First let me state that this article is targeting fresh grads and young professionals. It is not aimed at the 5% of top talents (as there are tons of advices for this group) but at the 95% that do not qualify as top talents and instead of being hunted by companies to be hired … have to hunt companies to land a job.
Based on my experience as hiring manager, I can suggest that there are four expectations a hiring manager has when hiring fresh grads or young professionals for a junior position – enthusiasm, knowing one’s road, willingness to learn and modesty.
Enthusiasm is one of essentials to be successful is any position. It is a state of mind that turns threats to opportunities, problems to challenges. Judging on the level of enthusiasm a hiring manager can make a good guess if the applicant in question will respond to difficult situations with “let’s do it” instead of “it can’t be done”. There are many out there that can tell me that something can not be done and far less of those telling me how it can be done.
Knowing one’s road can show a hiring manager that the applicant thought about his own future, compared his/her strengths and weaknesses and decided about a professional path. Especially with fresh grads and young professionals a hiring manager enters a possible risk that after a while the young man/woman finds out that the actual position is not what he/she thought it would be and decides to change company/industry/profession.
Willingness to learn is another essential. There are many things in the corporate world that a young grad has never heard of before, many skills to learn and master, much experience to gather. Is the applicant willing to invest the time and energy to learn or does he/she think that the university and a few months/years of side jobs made him/her already a senior professional?
Modesty is simple an attitude I am expecting from someone applying for his/her first job. While I agree that today’s fresh grads and young professionals can bring out-of-the-box thinking and ideas into any company and profession, there are many skills that they are missing. In many cases applicant are missing the knowledge and experience connected directly with the company, it’s culture, ways of working and even politics. Asking for a sky high pay because one was best in his class is just not enough. Explaining how one can change the whole company without spending a single day actually working for the company is not modest at all.