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What are employers looking for? Some views from top employers:

Here are the views of a few of the top companies which reinforce what we have discussed so far. It highlights some of the characteristics they are looking for.


“We are after people with a can-do attitude, enthusiasm, interpersonal skills and the drive and ambition to make an impact. Softer skills such as collaboration are also valued, notably as employees often have to work with a variety of people outside their immediate team. For us, it’s less about what you’ve studied and more about why you want to work for us and what you can bring.” *1 – Theresa McHenry, human resources director, Microsoft UK


“Some of our most successful employees have captained a rugby team or been President of the students’ union. One of the biggest frustrations we have is meeting students with the same CVs and answers — as if they have all been prepped in the same way. At interviews, we try to assess behaviour as much as any work experience to give us a sense of the future a candidate might have with our company.” *2
– Katy Smith, resourcing partner, Endsleigh Insurance Services


“We want to employ bright, intelligent students with inquisitive minds. We are totally non-specific in terms of the degree taken. We are also keen to see candidates who have gained work experience in industry and are able to demonstrate a real intent to pursue a career in research, marketing and communications.”
Tricia Moon, Director at personal relations and marketing group, Bell Pottinger *3


“We appreciate applicants who have a range of work experience built up from the first year, whether voluntary or paid, student jobs or more traditional internships. You should be confident that the work experience has value, even if it is not directly related to finance, and be prepared to explain how it links to the skills we are looking for.”
Vanessa Doust, Campus Marketing Executive, KPMG * 4


“When recruiting graduates, we look for great work experience demonstrating your leadership skills whether in charity, voluntary organisation or paid employment, and especially like customer service based experience. Building this up over a few years and demonstrating how it relates to our business is key.”
Jo Gidley, Graduate and Campaign Recruitment Manager, Sainsbury’s * 5

Why do most student fail to get elite jobs?

Most students fail in two areas, the initial assessment tests and demonstrating a thorough awareness of business issues related to the company they applying for. These areas are covered extensively in the book. Assessment surveys are reviewed in Chapter 6 and 7, and some key business issues are dealt with in Chapter 8.


June 8th, 2017

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