The One Skill You’d Better Look For

When employers talk about desirable skills they look for in new hires, they usually mean things like writing, data analysis, interpersonal communication, and project management. But what about the ability to LEARN?

I’m not kidding. Let’s say a twenty-something employee, we’ll call her Amy, starts a new job as a sales representative at a Fortune 500 software company. She graduated from college fairly recently and has never done sales before, so her boss expects her to have lots of questions as she proceeds to develop her first client relationships. He guides her through the process patiently, explaining in detail how to communicate the product’s value proposition, and how she should go about getting a meeting with a decision maker.

After all the time he spends, the boss hopes that Amy can take what he told her and apply it to her next sales situation. But the boss is taking for granted the fact that Amy has the ability to assimilate new information and that she instinctively knows how to harness it in a variety of circumstances. However, this is actually a pretty rare skill. Most people will need to hear similar instructions repeated time and time again, just because the scenario is slightly different than last time. And as you can well imagine, the managers who supervise these people have to do a lot of hand holding, which directly affects the productivity and profitability of the organization.

Unless you’re bringing someone on who knows your business inside and out, you might consider testing for this skill during the hiring process. Behavioral interviews, for example, involve giving the prospective employee some background information and a set of parameters and asking him how he would approach a typical business problem. If he does well, you can rest easy that he’ll be able to hit the ground running, and won’t have to depend on you for next steps at every juncture.

Alexandra Levit (Blogger, Water Cooler Wisdom)

This Blogswap article is courtesy of at and at , a leading site for college students and recent graduates who are searching for internships and entry level jobs.

About the author, Chief Executive Restaurant Recruiter

Born in Arkansas, moved to FL for 3 years as a youngster. Lived in GA most of my life. Married in 1985, 2 kids, one of each. Graduate of USNA Class of 1980. Love golf, computers, poker, photography, and gadgets.

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