jobs in the next few years that don’t yet exist according to history.  If teachers don’t yet know what these jobs will be, how can students prepare for them? I think the answer is, we really don’t know, so teachers must teach them to learn the skill of adaptability.

Workplaces want employees with an ability to learn and a level of comfort with change.  Skills today have a short shelf life, especially in technology roles. Therefore, people will need to be lifelong learners and adapt to change.

Assessing Adaptability: Enhancing the Hiring Process

Along these lines enters adaptability quotient, or AQ, the ability of individuals to adapt. In conjunction with the intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ), AQ has a place in hiring.

If you could incorporate AQ into the selection process of potential hires, it would improve the effectiveness of your staff.

How do you assess adaptability to impact your workforce?

Discussing adaptability by asking candidates about their past work history helps illustrate how they’ve been adaptable in previous positions.

Ask questions using practical scenarios and random exercises in the interviews. Get your hiring managers involved in the process with questions and observe how they answer the questions.  This style of questioning allows you to hear just how adaptable someone is.  Randomness is key to this process. Adaptability is the opposite of predictability, so random exercises can prevent people from preparing for the test up front.

Valid Assessments and Behavioral Interviews: Effective Tools

A combination of valid assessments and behavioral interviews are effective tools.

The hiring managers should understand the role for which they are hiring and what it requires; not all roles will need the people performing them to be adaptable. Use assessments tools that have proven research and validity in measuring certain attributes.

The Impact of Adaptive Leadership on Organizational Change

For leadership skills, behavioral based questions in the interviews help to assess adaptability.  Ask for specific situations in which the candidate faced a challenge, how they responded to it and the outcome. If they shifted and show resourcefulness, then there’s a good chance that they will do the same in the future. Most find that one of the best predictors of future behavior is their past behavior.

The ability for business leaders to adapt sets the tone for the company to change as the book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’, by Marshall Goldsmith explores for the reader.   Companies with agile leaders have more of an ability for their organization to adapt to market forces and ultimately perform better when they create a culture of change when the change is better.

Companies’ Need to Adapt: Onboarding and Hiring Practices

While individuals do need to adapt and learn new skills to remain marketable in the workforce, companies must also change.

With a tight labor market, companies often must reach new hires outside of their industry and thus change onboarding and hiring practices. Hiring managers need training on how to find these nontraditional candidates, and internal leaders must change their expectations of staff. Individuals from a variety of backgrounds might bring with them new ways of thinking that managers could find threatening or abrasive, especially in a company that resists change.

The Danger of Low Adaptability Quotients in Company Cultures

When companies have a culture that does not adapt, there exists the danger of hiring those who have low adaptability quotients and yes, they will fit that organization’s culture, but the organization may be dying a slow death.

If you are looking for a good assessment tool, I would be glad to share with you some that we feel are most effective for understanding a person’s adaptability quotient.

Onboarding sets the expectations up front for new hires. If you would like more info on successful onboarding, just ask for a free article and I will be glad to share it with you.

Embrace Adaptability for Success in a Dynamic Future Workforce


To learn more check about AQ out: 4 steps on Developing Your Adaptability Quotient.

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Travis Jones

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a well-known community servant and is dedicated to providing world-class service for everyone we encounter at Career Development Partners.

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