Top Skills Employers Look For in a Candidate + 2021 Statistics

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The job search process is now more competitive than ever. You not only have to meet a long list of qualifications but also find a way to stand out from the rest of the crowd. A fleshed-out resume alone isn’t enough to land the role. Not to mention, 75 percent of hiring managers don’t even read candidates’ resumes. Instead, they use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for keywords automatically.

With all this in mind, there may be an overarching question circulating your mind. What exactly are hiring managers looking for nowadays in a candidate they’ll hire? Since every manager is different, this is a hard question to answer. However, there are some skills across the board that most managers look for in applicants. Continue reading for statistics on what employers and employees look for out of a job search in 2021.

What Do Employers Look for in a Resume

Your resume is often your first impression to a hiring manager. 24 percent of managers only spend about 30 seconds or less even looking at it. As time progresses, trends change for what makes a great resume. It’s important to stay up to date with a well-written resume to get you through to the next step of the hiring process.

As mentioned, ATS systems are on the rise for more companies in the market. Candidates must not only write their resumes for a manager but also optimize them for a machine. If you don’t know how to properly optimize your resume, you may lose your competitive edge. About ¾ of qualified candidates don’t receive an interview because the ATS system couldn’t read their resumes.

Believe it or not, only one-third of managers think people are honest with skills on their resume. Hiring managers also usually expect potential candidates to exaggerate this on their resumes. This is no surprise, as most people do what they can to appear good on paper. Employers want to see that your skills in person actually match up with what’s on paper.

84 percent of employers turn away candidates if their resume feels impersonal. Being professional and clean-cut is important, but sometimes too much of this can hurt you. 54 percent of recruiters also tend to turn away a candidate if their resume has no customization to it. The recruiter is trying their best to understand you as a person every chance they get. Adapting yourself to fit a one size fits all model most likely won’t cut in when applying for a job.

What Do Employers Look for in an Interview

The interview is where a hiring manager gets a closer look at you as both a person and an applicant. They often weigh this highly because they want to get to know the personality behind the piece of paper. With remote work becoming more popular, job interviews are a little different now. Nonetheless, it’s still a very aspect of making a good impression on managers.

Despite the rise in remote work, around 9 out of 10 candidates have said they had a positive experience interviewing with a manager recently. Managers understand that this time is hard for everyone, so they do their best to be accommodating. The pandemic has even had some recruiters hiring more often than before. 51 percent of companies have interviewed more people remotely than before the pandemic.

Recruiters also look at interviews to understand a candidate’s soft skills. 31 percent of managers noticed that communication skills are often poor in candidates. Sometimes, candidates feel nervous and this impedes their ability to communicate effectively. It’s best to practice before the interview so you’re well prepared and can communicate confidently. 37 percent of managers also noted that problem-solving skills were deficient in candidates. Employers want people who can think critically, so it’s important to develop this skill over time.

As a potential candidate, make sure you have a clean and professional online presence. More than 40 percent of employers won’t ask an applicant to interview if they can’t find an online presence. Employers often look at an applicant’s profile to determine whether they will be a good fit for the company.

What Do Employees Look for in a Job Search

It’s just as important to understand what employees look for in a job, as it is to understand what an employer looks for in a candidate. Due to the pandemic, 16.3 million people found themselves unemployed. Likewise, numbers are at a record high for people applying for jobs. Most people are job searching to make a living, but there are also many more motivating reasons as well.

56 percent of applicants’ primary reasoning for job hunting is career growth. Career growth can be anything from wanting experience in a different field, or even wanting to advance within the same industry. 49 percent of applicants weigh health benefits as very important when applying to jobs. Most hiring managers now know this and are beginning to implement better healthcare programs for their employees.

33 percent of candidates are also willing to take a lower salary than they are used to. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought much financial concern to society. As a result, financial security is a leading factor for people to apply for jobs. However, people are still very concerned about staying safe and following social distancing guidelines. About 7 out of 10 applicants see the ability for remote work as important in their potential job offers.

According to a Glassdoor survey, applicants use certain factors to determine whether a job is temporary or long term. 44 percent used pay rates as a determining factor whether or not the opportunity will be long term. 39 percent, however, wanted the room to grow within the company and valued this as more important. They look at how the company promotes its current employees already for a better understanding of this.

As times continue to change, so does the job search process. Both employers and employees are shifting their views on what to look for in a potential candidate or job opportunity. To get the best offers, potential employees need to understand exactly what employers are looking for. Staying on top of trends and learning more statistics are a great way to do so. For more information, take a look at Resume Now’s post on resume statistics all job seekers should know.

2021 Resume Statistics

About the Author!

Michaela Wong is a content creator who helps Resume Now create insightful career development articles. She is a graduate of San Diego State University with a background in digital marketing. She also graduated during a difficult economic period and is passionate about helping recently graduated students find their place in the workforce.

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