What Employers Are Looking for When Hiring New Graduates?

What Employers Are Looking for When Hiring New Graduates?

With more students graduating every year, employers have a lot of choices when they are deciding which candidates to interview and hire. And as a fresh graduate, chances are you don't have that much to offer compared to experienced candidates. So what can you bring it to the table to make you stand out from the other candidates?


When considering candidates to interview, the first thing employers look at is whether the candidate has the right educational background (e.g., in IT, business, medicine, engineering, and so on). But oftentimes, research has found employers don’t care that much about candidates’ educational background but instead focus on the candidates’ skills. Here are the top five skills employers find most important:



1. Communication


The International Employer Barometer is an independent organization that provides insights from recruiters who hire fresh college graduates. Its annual survey found that good communication skills is the number one characteristic that recruiters look for. Employers want to hire applicants who can communicate well in a number of different situations, both verbally and in writing. Therefore, if you want a job, make sure that you speak clearly and confidently, and make sure you write in a clear, logical, and grammatically correct manner. If you just focused on studying in college, now is the time to focus on your speaking and writing skills.



2. Teamwork


Teamwork is the second most in-demand skills that employers are looking for. Regardless of your role, you need to be able to work well with others in a team. Therefore, employers want candidates with strong interpersonal skills, that is, candidates who are nice to talk with. Whom they would like to personally interact with every day, whom other employees in the company would also like interact with. Shy candidates, or candidates who are awkward in social interactions, have a tough time. So now is the time to improve your interpersonal skills to make sure that others like interacting with you.



3. Problem-solving


Employers don’t want to hire people who will bother others in the team to solve problems—they want employees who can creatively and independently solve problems themselves. Every job will present you with a large number of problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution without bothering others all the time. Employers will therefore use your application to assess how good you are problem-solving.



4. Time-management


Time-management is an essential characteristic that employers are looking for. When you manage your time well, research shows that it will allow you to have space to be more creative, proactive, and efficient, and to meet deadlines. Therefore, employers will use your application to assess how good you are time-management.



5. Initiative


Initiative means doing things that need to be done without being asked. Employers don’t want employees who only do something if they are told to do so. They want employees who will take the initiative to finish all that needs to be done in the workplace. Initiative can help employees make improvements to the way things are done in the workplace. Therefore, employers will use your application to assess how likely you are to take initiative in the workplace.


But how do employers know you have these sets of skills? Forbes says that you need to communicate your skills on your CV and during the job interview. Rather than making general claims about how good you are, describe specific, concrete instances in which you communicated well, successfully led a team, creatively solved a problem, managed your time well, and took initiative. Describe specific college activities that highlight these skills, write about your experiences when contributing to class projects, or your experience as a committee member and during volunteering. These specific examples will show that you have the required soft skills.


An employer research survey conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow says: "The sort of people that we're looking for are the people who will go out and find the opportunities. The opportunities are out there, it's just whether people can be bothered to go and do it". So if you are still a student, don't just focus on getting high grades, but be an active student in both on and off college activities. Engage in extracurricular activities, spend your semester break doing internships, or volunteering. And communicate all these well in your CV and job interview. Good luck!


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