You recently graduated. You’ve prepared your resume and sent it to various hiring managers. Your resume is great and the cover letter clearly states why you are the best candidate for the job. You get an interview call. You get there well-dressed and on-time. You make eye contact with your interviewer, communicate effectively, and answer most questions with confidence. You get hired. Why? Probably because you’ve displayed the skills the employer desired.
However, these skills do not come easy for many graduates, skills which they failed to learn in their probably very expensive education.
What skills are sought by the employers?
In a recent GMAT survey nearly 600 employers were asked about the skills they look for when hiring new business graduates. The following statement by a technical recruiter sums up the response, “Communications, teamwork, and interpersonal skills are critical—everything we do involves working with other people.”
The following prioritized set of skills and abilities are the most desirable:
- Working in a team
- Making decisions and solve problems (tie)
- Communicating verbally inside and outside an organization
- Planning, organizing and prioritizing work
- Retrieving and processing information
- Analyzing quantitative data
- Job specific technical knowledge
- Proficient with computer software programs
- Creating and/or editing written reports
- Persuading and influencing others
What makes it difficult for the employers to recruit talent?
According to a 2015 Talent Search global survey by recruiting firm ManpowerGroup, including 41,700 employers in 42 countries, one in three employers said that there just aren’t enough applicants. But other major reasons are related to the available applicant’s skills and abilities.
- For example, 34% of them said that the candidates lack the required technical competencies (industry-specific professional qualifications and industry-specific skilled trades’ certifications).
- In addition, 22% hiring managers cited that lack of experience is behind talent shortages and
- 17% report soft skills deficits (particularly lack of professionalism, enthusiasm, motivation and a learning mindset).
The single most critical factor in bridging the technical and soft skills gap is improving the quality of “hands-on” education. The students need more real life experiences, project based learning, internships, co-op programs. They will then get to confront, discuss, and solve real world issues/problems.
Business leaders must communicate what skills are desirable, offer tools and resources, and collaborate with educators/institutions to showcase and demonstrate the ‘teamwork and communication’ they expect of their potential new hires.