Posts Tagged ‘employers’

What Employers Look for in Job Candidates — And Employees

Friday, July 9th, 2010
Do you have what they want?

Do you have what they want?

This week, we revisited employers at EMC, one of the country’s leading providers of data storage and a pioneer in the field of Information Technology. All three of the people interviewed stressed the importance of developing a strong math and science background for a future in the IT field, but they also shared numerous other pieces of advice for today’s students to think about while they are still in school. We’ve compiled their thoughts into a “Top Ten” list of qualifications and characteristics that IT employers might look for in both job candidates and employees.

1. Time management skills. EMC’s Todd Matthews notes that besides straightforward technical aptitude, he looks at a candidate’s ability to wisely manage his or her time. “Being able to juggle and prioritize…shows us the sort of mindset that [a candidate] might have out in the field …it’s a telltale sign to employers that you’ve got your act together.”

2. Customer service skills. “There’s a number of different traits you would look for [in a candidate applying for a position involving customer relations]” notes EMC’s Todd Casta. “You want people who can speak well and convey confidence in their abilities. Being able to speak on the phone or in group meeting settings is also important. Presentation skills are big.”

3. Troubleshooting skills. Here’s where analytical ability comes in, adds Todd Casta. “The ability to troubleshoot, to really commit to a problem until it’s resolved, is important. It’s also a great sense of accomplishment once you have it figured out.”

4. Knowledge of industry trends. Staying on top of changes — and they are almost constant in the IT world — is also important. Todd Casta suggests you keep an eye on industry periodicals and websites to familiarize yourself with IT trends, be they storage or programming or any of the other IT specialty areas. It can provide an advantage when you are interviewing — and when you get hired.

5. Pursuit of certifications. All three EMC employers interviewed by ATETV — Kim Yohannan, Todd Matthews and Todd Casta — emphasized that pursuing IT certifications demonstrates to future employers not only your qualifications, but also your commitment. “I think the earlier you can get into a certification program — even in high school — you are setting yourself on the right path to become a better IT professional,” notes Casta.

6. Knowledge of the marketplace. “Why not be in an industry where you know you’ll be needed?” asks Todd Matthews. And, he says, data storage is shaping up to be one of the most critical areas of IT in today’s marketplace. “If you look at just pure supply and demand, almost everything today is stored digitally, and that isn’t going to go away.” He emphasizes that there is much more to IT than just computer programming. “There’s room for the folks that love infrastructure…PCs, servers, networking components. If you look at security, if you look at storage, and at infrastructure, those are probably the three fastest growing areas of IT.”

7. Understanding of the big picture. Whether a student wants to be a network administrator, a database administrator, an application developer or a storage administrator, he or she should have an understanding of the infrastructure as a whole, notes Kim Yohannan. “All of these components work together, so knowledge of what the other person is doing, at least a basic understanding of [their function] is important.”

8. Adaptability. Recognize that in the real world, things don’t always go as planned. “You don’t know what type of situation you’re going to walk into,” explains Todd Matthews. “New products are coming out the door all the time and [you have to be ready for it]” he says. Being flexible and adaptable can help lead to success.

9. Demonstrating initiative. “I think this goes for a variety of careers, but especially in IT,” says Matthews, who recommends that when you get into the marketplace, demonstrating that you’re ready to take the next step and looking ahead to the future is extremely valuable. “Taking the initiative to let people know what you want to do and why you see the benefit to a company is huge.”

10. And yes — Knowing Your Math. Being able to figure out equations, calculating power, thinking empirically and logically — they’re all part of the IT profession and they’re all rooted in math. So if you don’t think that learning algebra and calculus applies to the real world, the employers of EMC suggest you think again — math is where it all begins.