Covestro hosted December immersion for Educator in the Workforce

Covestro hosted Educator in the Workforce immersion

Academic and technical skills are important to employers, of course. But participants in our Educator in the Workforce program are hearing time and again that they’re not all that’s important and often not even most important.

“We’re asked a lot, ‘What does career-readiness look like’?” John Brandt, a Covestro Technical Manager told a group of educators at the program’s latest employer site visit. “I have to tell you, it’s changed.”

As much as employers need people who’ve achieved a certain level of mastery in their fields, they also need employees with soft-skills, he said.

“The biggest ones are communication and strong thinking skills — being able to think logically and being able to communicate,” added Brandt, who also serves Covestro as a hiring manager.

“Another thing I look for is grit,” he said. “We can’t have people who give up whenever there’s a challenge. Related to that, you have to be a self-starter, a learner…And no matter what job you do, you need to be able to work on teams.”

Because hiring criteria have changed, so have interview techniques. “We do a lot of behavioral-based interviews,” Brandt said.

Many employers looking for soft skills have made the shift as well. During so-called behavioral interviews, recruiters ask applicants to recount different kinds of situations that challenged them — whether related to tasks or interpersonal relationships— and their own responses.

For example, an interviewee might be asked to relate how they react when they’re wrong and give an example.

Educators attending the career immersion session at Covestro peppered Brandt and other hiring managers with questions, wanting to know what makes a resume stand out, among other things.

Before selecting candidates for interviews, Brandt said he and his colleagues look for things that might give clues about a candidate’s dispositions. An applicant who was on a school swim team, for example, might be someone with a good handle on how individual performance contributes to overall team success.

Finally, Brandt encouraged educators to let students know that cover letters give them an opportunity to mention things that a resume wouldn’t address.