20 Jul '11
Posted in People by James
California is an oddball. Although we have one of the top unemployment rates in the country, there are major hubs throughout the state going through a flurry of hiring. Whereas manufacturing jobs and retail are tanking, the pharmaceutical and technology sectors are hiring like crazy. Even within the technology space, there are dichotomies between specific specialties in either hiring or firing modes… network manufacturing giants such as Cisco laying off up to 5000+ or Nokia closing up offices. Contrast that with the unfathomably high demand for web developers in Silicon Valley (did I mention, our team is growing?).
Having recruited for more than 10 years, people always ask me what people look for when assessing candidates for their companies. Companies usually fall somewhere along a spectrum of interviewing primarily for soft-skills or hard-skills. Depending on the industry and specialty, what they look for weights heavily toward one end of the skill spectrum. Regardless, there are four things hiring mangers focus on regardless of industry, position or specialty. And these are the keys to building awesome and high functioning teams. Let’s look at my top two.
1. Skill Enhancement
“Not only can they do the basics of the job, but they bring related skills that can enhance the job, my team, and the company”
I know you can code like crazy. I see you can build a website in your sleep. But are you using the newest and greatest programming language? Can teach others these hot skills? If I bring on a junior person, can you teach them, or is that too foreign for you? Or maybe I’m hiring for a marketing manager with key experience in advertising and publication, but how much better of a candidate would you be if you came to the table with ecommerce and website design strategy experience? The key is upping your skill value-add. Just when you think you’ve learned enough, learn more. Take classes, do a side project or work with adjacent teams to enhance your skill portfolio. You’ll be more appealing and go above and beyond what they’re looking for.
2. Culture Fit
“Does this person fit the culture of the company?”
Yes, you may be able to FIT all the “Requirements” that are listed in the job description, but are you able to FIT-IN with the culture and people of the company? Nowadays culture fit has become one of the leading things to look for in interviews. As much as you can probably do the job (regardless of what it is), you’re ability to succeed in an organization depends on how well you function in the environment. Most companies have exemplified their culture on their websites and through their communications. So make sure to research the company culture, the type of people who work there, and what philosophies the company finds important BEFORE you apply. Ask yourself if you think you’d fit in? Would you enjoy working there? If so, arrive at yourinterview knowing the company culture and being able to speak toward what you like about it and how you and the hiring manager can benefit by you being a part of it.
Next week, I’ll tackle two more things companies are looking for these day.
Image courtesy Scott Robin/Creative Commons