Traits Employers Look for When Hiring

Take a look at these interesting and relevant results from a recent survey that asked US Employers how they hire students into jobs:

First, what traits do employers view as most important when reviewing students’ resumes?


Ability to work in a team 81.0% 

Problem-solving skills 79.0%

Analytical/quantitative skills 76.1%

Communication skills (verbal) 73.2%

Communication skills (written) 72.7%

Initiative 67.8%

Leadership 67.8%

Technical skills 67.8%


Second, how do employers choose between equally qualified candidates?


1- Has internship experience 

2- Relevant Program/Concentration

3- Has held leadership position

4- Has general work experience

5- Has been involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs

6- High GPA 

Source: “Job Outlook 2021 Spring Update”  by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The employer data shows that hands-on experience, teamwork, communication skills, leadership and other “soft skills” are equally important to employers as GPA, and analytical & technical skills. 

So what does this mean for you as a student at the Brandeis International Business School?  Our advice, based on what successful students have done in recent job recruiting cycles:  

  • In the classroom, seek opportunities to work in groups to hone your communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills
  • Gain experience and hone these skills outside the classroom via:
    1. Field Projects
    2. Internships
    3. Case Competitions
    4. Clubs and other extracurricular & leadership activities 
  • Practice your communication skills and interviewing skills via:
    1. Practice interviews with your career coach, offered by the CSE
    2. Big Interview software platform, offered by CSE
    3. Weekly Finance Coffee Chats, offered by the CSE
    4. Weekly Case Practice Sessions, offered by the CSE
    5. Work with Amy Rinaldo, Associate Director of the English Language Program at Brandeis, to improve your presentation skills and writing abilities

As Jennifer Voldins, the CSE MSF Career Coach observed: 

In the finance industry, “soft” skills are as important as “hard” skills and are highly sought by employers. Soft skills encompass a wide variety of personal attributes including integrity, creative thinking, positive attitude, grit, time management, empathy, curiosity and effective communication abilities. 

During the interview process, employers ask numerous behavioral questions to evaluate a job candidate’s soft skills to determine whether the candidate is a good “fit” for the position and the firm.

Remember, if you want to be a strong candidate at top US employers,  it’s simply not enough to be a good student with a high GPA.  You must show that you communicate effectively, work well with others, take initiative, and show leadership.  Use your time at the Brandeis International Business School to develop these important skills!

By Frank Fessenden
Frank Fessenden Executive Director