The Skills Employers Want the Most

Three LinkedIn reports give insight into what hiring managers are seeking

5 August 2017

Companies in finance, media, technology, and practically all other fields are seeking employees with a background in machine learning, cybersecurity, data analytics, and cloud technology. But hiring managers are looking for those who also are organized, punctual, and friendly, according to several reports recently released by LinkedIn.

The career website based its Top Companies list on an analysis of data including the number of people who applied for jobs via LinkedIn at each company and how long they worked there based on employees’ profiles. The top four are Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, and Salesforce.

LinkedIn cited what skills the top companies want, according to interviews with 25 hiring managers. The most sought-after technical skills, it found, are Web programming, Java development, and proficiency in C/C++ coding languages. The hiring managers reported having a hard time finding enough workers with such backgrounds.

Another report focused on the soft skills that employers look for.

Here is advice from hiring managers about what they’re looking for in candidates.

SEEKING TECH-SAVVY EMPLOYEES

Management consulting firm Deloitte has a motto it calls the three Ds: detail, digital, and disruption. Its hiring managers keep all three in mind when interviewing potential employees.

“Those three Ds are a great North Star for us as we think about the workforce of the future,” says Heidi Soltis-Berner, managing director of Deloitte University, the company’s leadership-development facility.

The company is looking for analytical thinkers with problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills, Soltis-Berner says.

JPMorgan Chase, a banking and financial services company, needs employees who do more than crunch numbers, according to John L. Donnelly, head of human resources. Modern banking involves using data to customize products and services, Donnelly notes, and JPMorgan Chase seeks employees with specialized tech experience, including software engineers, technical architects, and Web security administrators.

Taylor Cascino, head of talent acquisition at Square, a maker of credit card and digital payment readers, says most top tech companies are looking to hire engineers with machine learning and data science experience. Square seeks candidates for positions in data analysis, software engineering, and sales engineering, Cascino says.

“We find ourselves competing with other [technology] firms a lot of the time,” he says.

It might not be enough to have a specialized tech skill, though. Companies seek people who can cross over into other areas including social-media marketing and sales.

Steve Price, chief of human resources at computer company Dell, says sales and engineering are its two most important positions. The company’s hiring managers are “predators on sharp patrol,” looking for engineers who can also sell products, he says.

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

Soft skills are important, according to more than 290 hiring managers surveyed last year by LinkedIn. Some 58 percent said the lack of soft skills among candidates is “limiting their company’s productivity.”

Based on their responses and an analysis LinkedIn conducted of the soft skills listed on its members’ profiles who switched jobs between June 2014 and June 2015, the company published a list of the 10 most in-demand soft skills. The top five are communication, organization, teamwork, punctuality, and critical thinking.

“What’s most in demand—and the hardest to get—is a combination: someone who is highly technical but also has leadership or business strategy skills,” says Bill Strahan, Comcast Cable’s executive vice president of human resources.

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