What do employers look for in a potential employee?

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SHERIDAN — Employers flocked Wednesday to Sheridan College for the spring career network fair. The college, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Health Care System hosted the event, which brought vendors from around the state and region.

There were 50 employers at the job fair all looking for the next great hire in an array of industries, including construction, engineering, sales, education and the military.

So what is the most important thing employers looked for in a job seeker? What must an employee possess to find a job, the right job?

EMIT Technologies director of manufacturing Sean K. Waters, who works in Sheridan, said the main factor seems obvious.

“Believe it or not, the fact that they’re actually interested in the job,” Waters said.

For Waters, that means an interviewee has done research on the company and position for which he or she applied, dresses in an appropriate manner and relates his or her experience to the job. Not all applicants meet that criteria, an immediate red flag to Waters.

Regional Training Center recruiter and public relations manager Paul Nash works in Casper for the company that trains adults in fields like technology and medical work.

Nash stressed timeliness.

“We want students to show up on time and who want to work hard when they get there,” Nash said.

Nash said it is hard to determine one’s punctuality and willingness to work hard from a conversation or interview, but he can gauge one’s level of interest. The more one is interested in a certain field or position, the more likely he or she will be on time and work hard, he concluded.

WWC Engineering branch manager Chad Reed is in charge of an office in Sheridan and oversees about 40 employees. He emphasized the ability to fit in with workplace colleagues. The desire to spend time around coworkers is a huge part of what the company looks for in an applicant.

Similarly, Budget Blinds owner James Jensen, who works in Sheridan, said he looks for people skills and a friendly attitude among potential hirees. Those traits are critical because most employees perform window work in customers’ homes.

Jensen said it is a good exercise for him to picture a potential employee installing window blinds in a grandmother’s house. If he can envision the person getting along with the grandmother, that is a good sign. If not, that doesn’t bode well.

Wyoming Army National Guard staff sergeant and recruiter Jeffrey Blascyk said an applicant’s motivation and ability to withstand adversity are imperative.

Blascyk is looking for “someone that is OK with stress and is driven and goal-oriented,” he said.

 While the desirable attributes varied, most hiring managers at Wednesday’s job fair looked for interested individuals who were friendly, timely and ready to work.

So what were job seekers trying to convey?


How do job seekers seperate themselves from the field?

All of the potential employees at Wednesday’s spring career network fair tried to differentiate themselves, but how did they do that in a crowded field? What do they think employers value above all else?

For Tongue River High School junior Ethan Hines, a respectful demeanor is key.

Hines is interested in eventually working in construction or as a diesel mechanic and plans to attend Sheridan College.

“Be respectful and tell them things you’re good at and what you see yourself planning to do when you get out of school,” Hines said. “They’re looking for experienced people who know how to work.”

John C. Schiffer Collaborative School junior Bailey O’Leary said another important aspect to snagging an open position is being relaxed and down to earth. O’Leary is interested in pursuing a career in psychology.

“I feel like if I were an employer, there are some people who get too full of themselves because they have too much preparation and come off a bit talky,” O’Leary said. “There are certain traits in people that are more appealing … Just a more relatable demeanor, I guess.”

Schiffer School senior Audra Lynam, who is planning to study elementary education, believed emotional intelligence was essential.

“I think it’s important that you present yourself as irreplaceable,” Lynam said.

Big Horn High School juniors Kobie Cummins and Jared Juergens said first impressions are key, like confidently walking up to a potential employer and giving a firm handshake. Juergens is interested in machining and welding, while Cummins would like to study information technology.

“That game face, like you want to be there and you’re confident,” Cummins said. “It seems like they want someone that’s confident and hard-working.”

Schiffer School senior Hallie Guillen, who is considering attending veterinarian school, mentioned body language as well, specifically making eye contact.

 Many students tried to bring less tangible qualities to the career fair — confidence and emotional intelligence.  If they can pair those traits with those for which employers are looking — interest, punctuality and the willingness to work hard — the job search might quickly become a job find.

By |April 13th, 2018|

About the Author:

Ryan Patterson joined The Sheridan Press staff as a reporter covering education, business and sports in August 2017. He's a native of Wisconsin and graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor's in journalism in May 2017. Email him at: ryan.patterson@thesheridanpress.com.


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