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Which shape of skills are you?

When we talk about skills we can categorize them in different shapes, by measuring two dimensions: breadth and depth. But what are we talking about specifically and why it is crucial to know about it, especially in recruiting situations?

Let's have a closer look at these shapes!

I-shaped people are usually known as specialists.

They have very specific knowledge in one area (we're talking about hard skills such as programming or using AutoCAD), but a lack of expertise when it comes to soft skills or other areas. Usually this type of people struggle when they are out of their area but can be essential in some organizations although not very valuable in professions requiring intensive cross-collaboration.

As you can imagine, T-shaped people have the deep knowledge of I-shaped but a breadth in other areas which allows them to intersect set of skills and create new ideas or find different solutions to a problem. The vertical line represents the depth of knowledge while the horizontal line is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. T-shaped people have become more valuable in teams as they can feel comfortable also when out of their special area.

When you add another area of specialization you get π-shaped people. They are basically the evolution of T-shaped, because their area of deep expertise has doubled while still maintaining the capacity to float in other aspects thanks to their soft skills: these could be flexibility and adaptability, critical thinking or information management, just to name a few.

To recap, this group will have a broad mastery of general management skills atop a few spikes of deep functional or domain expertise.

The famous X-factor, which is essentially what you need to become a leader: the ability to use deep expertise to lead others in accomplishing goals. As suggested by the shape, X-people could work less on their original expertise and evolve into a management position, where they deal more with strategies and people. Needless to say, these people have exceptional soft skills integrated with different knowledge.

Remember: different roles require different skills, so you don't necessarily have to become a X-shaped person if you're looking for a job where they're hiring I-shaped people. It's important to recognize who you are and who you want to be and work with that.

The same thing applies to recruiters: learn how to categorize potential employees by testing their skills. We can help you with this step by offering you an innovative tool when recruiting.

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