As recruiters, it is down to us to get the best out of our candidates. The blame for multiple interview failures should fall at our feet. One of the reasons candidates fail at this stage is that candidates and recruiters don’t understand what it is an employer is looking for. Each job opening will have individual specific traits that the employer is looking for. But what most people don’t know are the general skill traits that ALL employers are looking for. We wanted to find out exactly what these traits are.
To find out we conducted a survey to find what traits employers look for when hiring. We asked 500 employers who gave us a full range of answers with some fascinating results. The survey showed us that (38.6%) of participants needed a candidate who was competent at the role. This is perhaps an unsurprising finding when considering the importance of competence. This is something we, as recruiters need to decide and filter before taking our candidate to the interview stage. The next set of findings, however, discovered some interesting results. (28.2%) of employers found that a strong work ethic is a vitally desired trait in potential employees. The remaining positive results included; (27.2%) choosing team player, (23.8%) dependability, (21%) willingness to learn and finally (20%) honesty. All these traits have an important theme; cooperation. They all require some form of co-operation, even in an abstract way such as honesty. Honesty requires trust, which is a two-way interaction. Being a team player and having dependability are more obvious examples of qualities that require cooperation.
These results are more insightful when we compare them with the lowest rated traits by employers. We found that traits which encouraged individuality were not popular with employers. The qualities selected the least included competitiveness (0.80%) decisiveness (1.4%) and ambition (2%). It becomes apparent when we compare the highest selected traits and the lowest selected that employers favour candidates who will be able to demonstrate a willingness to work as a team. As recruiters, we need to demonstrate this to our candidates, who can consequently draw on their own teamwork experiences in the interview.
Regionally the results rarely differ. When comparing the North West and London we can see that 45.59% of participants thought that competence was the most important trait compared to London’s 37.23%. Although they differ by almost 10%, this option is still by far the highest selected trait for each region. Most of the results show similar traits between London and the North West. In fact, regionally there were no real differences indicating a national interest in cooperative employee traits.
Whilst analysing the results into age groups we found an interesting difference between the youngest group of employers (18-24) and the oldest group (55+). The results found that the youngest group valued effective communication as an important trait for employment with 30.77% of the younger vote. If we compare this with the older category we can see a stark difference. 6.98% of over 55’s saw communication as a desirable trait. This may be related to the communication age we live in today. Younger employers are more connected digitally, communicating in new ways all the time. This is a possible explanation as to why the statistics differ so much.
To conclude the results of this survey show us a lot of what we can do with our candidates to ensure that they get the best possible chance at an interview. By preparing the candidate with the findings from the survey we also provide ourselves with the opportunity for greater placement rates.