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Young Midwestern Job Seekers Say Improving Their Interviewing Skills a Must

CHICAGO Feb. 8, 2011

Four of 10 respondents (40 percent) said interviewing is the one skill they need to improve most to help land a job. Polishing a resume ranked second at 29 percent, ahead of following up with the employer (15 percent) and understanding employer expectations (14 percent).

The 500 respondents, all between the ages of 18 to 35, believe their ability to converse is critical to a successful job hunt. Nearly half, 45 percent, think speaking skills are one of the two most important attributes hiring managers use to judge potential employees. This quality ranked higher than personal appearance (40 percent) and education (25 percent). Only previous work experience, named by 60 percent, surpassed speaking skills in importance.

Sean Quinn

What job interview question is the toughest to answer? Nearly 3 of 10 (28 percent) named, "What is your worst quality?" Other questions deemed difficult were, "Where would you like to see yourself professionally in five years?" (20 percent) and, "What is your salary requirement?" (cited by 19 percent).

Respondents also were split in how they would thank their interviewers. More than two-thirds (68 percent) opt for a verbal thank you at the end of the interview, 31 percent would send a handwritten card or note, and 29 percent would write an e-mail. (Multiple responses were permitted.)

"These kinds of issues are addressed at the interview training sessions we conduct for students," Quinn said. "We also cover resume writing and salary negotiations."

"During our training sessions we recommend that after an interview you follow up with an e-mail to the company," Quinn added, "although any form of follow-up is key to making a good impression to an employer."  

Other survey results uncovered these perspectives (multiple responses were permitted):

  • Being on-time ranked first as one way job seekers believe they can make a favorable impression at a job interview, cited by 91 percent as either very important or important. More than eight in 10 said leaving a nice copy of your resume (85 percent) and providing references (83 percent) are ways to impress.
  • The Internet was named the best source for finding job opportunities. Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) said employment websites are ideal sources and more than half (51 percent) named listings on prospective employers’ websites. Friends and family ranked second at 57 percent. Traditional sources still have popularity, as 44 percent selected classified ads in newspapers and 25 percent said alumni/former school connections.
  • Experience, by far, was named as one of the three most important aspects of a resume, cited by 81 percent of respondents. Also ranked highly were description of skills (65 percent) and education (55 percent).  

"Many of these opinions are based on recent experiences as 34 percent of those polled have been interviewed by a prospective employer in the past 12 months," Quinn said. "In addition, large numbers remain on the job hunt. Many are either unemployed (26 percent) and/or a full-time student (15 percent)."

Young adults also see a need to improve their career aspirations through education.  Forty-two percent are either very likely or likely to go to school in the next year to broaden their job opportunities.  


About Everest



Hunter Hackett or Tim Young

L.C. Williams & Associates (for Everest Colleges and Institutes)

312/565-3900 or 800/837-7123

[email protected] or [email protected]

Everest College

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