Recruiters and hiring managers have always considered conversational skills an important trait in new hires, but a new survey now places communication at the very top of the list.
The recruiting software company, Jobvite, together with Zogby Analytics, has just released its 2017 Recruiter Nation Report. The online survey of 831 recruiters in the U.S. is intended to identify the traits and qualities that recruiters evaluate to make the perfect hire—and the qualities they consider deal breakers, too.
Recruiters were asked the following question: “Which of the following positively impact your decision to hire a candidate during an initial in-person interview?” The question was a followed by a list of ‘subjective traits’ such as: appearance, punctuality, portfolio, conversation skills, industry knowledge and enthusiasm. According to recruiters, the most desirable traits are (in order):
1). Conversational skills (69% of recruiters said this is most important quality they look for in a job candidate)
2). Knowledge of industry
According to recruiters, a candidate’s ability to articulate their ideas effectively in conversation is a measure of their capacity to engage with others, a window into how the job candidate might interact with team members, clients and customers should they be hired.
Interestingly, the survey showed a generation gap among recruiters and the premium they place on conversational skills. For example, millennial recruiters place more of an emphasis on conversational skills than those recruiters over 50. A full 75% of millennials value communication skills as their top priority compared to 60% of those recruiters over 50, who place a greater emphasis on industry knowledge.
According to the survey, recruiters have seen it all— the good, the bad and the downright strange. For example, most recruiters say they’ve interviewed job candidates who didn’t know what company they were interviewing for. And a full 75% of recruiters say they’ve had candidates who dress “too casual,” which is a good reminder to dress a little better than you would for a normal day at the office.
Some qualities are subjective, of course, but the following actions are universal deal breakers, according to the survey. In other words, a majority of recruiters agreed that these actions would automatically disqualify a candidate:
- Being rude to the receptionist or support staff
- Checking phones during the interview
- Showing up late
- Bad hygiene
Communication skills will set you apart in a job interview. As I wrote in a previous article, many recruiters will openly admit that if they had to choose between two candidates with equal credentials, they are more likely to give the job to the person who can communicate better with colleagues and customers. Credentials and experience are no longer enough. Yes, they might get you through the door, but how you present yourself when you’re in the room still counts the most.