What skills are employers looking for in their employees? – The Irish Times

What do employers want? They want the same thing we all want: the best possible thing – in this case, a worker – at the lowest possible price.

It’s this disjunction between wanting a bright worker and trying to cut costs that can sometimes cause friction. Ultimately, however, companies and bosses understand that good salaries follow good employees, so knowing your worth is always important.

At the time of full employment – and despite the rising cost of living and the challenge of finding housing – the ball is in the court of employees and there are more job opportunities than usual.

That said, a good employee has to prove themselves, so in most jobs you won’t start with a lot of money, and what you’re really looking for is a chance to prove yourself, to grow, to develop and have new opportunities. .

To get there, of course, you need to be hired. We spoke to a few experts about what a company – whether a local business or a global megacorporation – expects of its new hires. These are listed in no particular order.

1. Good communication skills

In employer surveys, this is fairly consistently rated as the number one skill that companies look for in new hires. This finding has been repeated in many surveys conducted in recent years by IrishJobs.com. It keeps coming up in every conversation with guidance counselors and guidance counselors.

“Employers want people who can communicate well with both their internal colleagues and their external customers,” says Ruairi Kavanagh, editor-in-chief of gradireland.com who will hold a recruitment fair at the RDS on Wednesday, September 28.

“Over the past five or six years, it’s become clear that they want people who can both write well and have good verbal communication skills.”

Graduates are well accustomed to shorter communication styles, particularly honed by WhatsApp, and this can be very useful as part of an internal team dynamic. But they’ll also want someone who can express themselves in more formal communication styles, including company emails. A graduate who can show it will stand out.

2. Emotional and cultural intelligence

Emotional intelligence is closely linked to good communication. “Many modern work environments are multicultural, and employers want graduates who are unbiased, who can work with different colleagues and callers,” says Bridie Killoran, head of careers and learning pathways at Atlantic Technological University (ATU ), which recently developed a new tool. , MyCareerPath.ieto help its graduates develop their CVs and their employability.

“There is strong evidence that top performers in the workplace have high emotional intelligence. It is important to recognize the emotions of others and to motivate your colleagues or your team.

Emotional intelligence and intuitive understanding don’t come naturally to everyone, of course. The good news, says Killoran, is that you can always improve your emotional intelligence. It is one of the traits that MyCareerPath.ie measures and helps ATU graduates work, but other third-tier careers offices will have similar programs for graduates, so contact them.

Much of emotional intelligence comes down to self-awareness. Indeed, empathy and self-awareness are two sides of the same coin.

“If you get angry in a situation, for example, emotional intelligence is about recognizing that feeling and understanding how you deal with it,” says Killoran.

3. Work experience

Most graduates won’t have a huge amount of work experience behind them, but employers want to see that you’ve developed both the technical skills related to your degree (for example, if you’re an aspiring journalist, it’s essential writing experience; if you want to work in the scientific field, you may have worked in a laboratory one summer; if you hope to be an architect, you may have experience in a firm) and the skills non-technical skills that any degree will help you develop (for example, if you had a job in a shop, pub, cafe or restaurant, you will have developed communication skills to interact with customers; you may have solved problems for customers and you will have the experience of thinking on your feet).

4. Life experience

No one expects a 21- or 22-year-old graduate fresh out of college to have the life experience and wisdom of a more mature worker.

But they want to know that you have more than your academic achievements and work experience. Have you become involved in university life, joining and participating in clubs and societies? Have you volunteered? Maybe you play a team sport on the weekends or are involved in a running club?

“Employers understand that, for this generation, those experiences have been curtailed by Covid-19,” Killoran says.

“They understand that many students have seen their confidence take a hit. But they want to see how you were able to adapt and show resilience. Maybe you learned online and got used to new technologies, or did an internship from home. Here it pays to focus on the things you have rather than the shortcomings.

Ultimately employers are looking to see what you did during Covid, despite the restrictions we all faced during lockdown.

5. Independence and ambition

“Employers hire graduates with limited experience, so they hire someone who will bring ambition, drive and innovation to the organization, as well as fresh perspectives,” says Kavanagh. “But they will need someone who can work well and get down to business.”

Mark Cumisky, career and skills consultant at UCD, says companies are looking for ambition.

“They want to hire someone who wants the job because they see themselves growing in this company and this industry.”

6. Critical thinking, analytical and research skills

These are skills that any good college or further education course will have equipped a graduate with.

“Most employers don’t care what your degree is, as long as you have some level of learning,” says Killoran. “In most degrees you will have read and learned independently and you will be able to write and summarize. One of the gaps for students is recognizing where they have been critical thinkers and giving examples They’re often confused by this, but we all have examples of problems we’ve solved, whether through part-time work or life experience.

“My advice is to keep your examples as recent as possible and not keep referring to the same one. You can use an example project from college as a time when you collaborated with others, a story from your part-time work in the store as an example of communication skills and perhaps an example of life at home to show how you have demonstrated adaptability and flexibility. ”

Killoran suggests using the “STAR framework”, which stands for “situation, task, action and result”.

If, for example, you are asked about business awareness, you can refer to a job in the local store where your manager said that sales were down for a particular product, the task was to increase it, l action changed where you positioned it in the store and the result was increased sales.

7. Knowledge of the company

“If you join a company, they want you to know what they’re doing and the environmental, economic, social and political pressures,” says Cumisky. “They might ask: why do you want to work with us and not for the competition?

This means doing your research, being able to answer questions about the company – whether it’s the CEO’s name or their current stock price, or who their biggest competitor is, or what kind of challenges the industry faces. in question could be confronted during this energy crisis . Be ready.

8. Authenticity

Perhaps the most intangible quality of all: Companies want to hire someone who came across as genuine and honest during their interview, and who wasn’t afraid to be themselves, says Cumisky.

In the end, there’s no point in being someone other than who you are: it’s too hard to put on a full-time facade.