17 answers

What are the most important skills for your employees to possess?

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What do you value most in terms of skills when looking for a new hire? Do you want a person with a ton of experience in a specific area, or do you consider a person who has experience in something for a fairly long period of time, even if it is not specially what you are looking for as valuable? #job #college #career #interview #hiringprocess #skills #value #experience

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17 answers

Denise’s Answer

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Very good question, being an assistant manager in retail at one time and hiring people for my over night crew it is beneficial if there is some previous experience or at least willing to be trained. One thing I always looked for when I was hiring someone was if I felt they would be dependable. Making sure you come to work on your scheduled shift and being on time is definitely a major piece to the puzzle because not only do I as a manager depend on you but also your co workers and most of all in my experience the customer depends upon you to be there to assist them.
I also look for positive and engaging individuals who are willing to work as a team and also independently, strive for excellence is a motto that I taught my associates .
In closing my suggestion to you would be as a college entry student don't be afraid to get involved and show people you are not afraid to work. Take the initiative to go after something if you want it , it will not come to you. Attend job fairs there are a lot of different things online that you can research indeed.com is a huge website with tools for job search and resumes. Hope this helps and best of luck in the future.
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Jennifer’s Answer

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Great question! I imagine the answer is it depends on the position. Generally speaking, my approach has been that if I've even called you to discuss bringing you in for an interview, I've already assessed that you have the bare minimum skills needed for the job... and some of what I'm looking for isn't even job specific. Can I count on you? Are you dependable? Are you trainable? During an interview, I'm looking to see whether I WANT to work with you. Are you personable? Do you have a good sense of humor? Can you handle things when life gets tough? I can teach you whatever it is I need you to know for a specific position. I can't teach you to be dependable, to have good character, to relate well with the people around you. Does that help?

Best to you.
Thank you for your advice. I love this perspective, and feel like it is something to definitely keep in mind when walking into an interview. Gabrielle B. Translate
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Todd’s Answer

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It would be great to learn about the topic of Emotional Intelligence. There are a variety of "soft skills" that fall under the topic of Emotional Intelligence - like self-awareness, self-control, active listening, empathy, etc. There is a wealth of information on-line and a great book is "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman. Research has shown that Emotional Intelligence (referred to as EI or EQ) skills are a MUCH bigger contributor to success in the workplace than simply Intelligence (or IQ) - by 60-80% according to some studies - and it includes impacting your ability to get promotions, influence other people, have successful relationships, and generate win-win results --- no matter what career you choose. : )
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Henry’s Answer

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Hi this is a great question! I have managed mostly sales people and teams. Based on my experience, I look for a positive and engaging person that can communicate effectively, demonstrated strong collaboration with others, and someone that is willing to learn. If someone is willing to learn I would pick that over experience at times. Attitude is everything in a work environment, having individuals that provide a positive culture at work really impacts everyone's morale, engagement, and culture.
Thanks for your advice. I know that the attitude of those around you tend to be contagious, and that attitude is definitely an important factor when considering who you want to work with day in and day out. Gabrielle B. Translate
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Rama’s Answer

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Thank you for a great question. There are both experience based skills and soft or behavioral skills we look for when hiring for a position. Based on the role there is some expectation of specific skills related experience, leadership skills and a great team player. Every role calls for a good blend of skills based and soft skills based experience that does great justice for the role. Hope this helps answer your question. Wish you the best!
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Kristian’s Answer

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Hi Gabrielle. - Thank you for your question. When looking for a new hire, I value compassion, integrity and understanding. I want to know that the person I am selecting for my organization is going to showcase the great things we do.
Thanks for your input! Gabrielle B. Translate
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Kim’s Answer

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Gabrielle,

Since you are asking about skills, rather than personality traits, let me address this head-on. I do not recall who did the research, so pardon me for not giving proper credit. The research said that us women tend not to apply for jobs unless me match the job description perfectly. Men will apply if they meet 60% of the requirements. I have observed women talking themselves out of applying over one tiny routine duty that they did not know how to do (empty the paper shredder, or something. . . ). For real!

What's the employer looking for? A lot depends on the reason for the vacancy. Has someone said they are retiring in 90 days? Great. Let's find the ideal candidate and get them trained up. Or, did an employee get in an accident and get hospitalized? Ouch. We need someone who can jump right in with both feet. Of course, the job announcement won't usually tell you any of this. . . !

I encourage you to apply for whatever you think you can take on. Don't overestimate yourself, but definitely don't underestimate yourself! Also, apply to some positions you think you qualify for but don't think you want. Why? Well, We called it "the practice interview." You don't want your first interview to be with "the ideal job!!" The last person who disregarded this advice lost out on the ideal job. . .

Also, tweak the resume so it is tailored to the particular job announcement. Not for every application, as that will drive you bonkers. But, for the jobs you really want, it might take three hours to apply. Fix up the resume. Write a cover letter. That's a whole 'nother topic, but, if you want pointers, let me know. Some employers aren't big on cover letters, some are. You can really sell yourself with them if you know how to do it!

Soft skills/personality traits mentioned by others are important. They will use "Situational" interview questions to try to capture your style. These are" "tell me about a time when. . . .(you disagreed with your supervisor), (you were not able to complete your work on time), etc. There's a way to answer those. . . Ask when you are ready!

Above all else, don't stress! You want to eat and sleep right, and get some exercise. When you walk in, you want to be confident, but not cocky. Also remember, YOU are deciding if you want to work for them! (Yes, we are all desperate for that first break, but, don't show it!)

Kim
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Nicholas’s Answer

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Hi Gabrielle! In my specific industry, we are in professional services, specifically in the financial arena. The best skills to have in this industry is to practice professional skepticism. This means that we must really take a non-biased approach to analyzing a company's business process and focus on what we truly think can improve their business. Always be questioning, and have a real technical and detailed approach to this industry and you'll go far
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Fiona’s Answer

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Be willing to learn, be willing to take criticism, be responsible, ask questions if you don't understand, be organised, be willing to work hard
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Deanna’s Answer

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Hi Gabrielle,

Over the years, I've found that even if the candidate I am looking for doesn't necessarily possess all of the desired qualifications I am looking for, if they have a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and show that they are a team player - those attributes often can make up for what skill sets they may not yet possess.

When managers are interviewing for a position, they often ask themselves:
- Is this a person I can see myself working with each day?
- How well will this person work with the members of my team?
- Will this person be wiling to go the extra mile when asked and are they a team player?

There are many people out there who meet all the qualifications on paper, but are lacking in personality, integrity, or people-skills. These are qualities that cannot be easily taught and I know many hiring managers that look for these types of attributes and value them just as highly as the skills related job qualifications.
You may also interview for a position that you do not meet the desired qualifications for yet, but if you possess the right attitude, the employer may look to hire you for another position in their company that you do meet the qualifications for.

I can also speak to looking for how long a candidate has stayed with their previous employers. If someone seems to change jobs frequently, it sometimes can look like they are a "job-hopper" and don't tend to stay long in one position. So, longevity does play an important role for me when looking at candidates.

I hope this information was helpful to you. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!
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Brian’s Answer

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Trust, competent, team ability
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Jake’s Answer

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Hey Gabrielle,

In my experience, employers are focused much more on you as a person, rather than the skills that you possess. Of course, some careers require a certain level of skills in a particular field - so this is not necessarily true for every job. My advice would be to show through personal, real-life examples of how you can be a leader, a hard worker, and a team player.

Many interviews are structured in a question-answer format. It really has helped me to look up sample interview questions and practice answers that I could give that included real-life experiences. In many cases, interviews are more about your potential employer seeing if you personally would be a good fit at their company. My ultimate advice would be to be yourself, carry good conversation, and be able to share examples of what you have done that proves you hold the personal and technical skills that they are interested in. Also, it's always good to do research on the company you are applying/interviewing for because many employers will ask questions about their company. You don't need to memorize everything about the entire company, but they certainly appreciate that you put in the effort to do some research beforehand and that you found some interest in some of the things that they are doing. I hope this helps!
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Paul’s Answer

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I think, no matter what experience you have, it is always important to be able to: i) think strategically and ii) effectively communicate. Thinking strategically about the bigger picture versus getting into the weeds, which will demonstrate to others that you have a strong understanding of the issue trying to solve and help you to make better decisions. Thinking strategically is also not just about solving today’s problems, it is also about planning for tomorrow and the next week and making sure problems don’t recur again. Also, effective communication is key to any career, whether it is one-on-one discussions, team meetings, listening to customers, or most importantly mastering public speaking (small to large audiences). There will be one point (probably many) in your career when you are going to be required to present in front of an audience and mastering public speaking and having effective communication skills is essential.
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Deanna’s Answer

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Hi Gabrielle,

Over the years, I've found that even if the candidate I am looking for doesn't necessarily possess all of the desired qualifications I am looking for, if they have a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and show that they are a team player - those attributes often can make up for what skill sets they may not yet possess.

When managers are interviewing for a position, they often ask themselves:
- Is this a person I can see myself working with each day?
- How well will this person work with the members of my team?
- Will this person be wiling to go the extra mile when asked and are they a team player?

There are many people out there who meet all the qualifications on paper, but are lacking in personality, integrity, or people-skills. These are qualities that cannot be easily taught and I know many hiring managers that look for these types of attributes and value them just as highly as the skills related job qualifications.
You may also interview for a position that you do not meet the desired qualifications for yet, but if you possess the right attitude, the employer may look to hire you for another position in their company that you do meet the qualifications for.

I can also speak to looking for how long a candidate has stayed with their previous employers. If someone seems to change jobs frequently, it sometimes can look like they are a "job-hopper" and don't tend to stay long in one position. So, longevity does play an important role for me when looking at candidates.

I hope this information was helpful to you. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!
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Devon’s Answer

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While experience can be helpful, I find trust and loyalty to be most important. In all the positions I've held so far, I've never been an expert coming in. "Learning on the job" has been quite common...but if the trust isn't present, and if the loyalty doesn't exist, then the work relationship will not function successfully.
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Dileepan’s Answer

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I feel having a positive attitude at work is very critical. Have an open , curious mind. You should have the ability to seek feedback from your peers. Willingness to learn new things.
Thank you for your advice. I think it is beyond important to take advantage of the knowledge that those around you have acquired from their own experiences. Understanding that criticism is meant to be helpful sometimes takes an adjustment in perspective, but definitely worth it. Gabrielle B. Translate
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Jennifer’s Answer

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For many recent college grads looking for an entry-level position it's extremely important to show grit. Show that you are willing to learn, work hard, be a team player, show that you want to grow and want to succeed at the company. If you are able to exemplify this in an interview through your responses it will tremendously help your chances of being hired. Good luck!
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