Employers tell what they value in applicants

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    By ANGELA HOWELL

    Impressing a potential employer can be tough. Each manager is unique with a unique set of expectations.

    Three managers gave different perspectives on what they look for in a good employee.

    Steve Taggart, director of BYU Conferences and Workshops, said, “When I’m hiring, I look for people who are comfortable with who they are, … (people) who are genuine in the interview.”

    “Everybody with much intelligence can anticipate what kind of answers to questions an employer wants, but it’s not really the answers that I look for,” he said. Instead, Taggart said he looks for sincerity and honesty.

    “I don’t believe in making hiring decisions based on something that you can teach, unless it’s a real short-term job.” He said he looks for intelligence and work ethics, “and when those are there, you can go a long way in training on other things.”

    Taggart also said he looks for “people who value people,” and he likes “a can-do attitude.”

    “I look for people who work hard, who do what they say they’ll do, who are willing to go the extra mile, regardless of what their job description says,” Taggart said.

    He said he likes people who are “willing to look outside the box — to not just look at how things are done, but what it is we’re trying to accomplish, and ‘Is there a better way to do that?’ I don’t care what level a person is at. That kind of input is invaluable.”

    “I expect my employees to have a life outside of work. … There needs to be a balance between what is given here and what is given at home and (at) church. … When there is (a balance), they’re healthier, more valuable employees. When there isn’t (a balance), they burn out, and they’re not as effective,” Taggart said.

    Dan Reilley, lead recruiter at Novell, gave a different take on the subject.

    Reilley said he is impressed with skills, abilities, past experiences and qualifications.

    In reference to conducting interviews, Reilley said, “I’m not impressed with people who can say that they are hard working. I’m impressed by people who can demonstrate they have worked hard.”

    Reilley also said potential employees should not give short answers to closed-ended interview questions. “If somebody asks a very closed-ended question that you could easily answer with yes or no, don’t answer yes or no. … Answer questions with experience and examples.”

    Claire Averett, vice president of human resources at Nu Skin International, said the first thing she looks for in a potential employee is if he or she has a background that is “applicable to the job.”

    Averett said she next looks for confidence and appearance. She said she is impressed with someone who is “dressed professionally and is confident in their answers but not arrogant.”

    Averett said she is impressed by new employees who are punctual, pay attention and are willing to learn.

    She said she later looks for qualities such as being able to work independently, knowing how to network with people and getting a job done.

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