In today’s ever changing world of work, there are crucial skills potential employers will look into in recruiting the right people to push their business agenda.
Career counselors and education experts caution job seekers to ensure that they equip themselves with the right skills to always have an edge to recruitment process.
Checks by LEADERSHIP indicates that sometimes, most qualified candidates lose job opportunities because they do not have the required skill to impress the prospective employer during interviewinh session.
Experts worry that some Nigerian job seekers are so fixated with only skills in their area of training and show a total lack of such soft skills as critical thinking, leadership and communication.
Mr Kayode Akinpelu, a career counselor therefore urged job seekers to always attempt to go beyond their field of studies and have a broader knowledge of requirements in today world of work.
He observed that sometimes courses taken less seriously in school eventually shapes one into the best professional they can ever be.
Prof. Paul Shiundu, who also spoke with LEADERSHIP, said most students take their studies with their minds fixed on their dream courses.
“Engineering students, for instance, will automatically switch their minds off anything that is not engineering in their minds. They think other courses drawn from the arts and social sciences and, simply, other fields water down their tough science courses,” Prof Shiundu said.
He explained that students pursuing arts and social sciences decide that mandatory units in mathematics such as statistics and certain units in information technology are a waste of their time in school.
“One may be very good in engineering but the question we always ask our students is, can you communicate your knowledge in engineering and if necessary, do you also possess entrepreneurial skills to start your own business if you fail to get employed?” he said.
Even more worrisome, according to research is the fact that few people at the workplace engage in side training to improve these skills.
The World Development Report of 2018 which sought to find out whether young employees participated in work-related training, discovered that only a few benefitted or engage in workplace training.
Respondents were asked whether or not they had in a year participated in training courses, such as private skills training that lasted at least five days, which were out of the formal educational system, to improve or gain work-related skills.
LEADERSHIP gathered that only about 13 per cent of workers aged between 25-44 consented to participating in workplace training while just about nine per cent of youth aged between 15-24 participated in workplace training.
According to the study, young people around the world face substantial challenges in their transition from school to work.
The ability to learn is the one skill that employers are looking for in new recruits. In the context of career adaptability, this is basically the ability to swiftly get a feel for new career demands and changing employment demands.
He explained that learning to learn, as an isolated skill is important because of the adaptability that it brings later in life.
According to Michael, a deficit in the ability to learn is made worse by the fact that most graduates join the job market with the wrong skills.
“Having qualifications is not the same as having skills and the young people we have these days are those with qualifications that are not useful,” said Michael.
He added: “One of the fundamental deficits in young people who also lack the right skills is the inability to be self-directed learners. Because after all, it wouldn’t be a problem having useless skills if you could easily re-educate yourself.”
Career experts classify the ability to learn among soft skills acquired through an all-inclusive curriculum and course units deemed irrelevant and which more often than not appear as sideshows in relation to one’s main course.
He knows whose hand to shake and who to offer a warm, verbal greeting in the place of a friendly handshake.
“You must treat people differently according to their culture and in a way they are most comfortable with,” the engineering graduate recalls the statement he learnt from a communication course close to ten years ago.
“I aim to grow in my career but whoever I become in life, I know this is where I started. And all credit goes to one communication unit I pursued in college. I never knew it would be this useful to me.”
Research has established that graduates in engineering and science-based courses are better off acquiring artistic skills to survive the changing professional landscape.
Studies show that careers in technology will be most affected as automation of jobs gradually takes over.
A report compiled by the World Economic Forum proposes a modification of the curriculum to incorporate more art-based and creativity-oriented courses at all academic stages.
“To build a pipeline of future skills, Africa’s educators should design future-ready curricula that encourage critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence as well as accelerate the acquisition of the right skills to match the way people will work and collaborate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” reads the report.
The findings indicated that in May last year 6 percent employers across Nigeria already identify inadequately skilled workforce as a major constraint to their businesses.
Here are some key qualities employers look out for when recruiting and they include:
1. Detail oriented
Employers love individuals who pay attention to detail – A wrongly spelt word or a grammatical error has been known to hurt brands. For instance, spelling ‘Tecno’ as ‘Techno’ is a mistake that could take millions to rectify. So, employers love men and women who pay enough attention to detail in their work to avoid slips of this nature.
2. Team Player
Are you a team player or are you that kind of person who believes solely in your skills. Or maybe we should ask you this way: Do you operate like a Luis Suarez?
3. Ability to learn
You should love to learn and the reason is just simple. No man is an island, which explains why employers love individuals who are eager to develop their skill-set and improve themselves.
4. Leadership skills
There are always two kinds of leaders – Good ones and bad ones and usually, employers do not need to rocket science to find out where you belong. Your CV and how you respond to interview questions go a long way in showing where you belong. So, if you’ve got great leadership skills, good for you and if you’re not so great at it, work on it.
5. Thinking outside the box
Are you the type to take the initiative and come up with an out-of-the-box idea to move an organisation closer to its goals or do you just sit behind your desk waiting for instructions? Employers love people who are creative and have fresh ideas.
6. Drive and enthusiasm
Some employees are highly enthusiastic about completing their tasks and looking forward to the next one while we have those who take forever to complete any given task and might even sigh whenever tasks are assigned to them. Which of these two are you? It’s important to ask yourself this question because employers have a natural soft spot for the former.
7. Communication skills
Too many people tend to take this for granted. it is important to be able to express yourself and it is even more important to be seen to be able to do so. Communication is an integral part of a job. No employer wants to hire a person who cannot communicate effectively.
8. Ability to stay calm under pressure
What usually happens to you when you are put under pressure? Do you stay calm and focus on the job or do you crack and explode like fireworks? Employers go for individuals who are able to handle the pressure that often comes with meeting deadlines and multitasking.
9. Organizational and management skills
Employers are always glad to hire people who have good management skills. Projects have been known to fail and succeed over this singular skill and it covers management of time, resources and decision-making capacity.
10. Ability to be flexible
Are the kinds of person who can accomplish a task in more than one way? Do you find creative ways of dealing with tasks and deadlines? When you find yourself against a wall, do you collapse against it or do you knock a hole into it and keep moving? How you answer these questions go a long way in determining what employers think about you. The more flexible you are, the higher your chances of getting hired.