Personality traits outrank credentials, education for employers hiring grads

But skill sets more important in manufacturing sector: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/24/2013

Personality traits outrank both credentials and education for many employers looking to hire new graduates, according to a BMO Bank of Montreal survey.

In ranking the traits on which business owners tend to place the largest importance when assessing junior job candidates who come directly out of school, the report revealed:

•Personality traits top the list for employers, with one-third (30 per cent) ranking this as the most important quality.

•Skill set lies second on the list, with one-quarter of employers (26 per cent) making this their top priority.

•Work experience ranks third, with only 15 per cent citing it as the most important trait.

•References and recommendations (eight per cent) and degree earned/school attended (three per cent) rank at the bottom of the list.

The report also looked at how these traits rank among employers in the service and manufacturing sectors:

•Skill set ranks highest among employers in the manufacturing sector while degree earned ranks lowest (37 per cent and one per cent respectively).

•The manufacturing sector places more importance on personality traits than the service sector (31 per cent and 28 per cent respectively).

•For employers in the service sector, the personality traits of a new graduate hold twice as much sway as their skill set (28 per cent versus 16 per cent).

Traits

Total

Services

Manufacturing

Personality traits

30%

28%

31%

Skill set

26%

16%

37%

Work experience

15%

18%

6%

References and recommendations

8%

8%

6%

Degree earned and school attended

3%

7%

1%

One-half (51 per cent) of Canadian businesses plan to hire students or recent graduates this year, found the survey of 500 employers.

"Employment among those in the graduate age range of 20 to 24 has trended moderately higher since the recession," said Sal Guatieri, senior economist, BMO Capital Markets. "For popular summer jobs such as those in tourism, students or graduates might see less opportunity this summer due to the strong loonie, and Canadian shoppers keeping a tighter grip on their wallets. However, the expected upturn in U.S. demand should have a positive impact on Canada's economy and job prospects."

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