How to Land a Job: Know What Companies Are Looking in an Employee

Every job has a set of competencies that lead to ‘performance’ in that job. Companies know them, measure them, and recruit people with the appropriate competencies only. So, arm yourself with the competencies and not degrees.

Companies publish job roles on their site, but rarely the corresponding competencies. So, you need to work a little to find them out. One good source is the internet.

What are the competencies that companies look for in general?

For sure, technology comes first and foremost, every time. If you write that you know MS Word and PowerPoint in your CV, no recruiter will be impressed. If you know Excel with some advanced functions, the recruiter will show more interest. If you know some analytical tools, whether you are an engineer or an English graduate, you would be taken more seriously. Learn some contemporary technology and learn to apply them.

The next type of skills are adaptive. This includes positive thinker, adapt to new situations proactively, have tolerance for ambiguity, and show a willingness to undertake multi-tasking and travel.

You may not always get the job you want/like the very first time. But if you are willing to do things that you may not like, but the company wants them done, that is, adapt, you will get noticed. As time passes, you will get the job you want/like, provided you develop the competencies for it, because the company would rather give that to you than lose you.

The third is the drive cluster. You should be brave to act, dare to risk, and not be afraid to make mistakes, and get up and move when you fail, or in other words, show resilience, and show passion to excel. Needless to say, that this means you are the person who can roll up your sleeves and do the job, unlike others who think, discuss and complain; never act.

How to demonstrate competencies?

Take some courses, teach technology to someone, do something for the underprivileged, volunteer to sell and generate funds for a cause, start a group for a cause, organize a sports event, run a quiz club, and do many of them, if not all, simultaneously. In one shot you can give evidence of most of the competencies. These activities you do are called critical incidents. You should record them and be capable of narrating them accurately in your CV and defend them with confidence in your interview.

How should you develop these competencies?

Ask yourself, “what is the job I want?” What are the competencies required for it, what is the level of competencies that I have? Do I have evidence to present to an employer my competencies? Now you know the gap between what you have and what you need to have.

— Authored by Dr. (Colonel) P.S James Professor of Leadership in Jagdish Sheth School of Management

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