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What Employers Look For to Get the "Right" Candidates
From CampusCareerCenter.com
 

It is very important for hiring managers to make the "right" decisions because turnover and retention studies report that it costs an employer anywhere from 100 to 200 percent of an employee's base salary to replace them. This means a $50,000 a year employee can cost $100,000 or more to replace. Receiving an expensive wake-up call in today's economy, few employers can sustain such high replacement costs by repeating a pattern of bad hiring decisions. As a result, many of them are determined to correct their errors and literally "hire with their heads" by changing the way they initially screen resumes, test candidates, conduct interviews, and extend offers.

They increasingly look for more predictable behavioral clues in candidates by doing the following:


Scrutinize resumes more closely for clear patterns of accomplishments - look for behavior-based resumes. More and more employers scan resumes, use resume databases, and screen resumes by keywords that indicate accomplishments and patterns of behavior.

Subject more and more candidates to achievement and psychological tests, behavioral profiling, and drug testing. These screening tests are often administered immediately before a candidate interviews for a position. The results may eliminate a candidate from the interview or they may be used during the job interview for asking probing questions about an individual's behavior or psychological predispositions. You need to be looking for positions that best fit your particular psychological and behavioral profile.

Conduct more and more interviews with a single candidate. Rather than go to two or three interviews with a single employer, expect to encounter situations where you may go to five, six, or seven interviews, each being a new type of interview (one-on-one, sequential, serial, panel, group) and involving a different number and level of participants. If done right, each of these interviews may tell an employer something new about your behavior and provide important insights into your potential "fit" with the organization.

Scrutinize references more carefully by asking probing behavioral questions. Expect employers to ask your previous employer such things as these:
What were her three most important achievements during the past two years?
Can you give me an example of how he took initiative in solving a major problem?
What were some of her major weaknesses that she managed to correct?
Can you give me an example of how he worked with other team members in meeting project deadlines?
What five words would you use to predict her future performance?
If you hired him again, what two changes would you like to see him make?
In other words, more and more employers are taking reference checks seriously. They know they can gain valuable insights into a candidate's behavior - but only if they go beyond the superficial and ask the right behavioral questions.


Negotiate lengthier probationary periods in order to see if the new hire indeed works out according to expectations. The true test of whether or not a candidate is a good fit is on-the-job performance. Expect employers to build in three- and six- month probationary periods in order to thoroughly review your performance prior to accepting you as a permanent employee. It's during that period when employers get to see the "real you" at work and identify what should be your long-term motivated patterns of work behavior.

Characteristics Needed in that New Grad:

content knowledge and experience in the employee's functional area (e.g., marketing or accounting),
• an employee's ability to analyze and critically examine complex issues,
• the ability to succinctly characterize the essential elements of an issue
• an employee's ability to communicate orally and in writing
working with minimal direction and supervision
initiative and responsibility for taking on new issues through their successful completion
meeting assigned deadlines
strong interpersonal and team skills.
 


What Students Can do to Impress Employers in Today's Market

Consider the following tips:

Take stock:
Evaluate your professional standing and key trends within your industry, company, and profession. What do you need to change? How can you do it? How does your profession look five years from now? Two years from now? What threats do you foresee? What opportunities exist?

Based on your analysis, develop a comprehensive action plan that will help you leverage your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

Network aggressively:
Networking is not a post-layoff or when-you-feel-like-doing-it activity. All successful professionals incorporate networking as an integral and active component of their career management plan. Tradeshows, conferences, industry and social events, online networking tools—networking opportunities have never been so easily accessible.

Position yourself:
What is your value proposition? What is so unique about you that employers will want to retain you irrespective of what happens to the company financially? We all have something unique to offer and if you can develop a powerful value proposition demonstrating how indispensable you are, you will be in a much better position that most professionals.

Invest in professional development:
This is the Information Age, an environment in which information becomes obsolete faster than fashion. Through continuing education programs and other professional development efforts, it is very important to stay abreast with the cutting-edge of your profession.

Demonstrate leadership and the ability to take on challenges:
The economy inevitably imposes financial strains on any company and under such conditions every employee is expected to do more—take more work, manage multiple tasks, lead projects, and epitomize "cross-functional" in every sense of the term.

Try to volunteer on projects and take on leadership roles:
The key is to demonstrate how you can contribute toward the organization’s success and deliver an optimal ROI for the company.

Update your resume:
Update your resume every month, if not every week. Highlight your recent accomplishments and create a powerful document that will position you as the perfect solution for any employer’s needs.

Keep your options open:
With all the above strategies, keep your eyes open to new opportunities. Through a portfolio of job search strategies, including networking, you should generate a steady stream of job leads.


First Year on the Job-Student Tips

Get to work early. You could come in ten minutes late and work one hour late, but you’ll still leave a negative impression. Coming in early makes a much better impression; ask any supervisor.

Come to work every day. Don’t call in sick, stranded, needed elsewhere or waiting for a fire truck. Do not miss any work on account of illness ever, if possible, but especially not during first year. Make dental, doctor, lawyer and wedding dress fitting appointments after work or during lunch hour. Be assured that should you ever need a reference or recommendation, the first two questions asked will be about promptness and attendance.

Be courteous, friendly and helpful. Smile and say hello to everyone every time you seen them, whether you know them or not. Remember the names of those to whom you are introduced; jot down names until you remember them. Open doors; help finish reports; assist on projects; thank those who help you; and look for opportunities to offer sincere praise to the boss, the secretary, the custodian and everyone in between.

Be friendly, but not friends. Go to lunch with colleagues or boss (remember that you should never invite your boss out to lunch before he/she invites you), but don’t make it a regular habit, and be especially careful not to become identified with any cliques. Do not ever go drinking with them. Don’t reveal your weaknesses. Once they realize what your weaknesses are, your co-workers will begin to exploit them, whether consciously or unconsciously. This is not cynicism, but a most painful truth. It should go without saying, but never become romantically entangled with anyone at your office, especially your boss. This can be suicide for your career.

Keep your personal life private. You will be tempted to share personal information with friendly, warm and well-meaning colleagues. Unless you want your private life discussed by all your co-workers, don’t open up life to them.

Be loyal to the absent. (Don’t gossip!) Never talk about anyone in his/her absence, and when you hear others gossiping or criticizing others behind their backs, defend the victim. This will offend no one, and you will gain a reputation as a person of integrity.

Dress as well as or better than your co-workers. Remember that you dressed up for the interview to create a favorable impression. Consider a professional wardrobe as an investment rather than an expense. Some people rebel against dressing for success. They feel that “substance” should count for more than “image.” In the perfect world, this may be true, but the workplace is far from a perfect world. If you want to advance in your career, you must invest the time, energy and money it takes to dress the part.

Speak and laugh softly, seldom and when appropriate. Never tell off-color, sexist or racist jokes; if exposed to them, politely excuse yourself. Compulsive and/or loud talking or laughing annoys others, wastes time and reveals insecurity. Pay attention to your own talking and laughing habits, and take appropriate action.

Don’t move too fast. For the first month or two, say very little, ask a lot of questions, but don’t offer suggestions or opinions unless asked. This is often the most difficult thing for a recent graduate to do, because in the academic environment you are taught to debate, offer suggestions and find a quick solution to problems. The very thing that you have spent years perfecting becomes the least valuable attribute to the new employee! Listen and watch for clues as to which behaviors are valued and which will get you into trouble.

Ask for feedback. As often as you feel it is appropriate, ask how you are doing. Ask your co-workers and your supervisor for constructive criticism, and then accept it and use it. Don’t get defensive, offer explanations, get angry or embarrassed. Being able to take criticism and suggestions for improvement is the mark of a mature person and will go far to cementing your place in the company.

Be honest with yourself and others. Telling lies, deliberately misrepresenting or hiding facts may be the quickest way to the unemployment office. That goes without saying. But there is another kind of lie that can get you into just as much trouble, and that is the lie you tell when you make a promise that you don’t keep. If you aren’t positive that you can deliver the goods as promised, don’t make the promise.

Identify potential conflict early. If you start feeling stressed, angry, confused or resentful; if you begin to drink heavily or rely on drugs; if you experience health problems, especially headaches, stomach problems or back problems, seek help from a therapist, a member of the clergy, or a trusted friend. Most companies have either insurance coverage or an employee assistance program, but even if they don’t, get help before you fall into a pattern. Many lives are turned around by simple techniques for communicating more effectively. On the other hand, chronic stress may be a signal that your job is not the right match for you.

 

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