What Do Employers Really Want? (Twitter Q&A Recap)

| 5 min read

Below is a summary of our Live Twitter Q & A session with Segun Akiode, Talent Acquisition Specialist, held on the 10th June 2016. Using the hashtag #jobbermangh4jobs, we were able to create a meaningful conversation around the topic “What do employers really want?”. Questions from participants and answers from our Resource Person are compiled into this blog post for easy reference.

 Q1. Tell us a bit about employers, who are they?

Answere – Employer(s) can be a person, organization or institution that hires employees or workers. Employers offer wages or a salary for the employee’s or worker’s work of labour.

Q2. Are there different types of employers, or they all fall into one category?

Answer – Yes, we can categorize employers into two main categories based on their size – individuals and organizations/institutions. Employers that are individuals can be termed a ‘one-man’ business or sole proprietor, where one person has absolute control over the hiring of employees. Employers that are organizations or institutions include small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMEs), big corporation or multinationals and government institutions.

Q3. Education and work skills, which one does employers value most?

Answer – Both are important. This is so because interpretations of ‘employee value’ by employers differ from time to time based on the employee life-cycle. In the case of fresh graduates, employers would tend to value their education over work skills as they are not expected to have much work skills (i.e. work experience). On the other hand, for experienced hires, employers would value demonstrated work skills (i.e. work experience) over education.

Q4. What set of values do employers look for in job applicants?

Answer – From my experience, Employers are always looking for two broad ‘value descriptions’ in job applicants – ‘potential value’ and ‘experiential value’. Potential value’ is measured by the job applicant’s intellect or educational qualification. Employers sees ‘potential value’ more of a probability. While ‘Experiential value’ is measured by how much of intellect or educational qualification has the job applicant put to work to produce on-the-job results. Employers sees ‘experiential value’ as a certainty while he sees ‘potential value’ more of a probability.

 Q5. Loyalty and Skill, which do employers Value more and why?

Answer – Most employers would value employee loyalty over skill, all things being equal. This is what is often termed ‘hiring for attitude over skills’ in the recruitment. An employee with a good attitude can learn any skill but not otherwise.

Q6. In your opinion, are the standards set by employers too much or too little?

Answer – (Smiles), this is a frequently held misconception by job applicants. They believe employers’ job standards are too much.  I’m of the view that if job applicants see the way an employer sees, this question would be easy to answer. Let me help a bit. Every employer has a fundamental unique purpose it aims to achieve, which is singularly to make profit! Employers are not a charity organization; hence they cannot afford to lower their standard of performance in the bid to make profit. The standards set by employers are adequate in my view.

Q7. What set of values or skills should job seekers highlight when searching for job?

Answer – When examining whether or not job seekers are a good fit for their organization, employers look out for the following critical attributes/traits:  #1-Professionalism, #2-Positive Attitude, #3-Self-management, #4-Analytical Thinking, #5-Communication Skills, #6-Collaborative skills, #7-Technology skills.

1-Professionalism (good judgment and polite behavior), employers are looking for job seekers that understand the level of professionalism expected in the corporate world. #jobbermangh4jobs

2-Positive Attitude (abundance of enthusiasm and a ‘can do’ attitude), employers need job seekers that can take initiative with the business’ best objective.

3-Self-management (self-starter, assertive, balanced), employers are looking out for responsible job seekers that are willing to take on tasks any time.

4-Analytical Thinking (able to analyze facts and situations), this is a critical skill employers are looking for.

5-Communication Skills, employers are looking for job seekers that can show the ability for business communication in a coherent manner and produce structured written work.

6-Collaborative skills (cooperation, contribution and teaming up), employers are not looking for lone-rangers but collaborators.

7-Technology skills (computer proficiency, social media), employers in this 21st century are looking for tech-savvy job seekers to join their organization.

Q8. What type of relationship should employers and employees build?

Answer – The relationship between employers and employees is expected to be beneficial to both parties.  Employers looking to make profit and employees looking to gain career progression with cash rewards. This is the balancing act.

Q9. Can employers ever be pleased by their employees?

Answer – yes, employers can be pleased with their employees. Employers love high performing employees.

Q10. Your final words to job seekers and employees?  

Answer – Taking charge of your learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person – Warren G. Bennis


Segun Akiode is a born teacher; a Chemical Engineer turned Career & Employability Coach and Author of the fastest selling book “Corporate Misfit”. He has HR related experience covering Talent Acquisition, HR Advisory/Consulting and HR generalist. He has a passion for knowledge sharing, with a growing interest in social recruiting and employer value proposition/employment branding. Segun is currently the Lead Strategist of Crescita Consult, an Independent Human Resources Management Consulting outfit based in Lagos.

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