Four qualities employers look for when they're hiringVinod Vishwanathan
India, with a vast majority of the population below the age of 35 years is expected to witness the median age of an Indian drop to 28 years by 2020. While the country’s labour force swells significantly, the industry needs to be ready to harness the tremendous benefits that the favourable demographics provide.
The expansion in the working-age population presents a remarkable dividend from the demographics that is yet to be tapped into. Millennial's are increasingly dominating the workplace; companies are keen to invest in a young, tech-savvy and a growing workforce. They need to keep in mind that the millennial's and the Generation-Z have a nouveau approach and perspective of the world and of work. It is quite different than that of their predecessors.
Focus on experiential learning is central to this generation's requisites. They are highly mobile, tech-savvy and most importantly they value collaboration at work. Being perceived as upstarts & hyper-digital by the Generation-X and Y, the Millennial's bring a unique proposition that shall remain exclusive to them-- this generation has witnessed the genesis of social media, e-commerce and technology-driven disruption.
The upcoming generation, the Generation-Z are mostly born in the age of social media where the virtual world is as substantial as the physical one. However, the worldview of millennial's is at the cusp of these two, thereby providing an eclectic perspective, otherwise absent across the other generations. This generation has witnessed the analogue, semi-digital and an advanced digital world.
This brings us to the critical aspect of what millennial's desire at the workplace. A millennial owing to her experiences, has a unique perspective towards professional satisfaction. Probably one of the most important demands of this generation is that of the ability to express oneself and pursue work-life balance through flexibility at work. The management methods of 1980's and 1990's are quite archaic when compared to the needs and requirements of millennial's. This generation prefers a fluid approach to work, which may place the 9-5 proposition in question.
The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has transformed the way technology is experienced, at work and in everyday life. Recruiters have understood the importance of investing in the right hire-- that refers to a culture and skills fit. While companies know exactly what they need or are looking for in a hire, it is equally important for candidates to know exactly what recruiters are looking for, while hiring. As young and fresh graduates, such qualities must be instilled in them through their academic rigour and experiential practice.
What this implies is that, while the candidate’s DNA as a professional has changed, the paradigm of hiring too has transformed. Recruiters have shifted their focus to skill-based hiring. The basis of hiring is hardly limited to possessing a degree or a certificate; what would then be the requisites for millennial's to be successfully placed? A closer look at the fresher hiring process across various sectors reveals that assessing the following 4 skill sets have increasingly become indispensable for most employers
- Communication Skills: This is at the heart of the soft skills stack. It is not only important that candidates refine their written and verbal communication skills, but also pick up the art of listening. The art of listening is one of the qualities that most candidates lack; one who listens can build relationships faster.
Often it is a difficult ask for the manager to manage a team member, a non-active listener who swings into action without having all the information at hand.
The ability to communicate effectively while in a group is yet again gaining prominence owing to the large number of group-based tasks and projects with resources from diverse functions. Reading and Writing skills are considered important in many job roles that necessitate employees to work on tasks and projects with extensive documentation. Being adept at these skills is relevant for formal email communication across diverse cultures with their respective sensitivities.
How do you assess? Employers use different types of assessments to evaluate Communication skills be it Reading, Listening, Writing or Speaking considered the 4 pillars. Employers place enough weight-age for one or more of these 4 based on the job role.
- Technical Skills: As a young graduate, recruiters may not expect you to have in-depth knowledge of the core technical skills essential at the workplace. However, they expect a candidate to have a firm grasp on the basics, the concepts and a strong foundation level understanding of the skill. This allows the candidate to learn and expand their knowledge of the skill in real time. Certified courses on skills pertaining to their field of interest can indicate the readiness of the candidate towards the role. While this lets the recruiter know that the candidate is serious about enhancing their skills sets, it also depicts another important success factor in a job, learn-ability
How do you assess? Candidates are often asked to take up assessments that evaluate the technical understanding as well as their grasp of fundamentals. Often, a learn-ability test that assesses the willingness to learn and the ability to learn faster is administered.
- Being an Excellent Team Player: The modern-day workplace is all about dealing with a diverse set of stakeholders. The virtue of teamwork has grown exponentially in stature in today’s context where businesses have become increasingly global. Recruiters constantly try to evaluate if a candidate can both work with a team and within a team, and if their skill sets complement with that of the team members thereby enhancing the team effectiveness. Organisational structures have changed over a period of time, in today’s era, a team player is highly valued. It is also important that the candidate is the right cultural fit. A mismatch in the two can possibly lead to a bad hire.
How do you assess? Group tasks, group assessments as well as behavioural assessments with a detailed questionnaire on team playing skills and scenarios are quite popular among employers
- Time Management: Efficient and effective time management at the workplace is a huge factor when it comes to hiring. The pace at which you complete the tasks assigned is a representation of your efficiency. Were you on time when you arrive for the interview? How punctual are you? These are common factors that recruiters investigate during hiring. A candidate who knows how to manage time, can organise and plan their day throughout, thus optimising the workflow.
How do you assess? While time management skills are assessed in a subtle manner during the entire selection process, there are behavioural assessments available today that provide indications of how a candidate could possibly manage time effectively at the workplace. These indications serve as effective inputs to the interviewer to investigate.
The ‘Job Description’ bit in every offer letter is something most people tend to ignore. However, it is important to match your skill sets to those expected by the company before you apply for the job. This ensures that you are aware of the core skills required for the job, and you can concentrate on enhancing those in specific. It’s important to note that both technical skills and soft skills have equal importance during an interview. These are not skills that can be learnt over a month or so but need to be honed over an extended period of time.