Qualities Employers are Looking for in Candidates

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With so many graduates now on the market, employers will look for evidence of skills and work experience, which will make you stand out from the crowd. Start gathering them now or work on what you’ve got so you are ready to impress recruiters.

Depending on the career sector and profession you choose to work in, there could be very specific skills, abilities and knowledge needed to do the job. However, complementing these are general competences and behaviours that are essential for successful working. These are often overlooked by candidates, but they are the things recruitment professionals want to see evidence of.

One of the most top tips Employers look out for is Commercial Awareness– defined as, “the knowledge of how businesses make money, what customers want, and what problems there are in a particular area of business.”- Cambridge Business English Dictionary

In other words, commercial awareness is an understanding of what a company needs to do to be profitable, be successful, and serve its customers well. With it, you know an organization’s core values, biggest competitors, key stakeholders, and current business challenges. You also know the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and you can apply that information to make sensible decisions.

The most eligible graduates know how the business world works. They are aware of trends in the sector, and understand how they will affect their would-be employer. This is the beginning of commercial awareness.

If you haven’t had the chance to develop commercial awareness through your studies, there is plenty you can do to upgrade your skills in this area for yourself.

Different employers will have their own interpretation of what commercial awareness means for them and in their sector. For some, it will mean reading the Newspapers every day; for others, it will mean having a grasp of the importance of cost-effectiveness and the need for success.

Before going for an interview, one is to consider having an understanding of the Industry he is entering and how major players are performing at current. As a candidate, it is advisable to speculate intelligently about the future of the industry usually by listening to news and reading the newspapers to update yourself on occurances that can even affect business. There is need to also have an understanding of the past trends of the industry to be able to predict future trends.

The good news is that your commercial awareness won’t be tested too early in the game. In your application and covering letter it’s enough to write a bit about why you like the company and what it does, and why you want to work for them. Make sure these are genuinely unique reasons though. However, by the time you get through to the next round, you need to be on the ball. Able to throw some figures about how they compare in the industry and be certain these information you give is accurate.

In developing your career awareness skills, you will need to follow industry news – try setting up email alerts on specific search terms. You could also try subscribing to newsletters, LinkedIn or twitter feeds. Candidates who make a concentrated effort to gain commercial awareness for the year or so before applying for jobs should be in a strong position to get the position available.

Written By : Linda Laryea

Jide Otoki