instructure, survey, soft skills, hr, human resources When Hiring Entry-Level Employees, Attitude Trumps Skills and Education – HRTalentManagement
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When Hiring Entry-Level Employees, Attitude Trumps Skills and Education by @HRTMExec

 

An applicant’s education and trade skills used to weigh more heavily than any other factor, but that trend appears to be changing. Attitude and other soft skills are now just as – if not more – important to employers. A survey by Instructure, a Salt Lake City, UT-based information technology company, reveals that many managers believe soft skills are critical to an organization’s success – although they don’t think applicants are competent in these areas, and they’re not confident that they can provide the necessary training to bring entry-level employees up to par.

Details of the survey, which polled over 750 managers in various industries, are below.

Percentage of managers who say the following attributes are “very important” for success:

 

Professionalism

64%

Time management

60%

Technical/trade skills

40%

Interpersonal communication

60%

Critical thinking and problem-solving

60%

Work ethic

88%

Teamwork

70%

.

Percentage of managers who say entry-level employees are “very competent” in the following attributes:

Professionalism

11%

Time management

5.6%

Technical/trade skills

15%

Interpersonal communication

10%

Critical thinking and problem-solving

8.6%

Work ethic

14.7%

Teamwork

19.14%

.

Percentage of managers who say they are “very effective” at training the following attributes:

Professionalism

16%

Time management

13%

Technical/trade skills

27%

Interpersonal communication

13%

Critical thinking and problem-solving

14%

Work ethic

21%

Teamwork

29%

  • Also, 79% of managers say a candidate’s prestigious school was the least important consideration when hiring
  • Only 4% of managers say how well a candidate performed during an interview was the most important consideration when hiring

According to Davis Bell, VP of Corporate Markets at Instructure, some of the findings were surprising, but other results weren’t. “For instance, while we expected managers would place a high importance on attitude and work ethic, we didn’t understand just how much they valued those soft skills during the hiring process, and how little they cared about something like a candidate’s prestigious schooling.”

He explains that managers are interested in hiring for soft skills because they consider those skills nearly impossible to train. “However, our data shows that managers still think new employees need hard trade skills to succeed in the workplace—they just think it’s easier to train employees on whatever technical skills they lack.”

.

On-the-job training was the most common method of developing employees:

On-the-job training

85%

Onboarding program

39%

Mentorship program

34%

Video training and webinars

31%

Lunch and learn program

12%

No established process

9%

For HR professionals trying to bridge the gap between what companies want in a candidate and what they actually get when they hire entry-level employees, Bell advises them to take a close look at their training practices to see where they can make meaningful improvements.

“The training processes that worked in a business 10 or 15 years ago may not be relevant today. Companies need to look for new tools that can engage entry-level employees and millennials and motivate them to make the changes needed for success.”

He also says most companies have no clue how training is received by employees, but recommends making it a bi-directional process. “It’s critical to ensure that the employee’s reaction to training – as well as to the company mission, vision, values, goals, policies, and procedures – is collected and analyzed. This enables managers to diagnose problem areas and remediate accordingly.”

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1 comment

  1. Some really interesting points have been made here! The correct choice of external training is key.