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The Traits Headhunters Want

Job market -
11 February 2015

The Traits Headhunters Want

Jobseekers often rely on their degrees or past experience to impress headhunters, but a person’s unique skills are much more interesting to HR. According to NACE’S Job Outlook 2015 Study, American employers agree that certain traits are just more important than degrees!

What they are mostly looking for is someone who has the soul of a leader. In fact, among the 260 employers questioned, including IBM and Chevron, 77.8% of them are looking for this trait among recent graduates. The other aptitudes that HR requires are teamwork, which also received 77.8% of votes, and good writing skills, followed by problem solving, professional ethics, an analytical spirit and technical skills. Of the 19 skills listed, the bottom two were tactfulness and creativity.

The situation is not the same in Europe though. The website Adzuna analysed 500,000 ads in France to pick out the keywords that came up most often. French headhunters are primarily looking for people who are: organized, independent, focused on dynamic relations, fluent in English, motivated and detail-oriented. But the most sought-after traits for executive positions are having an entrepreneurial spirit, being a leader and having charisma. If you are looking for a managerial position, you have better have these skills!

One thing is clear from both studies: technical skills are not necessarily the most valued. In fact, 56% of headhunters give more weight to an applicant’s aptitudes. For jobseekers, it is essential to show that they have the skills listed in the ad, mentioning them in their cover letter and during the interview. For example, they could use concrete examples to underscore a situation in which they used the required skills.

Christelle Genier

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