If you look up the role description or selection criteria of many graduate jobs today, you will notice most employers look for certain things: teamwork skills, work experience, demonstrated analytical and research skills, leadership skills etc.

But what do employers actually look for? It's often not what they state in the selection criteria. You'd be surprised with the results of the latest survey by Graduate Careers Australia.

Graduate Outlook 2013, Graduate Careers Australia’s annual report on graduate recruitment practices and trends in Australasia, is now in its ninth year. The survey examines the current perspectives of graduate recruiters to present a focused and meaningful overview of the graduate recruitment labour market.

In this post, we will look at the most desired characteristics of the selection criteria used when assessing potential graduate employees. Over the next coming weeks, we'll explore outstanding (and not so outstanding) aspects of graduate applications and the role of the graduate’s social media profile and its influence in the recruitment decision-making process.

In the survey, participating employers were asked to nominate which three selection criteria, aside from relevant qualifications, they considered to be most important when evaluating applicants.

Insight into Legal Recruitment

When the rankings of these key selection criteria are examined within employer industries, ‘Interpersonal and communication skills (etc.)’ remained the single most frequently nominated selection criterion for all of the industry groups under examination.

Critical reasoning and analytical skills’ was not highly ranked for employers in the Legal industry compared to others.

Calibre of academic results’ was an important selection criterion for employers in Legal (ranked third), as well as ‘Emotional intelligence’.

Overall, ‘Leadership skills’ was considered to be the least important selection criterion to graduate employers, with employers potentially viewing this as a skill that can be fostered within an organisation once a graduate begins in a program.

On our post next week, we'll look at least desirable graduate characteristics.