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Top 4 Skills To Look For When Hiring Graduates

With the 2018 AAGE Graduate Recruitment & Development Conference coming up later this month, many of us are starting to think about our next graduate intakes.

In Australia, the 98 graduate employers who participated in the 2018 AAGE Employer Survey offered a combined total of 5,217 graduate positions this year. For those programs, a whopping 234,052 applications were received!

With a substantial number of graduates being hired nationally each year, how can we ensure we’re securing the right talent? Organisations typically invest significant time, effort and money into delivering thorough, highly structured graduate recruitment processes, so it’s essential to ensure we’re measuring the right skills during this process.

To outline the top 4 skills Testgrid deems critical for success in graduate positions, allow us to introduce you to our Superstar Graduate…

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1. Flexibility & Resilience

Superstar Graduate ‘goes with the flow’: she is adaptable and flexible in response to change. It’s fair to say that modern, technology-fuelled work life is fast-paced and far from predictable. Consequently, many organisations require graduates who can think on their feet, accept new circumstances quickly, and roll with anything that is thrown their way. This is especially true for graduates completing a number of different rotations, as they are constantly required to adapt to new teams, environments and work styles.

These traits or preferences can be assessed via a behavioural (workplace personality) assessment, and/or a structured behavioural interview. For instance, a candidate might be asked whether they prefer a structured workday routine, or thrive on variety and the prospect of new challenges.

 

2. Interpersonal Effectiveness

Superstar Graduate is also – very importantly – a team player. This one is no surprise: in the 2018 AAGE Employer Survey, ‘teamwork’ emerged as the attribute considered most important by employers, with 95% of respondents reporting that teamwork is currently measured in their graduate recruitment process.

She understands how to deliver messages (both verbal and written) in a clear, succinct and persuasive manner, and how to tailor her approach based on the particular audience. Her strong emotional intelligence means that she is self-aware and empathetic, listens attentively to others, is responsive to feedback and to others’ emotions, and can build effective working relationships with her colleagues.

Interpersonal Effectiveness can be measured in a number of different ways. A video interview might be used to directly measure communication skills, or teamwork and emotional intelligence might be assessed during an Assessment Centre, behavioural (workplace personality) assessment, emotional intelligence assessment, and/or structured behavioural interview.

3. Drive for Results

Our Superstar Graduate has a proactive attitude: she is tenacious and hardworking. You won’t find her being complacent or doing the ‘bare minimum’; if there’s a problem to solve at work, she’ll be working on a solution. She is motivated by delivering exceptional results: whether that’s in the form of meeting targets, ensuring customer satisfaction, or creating high quality products.

Many graduate mentors and managers are time-poor, and while they’re willing to invest in graduate development, they are also grateful when a grad doesn’t need their hand held every step of the way – when they’re able to seek out answers on their own, or give a new project a go independently (even if it’s not perfect the first time).

Similar to Interpersonal Effectiveness, Drive for Results can be measured during an Assessment Centre, a structured behavioural interview, or a behavioural (workplace personality) assessment.

 

4. Problem Solving Skills

Finally: this one is a little different, as we’re looking at innate ‘abilities’ or aptitude here, rather than personality traits or preferences. During the recruitment process, Superstar Graduate’s cognitive testing results revealed that she had great Abstract Reasoning skills. Abstract Reasoning is the ability to think laterally, solve new problems and reason in a logical way. It’s clearly important in graduate (as well as many other) roles, where one is required to think on their feet, learn new skills quickly, and solve new problems on a regular basis.

When respondents from the 2018 AAGE Employer Survey were asked which employability skills they believed candidates were lacking in their most recent graduate recruitment process, 13% nominated Problem Solving.

Problem Solving skills are best measured directly with specific cognitive ability assessments: for instance, Abstract Reasoning tests.

 

We hope to see you at the AAGE Conference – come and meet our Superstar Graduate for real…!