What companies really look for in potential student hires


What employers look for in potential hires. Photo credit: Hannah Yeager

A line of students at the doors of the BMU are dressed in business, casual or professional attire, already thinking of the specific company they are going to approach and apply to, as they slowly start to move through the doors and into the brightly lit room.

On Nov. 1, Chico State held a career and internship fair for students where employers look for students to take entry-level jobs or internships. Advisors and preparatory seminars are provided by the school to help prepare students and alumni for the career fair with resumes and interview skills.

Ultimately, 100 employers showed up, according to the Chico State website, setting up tables with colorful banners and logos to attract the best and brightest students, and over 50 students cycled in and out of the BMU during the three hour period the doors were open.

Students had a generally positive first impression of the employers. A Chico State student looking for jobs in engineering, Jonathan Cook said, “There were a lot (of employers) and they were really knowledgeable and had a lot of questions for us.”

Cook appreciated the fact that the employers asked him questions about his experience and schooling. It made each conversation feel like a first interview instead of a talking to someone who was just collecting resumes.

Though the career fair, which is one of many that Chico State puts on each semester, was a success, the main worry that plagued every student at some point during the fair was the looming idea that employers already have an idea of the type of prospective student hires they are looking for.

Every moment counts. Every conversation, the way you present yourself, and what you say and put on your resume all counts in the few minutes that you get with the recruiters at each table. The truth is that according to an insidehighered.com study on student preparedness, only 37 percent of employers think that students are prepared for the key aspects of working for their business. Twice as many students believe that they are prepared in those areas.

After surveying 10 to 14 of the different employers at the career fair, six traits were repeated multiple times and stood out as the most important characteristics of a potential hire.

1.Good Attitude

Most of the employers at the recent Career fair on campus, especially businesses like Yelp and Kohls, see this as an important part of customer service/sales. It can also be important for any job where interacting with coworkers or colleagues is something you do daily.

2. Hardworking

Almost every employer mentioned this one. They didn’t want someone who wouldn’t apply themselves. The importance of being able to work hard at any task was something that they, according to PEPSICO recruiter Courtney Richter, couldn’t emphasize enough.

3. Driven

The company that mentioned this one the most was Deer Creek Broadcasting. Recruiter Dean Fregoso mentioned how being a “go-getter” was important in the radio business. Being able to present yourself in that way was something that his company looked for in a prospective intern.

4. Social Skills

Any company that was hiring for sales, customer service or retail, like Resort at Squaw Creek, looked for someone who could relate to people really well. Having good social skills is extremely important in that field of work according to recruiter Courtney Mckay from Squaw Creek.

5. Teachability

Learning and taking criticism gracefully is an important aspect of a lot of different jobs relating to fast-paced, high-pressure environments. If you can bring teachability into any workplace, no employer will complain.

6. Multi-tasker

This trait was most important to Travelers, an insurance company, and their recruiters Sam Walmsley and Mitch Hudson. They mentioned that having the ability to move quickly and work through multiple tasks at once was important for their job specifically. However, three other companies also mentioned that this was important. Five others mentioned something similar.

Overall, there are multiple different qualities that were mentioned by employers surveyed but these were the ones repeated. Looking up online ways to work harder at the traits you are weak in and fine-tune the ones you excel at will help you be one or two steps ahead of other students at the next Career and Internship Fair which will be held April 4, 2018, during the spring semester.

Hannah Yeager can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.