Employers want employees who can produce tangible value for them through their skills
“I don’t believe in work; I only believe in creating value.” – James Blacker
The value created by employees determines a company’s survival and future. Therefore, when hiring, employers focus on the candidate’s potential value to their company.
Most people see work as nothing more than a means to an end – a way “to make a living.” Therefore, when searching for a job, most people simply list their skills on their resume and LinkedIn profile and rattle them off when interviewing. Conversely, hiring managers are more interested in finding out how you can add value to their company with your skills and experience (READ: track record).
Every time a candidate, during an interview, cites their list of “skills,” which I have read on their resume or seen on their LinkedIn profile, I think, “How will these skills help me achieve my goals?” Hence hiring managers need to play detective by asking discovery questions such as, “Tell me a time when …” to identify how, for example, your claiming to possess “wizard-like” Excel skills will be of value to the company.
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Rather than waiting for your interviewer to ask you discovery questions, you can earn mega points when you are inevitably asked “Tell me about yourself” by:
- Describing how you have used Excel to solve problems or improve processes. For instance, you might mention how you created a complex financial model, analyzed data to identify trends or patterns, or used advanced functions to streamline a process.
- Explaining the potential cost savings and revenue generation resulting from your Excel skills. For example, improving financial reporting accuracy, reducing data entry errors, or accelerating decision-making through data visualization.
- Discussing how your Excel skills can help the employer achieve their goals. For example, if the employer wants to improve their supply chain management, you could discuss how you have used Excel to track inventory and forecast demand.
Bottom line: Hiring managers are looking for candidates who show they understand the role and are hungry to deliver massive results.
As I have stated in previous columns, employers hire candidates who they feel will achieve results and create value.
You are not not getting selected for interviews, or being rejected after being interviewed, because:
- Your resume has horizontal lines or red font.
- Your resume lacked the right keywords.
- Instead of five paragraphs, your cover letter had four.
- Your interview attire was blue rather than grey.
You are getting rejected because you are not persuasively explaining how your skills will add value to the company.
There are three ways an employee creates value:
- Revenue Growth:
Without revenue, a business ceases to exist. Therefore, revenue-generating employees are highly valued. These employees are eliminating what every employer stresses over: keeping revenue, the lifeblood of every business, flowing.
If you are a sales or marketing professional, you should be able to easily show, using numbers, which every employer understands, how you have contributed to your employer’s bottom line.
Tip for those looking to make a career change: Jobs are generally more secure in professions that generate revenue.
- Cost Reduction:
Cost control is crucial to a business’s survival and profitability. Therefore, employers are constantly looking for ways to keep their expenses as low as possible.
Consider your past and present roles. Did you save money? Did you improve delivery efficiency resulting in increasing customer retention? As a manager, do you have a track record of employee retention, thus not necessitating your employer having to go through the expense of hiring replacements? There are opportunities to control costs in virtually every position.
Employees who give their employer the freedom to focus on the big picture are highly valued. Do you deliver consistently, within expectations, so your boss can focus on more than just managing your work and results?
I have never encountered a manager who does not want to give their employees autonomy. However, many managers believe their employees have yet to show they can work autonomously and consistently deliver results. Call it what you will, power-hungry, micromanaging, your boss is responsible to their boss for your results, and therefore they must feel comfortable allowing you to work autonomously.
In contrast to proving you can generate revenue or reduce costs through numbers, proving you can work autonomously can be challenging. I advise having at least 2 STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) stories ready to showcase your ability to work autonomously.
When job searching, remember your skills are the tools you use to provide value to an employer and that employers are looking to hire the candidate they believe will provide the most value for their salary.
Look at it this way: If someone asked you to list all your skills, they would be impressed. But if they were to ask you how those skills have created value for your employers, they would be even more impressed. It is not just the possession of skills that employers want. Employers want employees who can produce tangible value for them through their skills.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.
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