What Do Employers Really Want?
After spending more than 15 years as part of the dynamic world of recruiting, I have had the pleasure to meet many job-seekers. A large percentage of them were gainfully employed when I initially met them, some of them were between roles, and others were new to the workforce. Regardless of their employment status, a good number of these folks have imparted upon me some incredibly interesting career-related stories ranging from why they left their jobs, to disagreements between co-workers, to amusing anecdotes of inappropriate office-party antics, to the fortuitous meeting of their current spouses at work, to name just a few. I believe this is one of the reasons why I have always found this industry so appealing; it allows me the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the job market at a very human level.
In addition, candidates and employers regularly ask me questions relating to their job-searches and the job-market in general. One query that has been posed to me is: “What do employers really want when looking for a new employee?” Of course, this is a loaded question since very few employers want the same thing. Job responsibilities vary greatly and even roles with similar job titles may require vastly different skill-sets. So, at first glance, this question should likely not have a general answer.
However, a statistician may be able to arrive at a calculated response after carefully analyzing a cross-section of the population of employers within a specific job-type or industry. Although the results may be statistically accurate, this type of analysis would likely miss-the-mark because it would not take into account the human-factor inherent in the recruiting efforts for a full-time employee.
Based on my personal experiences, and the wealth of recruiting knowledge of my team members here at Recruiting in Motion, the answer to this question can be summed up quite nicely, as long as we understand that the question should be restated as “What attributes are most employers looking for in a new employee?”. By rewording the question, the answer focuses mostly on soft-skills and removes technical qualifications from the scenario.
So, without further ado, and based on many years of data that has been haphazardly compiled, here are the attributes most employers are looking for in a new employee, regardless of job-title or level of position:
- Intelligence / Problem-solving skills
- Leadership skills (even in a non-supervisory role)
- Honesty and respect for others
When attending an interview, I encourage all job-seekers to try and bring these positive attributes of their personality to the surface within the first 15 minutes of the interview. This will ensure that the prospective employer will recognize the value in the candidate. Of course, job-seekers must ALSO have the required skill-set, but the assumption is that once a candidate is selected for an interview, they have met the “qualifications requirement”, and from that point forward, it’s all about the fit!