A new report by the National Network taps the expertise of employers who have created models or promising practices for assessing Common Employability Skills (CES) – the set of foundational skills every individual needs to get, and keep, a job in the modern economy.
These skills include a strong academic grounding in reading and math, as well as individual traits and abilities like teamwork, problem solving, work ethic and integrity. Despite their importance to job success, these skills remain among the hardest to assess when deciding whether to hire a new employee.
The Common Employability Skills are categorized into four thematic areas. They are:
- Personal Skills such as integrity, dependability and initiative;
- People Skills like teamwork, respect and communication;
- Workplace Skills including problem solving, customer focus and planning; and
- Applied Knowledge in the areas of reading, math and technology.
In its new report, the National Network examines four very different companies in different sectors, each of which desires to hire entry-level employees with the skills and attributes that position them to succeed in the immediate job and potential future positions.
While there are many differences among these companies, the common thread is that each can clearly articulate the foundational skills and competencies needed by entry-level employees, and they have intentionally created processes and policies to identify, assess and coach those skills.
Other general conclusions emerged, including:
- Defining the set of key skills most important to the job in question is critical to developing areas of inquiry during the hiring process.
- The skills and competencies needed to conduct an interview and assess a candidate’s answers and fit for the position are critical to the process.
- The opportunity to observe a candidate through an internship or other work-and-learn experiences improves the chances of a successful hire.
The National Network hopes the report provides valuable insights for employers seeking to improve their assessment of the CES.