Psychologists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have found that telecommuting reduces the importance of social skills at work. The findings of the scientists’ study were published in The Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.
During the pandemic, almost all businesses switched to remote work. Some companies still practice this format, which has affected the hiring of employees. Previously, companies favored candidates with highly developed social skills (sociality, courtesy, and friendliness), but now they lean towards professional competencies (intelligence, ambition, and craftsmanship).
The authors of the work conducted two experiments. In the first, the researchers asked 304 people to review resumes of candidates for telecommuting and office work. The results showed that, in general, participants were more likely to recommend a candidate with high competence for remote work more often than a candidate with developed social skills.
In the second study, the researchers conducted a field experiment with recruiters as participants. About 300 recruiters read the job description and were asked to choose one of two submitted candidates. If the vacancy involved working in an office, then recruiters chose people with social skills. If the format was remote, then with a high level of competence.
The overall results show that telecommuting can change companies’ requirements for the skills and characteristics of their employees.