What industry wants from young people applying for their first job?

In an environment that is fast changing with technology, young people, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds need to be skilled and adaptable, to be employable. It is up to trainers and instructors, to mentor and inculcate the right skills and attitude towards work in their trainees.

A panel discussion with industry experts on ‘Industry’s expectation from first-time recruits’ moderated by Dr Meenakshi Nayar, President, ETASHA Society was organised as part of the  Capacity Building of Trainers in Employability Skills Programme at the Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Arab Ki Sarai, Nizamuddin.

The panellists were Mr. Kavi Jain, Principal Architect & Managing Director, Nirman Consultants Pvt. Ltd. from the construction sector, Mr Sandeep Bhargava, Managing Director, Frontline Imagining Pvt. Ltd. from the printing sector and Mr.Wip, CEO Hitech Automation, representing the telecom sector.

Here are the key takeaways from the session:

  • ICT Skills- An absolute must in every field. Everyone needs to be able to use word, excel and send emails in addition to being able to complete other tasks related to their trades like drafting machine parts or copying CAD drawings on a computer for instance.
  • Presentation and soft skills- It is communication and soft skills that set a few people apart from the rest. An employer is interested in the knowledge of the person but more so in the attitude and is looking to hire those who will work efficiently in a team with the highest productivity. One needs to be able to convey their ability to complete tasks in this way in interviews.
  • Ability to adapt and innovate- Science is universal but technology has to be local. Innovation is thus the ability to apply theoretical principles appropriately wherever useful. The ability to do this makes doesn’t just make one employable but also gives them higher chances for growth.
  • Awareness of industry and futuristic thinking– In addition to keeping abreast with the latest technology, one needs to develop an understanding of the implications of technological advancement. For instance, the biggest competitor to the airline industry is video conferencing. 10 years from now, travel will only be for leisure not for meetings/work. For a trainee to be able to innovate and grow there needs to be a futuristic orientation.
  • Customer orientation- A number of people in the service sector come from varied backgrounds and work together. But everyone needs to be on the same page and understand that the end goal is to provide for a customer.
  • Selling Skills- It is untrue that those in technical fields don’t need to know how to sell. Communications and sales are integral for every job. If you have different ideas, then you need to be able to sell your ideas to your boss and convince him. You always need to know how to sell an idea.
  • An understanding of the structure and hierarchies in an organisation- There must be a visit to an actual factory/ organisation to witness the actual experience of work on the floor and to have a clear picture of the overall working of the organisation.
  • An understanding of machines- An internship/apprenticeship is a must during the training programme. A trainee should spend a minimum of six months in the factory to acquaint himself with the machines.

In addition to tackling technical, trade-related questions, a few things to keep in mind while preparing for interviews:

  • Be prepared with information about the company having read the website clearly.
  • Have an answer prepared for ‘why you want to work with the company?’
  • Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and confident about answering a question about the same.
  • Confidence to ask questions and clarify doubts- If you are at an interview, and don’t understand the question, you need to have the confidence to ask the interviewer to repeat.
  • Look out for job opportunities not just in your own industry but in others too where your skills will be useful.

Written by Parul Mehra & Neha Abraham. Parul is Chief- Corporate Affairs and Skill Development and is also currently Project Head for ETASHA’s Training of Trainers Programme. Neha is ETASHA’s Communications Coordinator.