How young professionals can win over interviewers

A report from SHRM and Handshake found that those entering the workforce say they are well-prepared and have a strong willingness to learn and be part of a team, although employers are less confident. “Our research shows that employers are seeking stronger demonstrations of work ethic and reliability from emerging talent,” says study co-author Casey Sword. “By providing specific examples of their capabilities in these areas during interviews, emerging professionals can help alleviate employers’ concerns.”Full Story: Society for Human Resource Management (tiered subscription model)

Individuals in the early stages of their career tend to be well-prepared for the workforce, according to a new report, but there are areas where these emerging professionals can improve and stand out among the competition.

Adaptability and a willingness to learn are areas where emerging professionals shine, according to Expectations and Realities: Preparing the Next Generation of Talent for the World of Work, a report SHRM and Handshake jointly released March 26.

The research centered on individuals with less than three years’ experience and found adaptability and willingness to learn are the top qualities organizations seek in job candidates. Close to 70 percent of the HR professionals surveyed said that emerging professionals commonly exhibit these traits.

Communication, the ability to work as part of a team, critical thinking and time management are other top skills organizations seek from those early-career professionals.

“These skills significantly outranked focused skills such as project management, multilingualism, and leadership,” SHRM and Handshake noted in the report, which explored the skills emerging professionals need, how employers evaluate emerging talent and what emerging professionals are looking for in an employer.

So what are we actually looking for in New Professionals?

  • Reliability.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Communication.
  • Time management.

How can candidates stand out to future Employers.

  • Thoroughly research the organization, so as to ask thoughtful questions during the interview. The job candidate should have a working knowledge of the employer and the role they are interviewing for; failing to do so shows a lack of initiative.
  • Exhibit professionalism. How a candidate comes across during a job interview is “very” important, according to 79 percent of HR professionals. That’s slightly more than the percentage (75 percent) who said relevant work experience was “very” important.
  • Ask questions about employer benefits that are available to you, such as professional development opportunities. There are other benefits that employers don’t always automatically highlight, such as financial literacy, average tenure or how quickly employees may grow with the company.
  • Give examples of ways you have effectively communicated with others, demonstrated a strong work ethic and reliability. It’s not enough to simply say that you possess these qualities.
  • Rehearse your Elevator pitch: That way you will come across as prepared and professional.

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