April 27, 2011 – What types of workers are most in demand today? Employers are hiring employees who are experienced in their businesses, team-oriented, customer-focused, have a track record for achieving the results they want, and work smart, according to a new survey by OI Partners, a global talent management firm.

To recruit them, companies are more frequently using social media sites than last year, posting jobs on their company websites, obtaining referrals from current workers, and hiring people first as contract or temporary employees, the survey found.

While 54% of employers have increased hiring, 42% are also more concerned about retaining their current employees than they were last year, according to the survey by OI Partners.

Many job applicants can expect the process to take more time before decisions are made. One-third of employers say it is taking longer to bring people on board this year as companies delay hiring to make sure that their business justifies the additional staff and conduct more interviews to confirm they are selecting the best candidates.

Employers are also interviewing candidates by phone more often, having teams of employees conduct interviews, and are making greater use of behavioral interviews, according to the survey of 184 employers.

General operations workers (such as customer service or producing goods and services) are the types of employees most in demand, followed by sales, information technology, administration, finance, and human resources workers.

“Employers are being more selective in the types of employees they want, and the methods they are using to find and interview them,” said Tim Schoonover, chairman of OI Partners.

“Employers want workers who know their businesses and have accomplished goals similar to those they are seeking to achieve. Companies also are looking for people who work well together and realize how important customers are in this challenging economy,” Schoonover added.

Almost as many surveyed employers are more concerned about retaining present employees now that the job market has improved as are businesses that are hiring new workers. “Employers are placing a higher priority on demonstrating to their most talented workers how valued they are, investing in their career development, and ensuring they reach their full potential,” said Schoonover.

The survey also offers some job-search and interviewing advice for candidates. “Employers in the survey are using LinkedIn and their company websites more than last year to find qualified workers, so these should have a higher place in a job search. Also, practice for telephone interviews, being interviewed by several people at once, and responding to behavioral interviews with a variety of examples and situations from your experience to show you have the skills necessary to succeed,” said Schoonover.

According to results of the OI Partners survey on recruitment-related issues:

Changes in employers’ hiring from last year:
Hiring more employees: 54%
Hiring same number of employees: 24%
Hiring fewer workers: 22%

How much employers are concerned about employee retention:
Same concern about retaining employees as last year: 50%
More concerned about retaining workers than last year: 42%
Less concerned about retaining workers than last year: 8%

Qualities employers are seeking in new hires:
Related experience in their industries: 77%
Team-oriented: 71%
Customer-focused: 63%
Track record for achieving employer’s goals: 62%
Work smart: 60%
Work hard: 56%
Can add value in indirect non-financial ways: 46%
Can make immediate impact on bottom line: 39%

Ways employers have changed recruitment methods:
Recruiting through LinkedIn more often: 44%
Posting more jobs on their company websites: 36%
More frequently using employee referrals: 32%
Using more contract and temporary-to-permanent workers: 25%
Using local candidates more often: 22%
Using Facebook more to recruit workers: 19%

How interviewing methods have changed:
Conducting more telephone interviews: 54%
Using more interviews by teams or panels: 41%
Using more behavioral-based interviews: 36%
Using more assessment tools: 22%
Using more video interviews: 13%

How quickly hiring decisions are being made:
About the same amount of time as last year: 63%
Taking longer to hire employees: 32%
Taking less time to hire workers: 5%

Types of workers being hired:
General operations: 67%
Sales: 40%
Information technology: 35%
Administration: 30%
Finance: 26%
Human resources: 16%
Legal: 7%

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