What are employers looking for?

A recruitment agency shop window near Holborn,...

Image via Wikipedia

Enough has been said about employment consultants. What about the people who pay their fees – the employers.

Now I should declare that I have been in the past hiring for employers and seeking employment. Never at exactly the same time but the two tasks have sometimes been converging.

OK we can talk about teams, visions, future growth, seat warming etc etc, but employers simply want to know if the candidate can do the job, will they fit in and will their cost be outweighed by the profit increase by them being employed. Or these three basic traits:

  • Ability
  • Compatability
  • Profitability

It is as simple as that, and when you appoint somebody who has fantastic ability, the best qualifications, who is bound to help the bottom line but has the inter personal skills of a misanthropic slug, you have problems. Then there is the gregarious type who gets on with everybody, is well qualified but should be at the CSIRO as they have no appreciation of profit then the project sails along into a very red sunset.

To get all three traits in one person may mean compromising on one to some extent. I once promoted a site manager to manage a project, nothing too big about AU$8 million. He had the ability and the personality but did not have the hard nosed profit background. So I gave him a very experienced (older) contract administrator to manage the dollars. The project went well and the site manager learnt from the administrator the facts of project profit.

Employers receive recommendations from employment consultants, all the leg work of reference checking etc is done prior to any interviews. Then there is the interview and if that goes well a further interview to finalize salary etc. The employer, therefore has met withe the candidate for a total of say ninety minutes, and on that basis they entrust him to deliver a project safely, on time and under budget. Therefore a lot rides on the interview, and that is where some of the best candidates fail.

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