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« 15 Dos and Don’ts for Better Interviewing | Main | Zappos and the Quandary of Cultural Fit »

October 31, 2011


The interesting piece of this work is that the "job skills" listed do not match what most candidates, I believe, think "job skills" are for the position.

Job skills, in their minds, relate to skills needed to get the job done -- know how to program in X, great experience in PeopleSoft or other comprehensive systems, certifications on Y, or managing significantly high dollar projects.

The skills presented here, though, are much softer. Working on a team and understanding business strategy and the others described here don't mesh well when actually doing the work on the job. Though, of course, are great to have for context and providing value to the employer.

You can be utterly strategic, but if you can't program in C++, you can't do a programmer's job doing programming for C++ work. This, I think, is where the disconnect is -- when candidates talk about job skills, they mean C++. When hiring managers are talking job skills, they mean working with the team.

Now, these are hiring manager views -- is the assumption that the candidate has the "hard" job skills to do the job and passed the phone interview where these hard skills were examined and then the candidate fails at the "motivation to do the work" and "fit with the team and manager" part of the job? Is this what the survey measured?

I'm pretty sure that if you asked a hundred job candidates what job skills were needed to do their work, you wouldn't get many that would say having a global perspective would be a job skill needed.

It's worth looking at because what "job skills" mean to the hiring manager isn't what "job skills" mean to job candicates.

Or did I miss something?

I could not agree more with your comments and observations regarding the job situation. The jobs are there, skills and preparation it's what is missing. Let's start training unemployed people with the skills necessarily to get and do the job!

How you get things done is an obvious area of interest for a prospective employer and TASK based questions aim to answer just this.

The TASK arena is about how you organise yourself and others to deliver; how you coordinate people and resources to achieve something; how you structure, implement and execute projects/assignments in order to achieve objectives.

It might be worth spending a few minutes considering the following. Try to recall examples of situations where you have had to:

• Organise something relatively complex.
• Deliver something to a tough deadline.
• Implement a new process or system.
• Overcome significant obstacles to achieving an objective.
• Coordinate resources to achieve a goal.

Tips taken from our book series "You're Hired! Interview Answers"

One place where a liberal arts degree is recognized and where one can get a job right out of college is teaching English overseas. It is not necessary to know the language, the pay and benefits can be good and travel and adventure is available. A good website to start investigating this is

@John: Thanks for the suggestion!

@Scot: No, you didn't. It's the tension between what seem to be necessary traits, and necessary skills. I think in this survey, hiring managers focused more on traits.

@Natalie: Love these, and please feel free to write in with a link to the book. We're up for seeing it!

@Delores: Have you seen I'm curious as to how well you think content like this fits the bill for unemployed individuals given that it was originally designed for college grads.

Nice post, thanks for sharing.Thanks ya, Erni

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