/ Asked by Tanya
What basic entry-level skills do new hires often lack?
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at Asurion, on Tuesday, September 1, 2015
A recent study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities showed that 85% of employers desire their hires to have strong oral and written communication skills; 83% value strong teamwork ability; and 81% emphasize strong decision-making skills and critical thinking skills (http://www.aacu.org/leap/public-opinion-research/2015-survey-results). These are skills that are learned both in and out of the classroom. To develop yourself in these areas you can engage in volunteer work, participate in student organizations, and even challenge yourself by enrolling in an extra communications course or two throughout your college career. Remember, learning isn't always comfortable, but the gain is well-worth the temporary discomfort!  
Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Friday, September 4, 2015
The 3 areas that we look for in an entry level new hire is:
1) Technical abilities
No matter what position you are going into, technical abilities are vital. Business and technology are completely integrated and it is important that an entry level applicant has a solid foundation to go off of. Microsoft suite, databases, and social media marketing are a few areas that are very important to stress.
2) Communication skills
Communication skills are equally important and probably the hardest to master. Can you express what you are saying via verbally or in email in a concise way? Are you able to seek out answers on your own, and do you have effective decision making abilities. These seem pretty straight forward but are very difficult.
3) Attitude
Attitude is so important. An applicant who is eager to learn and willing to come in and get their hands dirty is an applicant who stands out! I also love seeing someone with a passion for their job and career.
Best wishes in your search!
-Nell
Answered by John, Hiring Expert at DuPont, on Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Great question!  This is an area that many recent studies and articles have tried to address.  

I believe the answer changes based on the company and the role, but here is a partial list based on what my company has experienced:

(1) professional experience through an internship or cooperative education experience - the best way to learn how to work at a company is to do it.  By having this experience before you graduate, you develop a much better understanding of how to keep regular hours, how to communicate in a corporate environment, etc.  

(2)  problem solving skills - many problems students are given in high school/college are well bounded (details are clear and there is a specific answer).  In real life, many times this is not the case.  There is a learned skill in defining a problem, gathering information required to solve it, utilizing available resources, and making recommendations in a sometimes very ambiguous environment.  

(3)  working in and adapting to diverse teams - you may work on a number of projects while in school with students in your degree/major, but the work environment sometimes requires very diverse teams to come together to work on a project.  The ability to adapt to very different perspectives is an often necessary skill to have.

 Hope this helps. 
Answered by Charlene, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on Tuesday, September 22, 2015
All the answers are great, and there are many articles that have been written on the skills that are most often lacking in an entry-level employee.  A few additional skills to consider are: Learning Agility, entering the workforce with an open mind to learning new things quickly, taking notes, practicing what you are learning and constantly challenging yourself to continue learning, Selling skills, being able to assess a customer's needs, bring solutions with conviction and highlighting the features and benefits of the options, and closing the sale by getting a commitment and finally reinforcing the customer's decision.  Even consider practicing your selling skills during the interview process and selling yourself to your future employer. These are in addition to the skills mentioned on the other post and hope they help you as you prepare to enter the workforce.  
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