Character traits employers look for in graduates
In an earlier post – ‘The top ten skills employers look for in graduates’ – we looked at the skills employers expect graduates to use as soon as they walk in through the door on their very first day at work.
But employers are also looking for character traits in their people – not just to drive their company forwards, but also to make that driving process as smooth and as fast and as profitable as possible.
So here are some of the character traits graduates need to demonstrate even before they’re called in for their first interview.
SELF-AWARENESS: Knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses enables a person to play to their strengths and to know when – and how – to compensate for those weaknesses. It’s particularly useful when faced with a request to perform an action somewhat out of one’s comfort zone … and many tasks will certainly be out of the comfort zone of any recent graduate who’s still getting used to an unfamiliar working environment.
CURIOSITY: The more questions a graduate recruit can ask at the start of their new job, the faster they’ll fit in. So while other, less-curious newcomers are still struggling to find their feet, the curious ones who’ve already got the information they need will be advancing much more quickly.
TOLERANCE: Employers are looking for two types of tolerance here – the first being the interpersonal kind, as in treating others with respect. But there’s also another kind of tolerance they’re looking for: stress tolerance. This is the ability to cope with stress caused by working under extreme pressure – like, say, a deadline that has been moved up a couple of months and which is now to be met within a very few days.
READINESS TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY: Mistakes happen – it’s a fact of life. Employers are obviously looking not only for the kind of people who make as few mistakes as possible, but also for those who – if they do make a mistake – will own up to it, shoulder the responsibility, learn from the experience and move on.
A POSITIVE ATTITUDE: And mistakes will keep happening. Employers need people who understand that somebody else’s mistake may be causing difficulties but it really isn’t the end of the world. So they’re looking for individuals who can keep going through any kind of crisis because they know there will be light at the end of the tunnel – even if nobody else can see it yet.
INTEGRITY: How many corporate scandals have hit the headlines recently? And are they the fault of the company itself? As an entity, the company will have to carry the blame, perhaps for decades to come. But looking more deeply into any scandal shows that it’s individuals without integrity, rather than the company, who are at fault.
A PROFESSIONAL IMAGE: Everybody knows LinkedIn is all about professionalism, and other, less formal platforms like Facebook are exactly that – considerably less formal. Even so, potential employers aren’t averse to a sneaky peek at a candidate’s non-professional social media profile … so it always pays to think before posting.
And finally, of course, there’s SELF-CONFIDENCE. That’s self-explanatory – after all, if someone doesn’t believe in their own abilities, how could anyone else? If that self-confidence doesn’t show through at the first interview, well, there definitely won’t be a second.
Character traits such as these are essential in the working world, but they may not be fully developed in a graduate looking for that all-important first job.
Flying Start not only helps graduates understand why these traits are so important in a business environment, but also instils those traits using tested methods adapted from years of real-world corporate training. Using these and other proven techniques we help graduates with lots of academic knowledge but little commercial experience gain the business mindset employers are desperate for – all in just one short week.
Invest one week in YOUR future.