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Top 5 Things Human Resources Look for in a New Hire


By Ashley Petrie on May 10th, 2016

Employment Tips

Imagine you’ve just completed your education. Your vocational training is behind you and you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Well, first of all, congratulations! Completing your education is a huge step in the right direction and it wasn’t easy. You deserve a pat on the back!

Goals Achieved

Image from Giphy.com

Image from Giphy.com

Perseverance, commitment and determination are all key qualities that stuck with you during school and you’ll need those again when it’s time to job hunt and face employers.  

As such, what are employers generally looking for in new applicants such as yourself?


1. The KSA’s

As an HR Generalist, I always sift through documents to ensure the applicant has the required qualifications. When creating your application and resume, ensure that your education, qualifications and extra relevant skills are bold and easy to catch. 

A cover letter is an excellent opportunity to highlight your mix of education and experience with how it fits into the job. Putting your relevant education and work experience at the top of your resume is captivating. You can also highlight key areas that employers are screening for.

During the screening phase, employers are painting a picture to see what you’re capable of. Do you meet the minimum requirements? Do you have the knowledge, skills & abilities to succeed in this role?

Be sure to showcase your expertise in your application as much as you can.


2. The Right Fit

Every step along the hiring process, employers are continuously assessing your potential fit in their organization. Part of being the right fit includes competencies that you bring to the table. Competencies are inherent behaviors that we possess. They contribute to how we do everything in our life including how we carry out our job responsibilities.

Some examples of core competencies are “interpersonal awareness” and “conceptual thinking”. Many interview questions employers ask are to evaluate these qualities. Take the opportunity to research the company that you are applying to.

Read their website, find their employee profiles, their mission statement and look around on their social media.


Image from Giphy.com

Now that you know a little bit more about the company, be sure to provide prepared, thorough and thoughtful responses to behavioral questions during your job interview.

In the interview process, I often ask this behavioural question:

Describe a time where you provided excellent service to another organizational member.”

“What about this specific experience made you proud?

This question allows me to explore the candidate’s interactions in their previous workplace and what they value in terms of job satisfaction. 


3. Willingness to Learn

We’re all continuously learning new things and improving the way we function in our lives. A willingness to learn and can-do attitude is a great way to start off on the right foot with an employer. Be forward-thinking since this will help employers see how you cope as your potential role evolves.   

When I recruit candidates, I look for those who took initiative to learn a new skill or researched how to improve their efficiency or effectiveness in a past role.

Whether you’re walking into the office for your first day of work or shaking hands at a career fair, be sure to showcase your eagerness to master challenges.


4. Professional Development

Professional development or “Pro-D” plays an integral role in our careers. Pro-D opportunities are everywhere and sometimes even held in-house by companies. Although your formal education may be over, be sure to pursue Pro-D where you can. 

A frequent question that comes up during the interviewing process is:

What are your career plans for the next five years ?”

In my opinion, this question is an opportunity to mention a seminar or conference you’re planning to attend and show that you value professional development.

The more you pursue your own personal career development, the more you take initiative and show a current or potential employer that you mean business.


5. Communication

Communication is an important, yet challenging talent to master. Everyday we’re constantly communicating, whether by tweeting your best friend or face-to-face with a potential employer.

As an applicant, your communication skills are important to your success. Employers evaluate your written communication skills in your resume, your oral communication skills in your pre-screening phone call and your interpersonal communication skills in interviews.  

Being a good communicator is a key success factor in pursuing your career goals. Understand what works best for you when it comes to communicating and strive to continuously perfect this with practice, time and experience.

Company Policy

Image from Giphy.com

Keep Applying!

When I first contact an applicant for a phone screening, I’m able to identify their interest level, how much they know about our organization and their attitude towards the role.

To make the most out of your job applications, research and track the organizations you are applying to, the job descriptions and anything relevant to the role. This way, when you get the phone call you’ve been waiting for, you will be prepared.

The hiring process is a lengthy and sometimes tedious process, but getting an offer of employment is a milestone that I’m sure you are all waiting for. Be sure to keep these points in mind during your application preparation. Good luck and happy job hunting!


Image from Giphy.com

All images used belong to their respective copyright holders and are used for educational purposes only. 

Sebastian Nguyen

About the Author

Ashley Petrie is a Human Resources Generalist at Brighton College. When she’s not helping out staff and instructors, Ashley loves to ride bikes and is a part-time aspiring internet celebrity.


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