Written by Jeryl Fleck, Globe University-Green Bay campus director
As I was driving to campus one morning, I began wondering how I could help students understand just how important soft skills are, both at school and in the workplace. Then it dawned on me: what would be more powerful than for students to hear from local employers that have hired our graduates? I needed our employers to tell the story.
So, that afternoon, I sent the following email to a variety of our employers:
“Congratulations on your recent hire, a Globe University graduate. I hope you are highly satisfied with the service he/she is providing. As the campus director of Globe University-Green Bay, I would like your input in creating a campus bulletin board and a blog with a powerful message. Your input would support what local employers look for when hiring an employee.
As a career college, our main goal is to prepare our students for the workforce based on local employer needs/wants. While many of the needs may include certain skills they need to master, the majority of employers in the past have mentioned that while many skills can be taught on the job, soft skills cannot. If willing, could you provide a statement that shares the top quality or attribute you look for when interviewing a candidate for an open position? Furthermore, if comfortable, could you share the reason you specifically selected one of our recent graduates?”
Not only did our local employers respond, they provided students a chance to prepare for their next interview in a way that will set them apart from the rest. We have been provided the inner scoop. Student should read this, retain this, and practice every day for the next interview because one can never be too prepared.
Top Qualities Employees Possess
Blaire Hill, from the Animal House in De Pere, seeks the following characteristics: energetic, personable, progressive, caring, dedicated, gregarious, confident, friendly, helpful and flexible.
These characteristics help support the culture they strive to maintain at the Animal House. As Blaire pointed out, “We started with characteristics that our owner, Dr. Pat Warpinski, possesses and wanted our business to be founded on them. These characteristics are very important to this day!”
Jenny Vandevelde from Countrycare shares similar feedback and also added that during the initial phone interview, Countrycare wants to hear that the candidate is “well spoken, with little to no slang.”
They also pay close attention to “attitude — are they just looking for a job or are they looking for how they can help the company as well.” Furthermore, they work to determine the quality of the applicants’ listening skills and whether or not they possess confidence. If the candidate can get past these obstacles, the candidate moves on to an initial interview.
During this interview, the employers watch for maturity level, confidence, eye contact, that the candidate is well-rounded, volunteerism, goals — “do they have goals other than to get a job?” They also look for intelligence, strong people and organizational skills, that the candidate is well spoken, and “do they fit with our clinic mission and staff?” All employees at Countrycare must feel the candidate represents these characteristics to be a good fit for their clinic if an offer is to be extended.
Symantha Ziolkowski, hospital administrator at the Green Bay Animal Emergency Center, also shared that “certain skills are mastered over time through experience and soft skills are much harder to learn.” As a prior instructor at Globe University-Green Bay, Symantha understands that it is imperative that career colleges incorporate soft skills training into their curriculum because “students are significantly lacking basic interpersonal skills.” Top qualities she seeks are “solid communication skills, emotional intelligence and critical thinking.”
Michael Hillmer, human resources manager at Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin and Forefront Dermatology, shares that the areas they look for are the “quality of their externship (duties, responsibilities), and the quality of the program that they are coming from. Globe graduates have had a lot of success with our company. They are well prepared and integrate very easily into the workplace.”
While they each may have answered the initial question slightly differently from on another, it is safe to say that all of them are seeking individuals that show they have a vested interest in working for them. Candidates must show employers they are seeking a career, not a job. Candidates must show they have researched the company they are interviewing with. They must have a general understanding of the company’s mission and vision prior to interviewing.
Feedback from Employers on Graduates
The Animal House: As a recent graduate of Globe University, Jodi Wendricks found herself looking to start her career as a veterinary technician. She graduated in the top of her class, had farm experience, and completed a small animal externship with us. Yet, these were not primary reasons we hired her. We were not even in need of a technician at the time. We made room for Jodi because she was extremely energetic, personable, progressive, caring, dedicated, gregarious, confident, friendly, helpful and flexible. She was a ‘good fit’ with our business culture!”
Green Bay Animal Emergency Center: Rachel is a bright, young woman that has previous professional work experience, combined with academic training at Globe University. This has developed her into a solid employee. We are happy to have her as a part of our team.
And there it is. Thank you to all of our local employers for taking a moment to share the secret to securing a position within their companies. Thank you for supporting Globe’s goal in preparing our students for their future careers.
Students, if you have not done so already, make sure you are regularly utilizing our career services. Mark Taggart, career services coordinator, is waiting to assist you in securing your future career.