4 Getting the job
4.1 What do employers look for when recruiting?
In its 2011 report, Building for Growth, The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) identified seven core employability skills that most employers value:
- readiness to accept responsibility
- appropriate assertiveness
- time management
- readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning.
- Team working:
- respecting others
- negotiating and persuading
- contributing to discussions
- an awareness of interdependence with others.
- Problem solving:
- analysing facts and situations
- creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.
- Communication and literacy:
- producing clear, structured written work
- oral literacy
- listening and questioning.
- manipulating numbers
- general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts.
- Application of information technology:
- basic IT skills
- familiarity with commonly used IT programmes.
- Business and customer awareness:
- understanding the key drivers for business success
- taking calculated risks
- providing customer satisfaction
- building customer loyalty.
According to the report, four out of five employers value these skills. Underpinning them all is a positive attitude and enthusiasm. We have categorised them into four broad areas:
- self-reliance skills
- people skills
- general employment skills
- specialist skills.
Table 5 shows the skills that employers want and how they can be developed.
|Type of skill||Examples of how the skills can be developed through interests, work and education|
Self-awareness: purposeful, focused, self-belief, realistic, assessing your own performance
Pro-active: resourceful, drive, self-reliant
Willingness to learn: inquisitive, motivated, enthusiastic
Self-promotion: positive, persistent, ambitious, accepting responsibility
Networking: initiator, relationship-builder, resourceful
Problem solving: how you approach problems, finding and implementing solutions
Planning action: decision-maker, planner, able to prioritise, identifying areas for improvement
Study: carrying out self-directed projects
Roles within work
Involvement in community groups or charities
Roles within the home: planning, coordinating others
Team working: supportive, organised, coordinator, deliverer, reliability, adaptability
Interpersonal skills: listener, adviser, cooperative, assertive
Oral communication: communicator, presenter, influencer
Leadership: motivator, energetic, visionary
Customer orientation: friendly, caring, diplomatic, respect
Foreign language: specific language skills
Work responsibilities in a team
Fund-raising for charity
Member of orchestra or drama group
General employment skills
Problem solving: practical, logical, results orientated
Flexibility: versatile, willing, multi-skilled
Business acumen: entrepreneurial, competitive, risk taker, customer service
IT/computer literacy: office skills, keyboard skills, software packages
Numeracy: accurate, quick thinker, methodical, dealing with data
Commitment: dedicated, trustworthy, conscientious
Roles within the home: budgeting
Roles within work: use of IT, work experience
Project work through study
Membership of local clubs, committees and societies
Specific occupational skills: specialist relevant knowledge, e.g. languages, IT
Technical skills: journalism, engineering, accounting, sales
European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Web design skills: use of programming or coding languages
Using social media tools
First aid at work qualification
The requirements that an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific, but it’s worth bearing in mind that candidates who apply for jobs are also expected to demonstrate at least some of these skills.