Category Archives: job search

Which Skills Do Employers and Job Seekers Overrate The Most

overrated skills You click the SAVE button with a satisfied smile on your face as you’ve got your resume makeover. You structured the perfect bullet points, the resume is just a little more than a page, and its new design is more than awesome (thanks to the few dozen resumes you reviewed to get inspiration).

So, you are ready to get your baby take off to tens, and maybe hundreds of HR managers’ inboxes (never forgetting to adapt it per the position, of course), but you cannot help yourself stop thinking about the perfect skill set that will get you through that door – the interview door.

Well let me tell you a secret, publicly known. There is no perfect set of skills and there is no perfect resume. As long as you are well aware of your strongest qualities, and the ways to convince your future employer that ‘you are the solution to their problem’, then you are on the right track.

While there may not be an absolute skill set, as it depends on many factors, such as the position you are applying for, the company, the way you ‘market’ yourself and the interviewer’s mood, of course, there is a set of largely overrated skills by all of us. Those skills are given much more weight than others – the ones, which would really make the difference between an average and a great candidate.

Here are the most frequently overestimated skills by both interviewers and job seekers, which I found over the web, which you should be aware of and could make use of the information for your next job interview.

Not making mistakes vs. Learning from them and not repeating them

Most people, often subconsciously, tend to seek perfection and put heavier weight on demanding a flawlessly executed task. Where having an awesome employee who can handle any task just the way they want, effectively and in a timely-manner may be the dream of any business owner, this may often not correspond with the real office life. What some entrepreneurs have come to understand is that employees who’ve gone through some rough times in their career may offer more efficient solutions to problems due to their ‘lessons-learned’ attitude, as opposed to those whose work always seems to run smoothly.

Focusing too much on doing things perfectly, may in fact lead to missed opportunities and lost value, which could have otherwise been brought in the occasion of a mistake. You see, ‘failure is success in the making’, and although you won’t find many documented failures in history, you might find many successful stories, which happened right after a failure, such as the story of Steve Jobs coming up with the iPhone after he had been fired from Apple.

Multi-tasking vs. Doing one thing at a time but doing it well

There are more than a few articles written lately about how multitasking might not be the best road to productivity and success at work, as our brains are not programmed to do more than one thing at a time. Despite the piles of evidence of the contrary, recruiters continue to seek for people who can do multiple tasks at a time, and candidates continue to promote their ability to do so. We should all keep Brian Tracy’s advice in mind: “It’s not the time you spend working overall, but the amount of time you spend working on high priority tasks”.

Networking vs. Knowing stuff

While networking has been and always will be important, especially in the communications related field, many employers overestimate the importance of WHO you know as opposed to WHAT you know. Living in times, where finding a great graphic designer or a decent PR is just a few Google, or LinkedIn, or Facebook clicks away (you name it), what employers should be really be focusing on is what the future job candidate does know and how they may implement their knowledge in the organization. Knowing someone just because you were in the right place, at the right time should be given less weight than being resourceful enough to know how and where to get your information from – for obvious reasons. If it doesn’t prove anything else, at least it shows creativity.

GPA vs. Real-life experience

Many job descriptions do have a requirement of a minimum GPA, or number of ‘O’ or/and ‘A’ Levels taken. While recruiters might have a good motivation to do that, there are more than a few examples of successful people who did great in life, but poorly at school. The GPA or any other school assessment score might showcase a candidate’s ambition, a certain type of intelligence and perhaps, to some extent, the ability to learn and apply your knowledge, but it does not have to be a leading factor when choosing the right employee. The ability to handle stressful situations, the ability to earn a tough client or tackle a customer complaint with grace are all qualities, which cannot be read from your GPA score.

Collaboration vs. Orientation towards results

While being a team player and able to collaborate well with your co-workers is a great asset, the value it brings is often overestimated by companies. Being collaborative for the sake of being viewed as a team player doesn’t really do much, except it shows how good you communicate with your co-workers. In business, results matter the most. So, if a person would bring much value, simply by doing individual tasks, then let it be – after all we cannot force everybody to like everybody. Being nice is nice, being respected for producing results is even nicer.

Experience vs. Inner flair to outperform

I have one question for you: Which is better – to have someone who can do all the work quickly and efficiently or someone who claims to have all the experience but keeps procrastinating?

There are more than a few instances of people with experience close to none being able to learn so quickly that they outperform their much more experienced co-workers in various fields. HR recruiters often get impressed with the years of experience someone has, but tend to ignore the signs of a future overachiever. It is true that experience is a metric which cannot be easily overlooked, however a true entrepreneur should be able to read the traits of a future talent and be able to give them the chance to prove their capabilities. This, of course, depends not only on the intuition and willingness of employers to hire a soon-to-be office star, but also on the resources they have and/or are willing to spend on their training.

Do keep those puffed up skills and qualities in mind when you show up on your next job interview and let me know if you feel there is an overrated skill I missed in the comments below.