« Building a nest egg not a top priority for many Canadians | Main | New proposals continue to shrink public sector pensions »

May 24, 2021

Employers look for personality, skill set when hiring students

298822_6140Students are now winding up their high school and post-secondary education and getting ready to hit the pavement looking for job opportunities.

With almost half of Canadians employers (51 per cent) anticipating on hiring students or recent grads this year, it's good to know just what they are looking for in a candidate.

According to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal, the candidate's personality trait came out on top with 30 per cent of business owners ranking this characteristic as the one of the most important qualities when selecting a new employee.

And believe it or not, your degree earned and the school you attended ranked the least important to potential employers (three per cent).

Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, BMO Commercial Banking, says, "With so many students looking for employment, it's encouraging to see Canadian companies with a notable appetite to hire students or recent graduates.

"These organizations recognize that this group of Canadians offers a wealth of valuable traits and talents to the workforce."

A student's skill set took second place with employers surveyed, with 26 per cent indicating it as an important asset; followed by work experience (15 per cent).

References and recommendations were important to eight per cent when assessing junior job candidates.

Across the various sectors, skill set ranked top amongst employers in manufacturing, while the service sector preferred personality over the candidate's skill set.

Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets, says, "Employment among those in the graduate range of 20 - 24 has trended moderately higher since the recession.

"For popular summer jobs such as those in tourism, students or graduates might see less opportunity this summer due to the strong loonie, and Canadian shoppers keeping a tighter grip on their wallets. However, the expected upturn in U.S. demand should have a positive impact on Canada's economy and job prospects."

With a daughter who will be graduating this year, I welcome the news.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

What do you think potential employers are looking for when hiring a recent graduate? Do you think that their credentials and education is important in landing that first job?



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...