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Key skills

Key skills
I think the number one skill that as a recruiter I look for in all candidates is commercial awareness. All candidates need to be able to make business decisions and understand why we make business decisions. Without being able to understand the operations of the organisation and why we do it, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to have a long career within the organisation. So one of the key skills that we really look for, for applicants coming through, is the ability to be flexible. And that starts right at the beginning of their career. So you can demonstrate that on an application form by really considering any area of the business that you’re willing to, really.
We are such a large organisation, and we have many opportunities that people don’t even know exist until you start. We look for people that show ownership. So when you’ve been part of a project, we’re not looking for someone who’s been a passenger, we look for someone who’s really taken it on and taken ownership of what they’ve worked on. Teamwork would be another skill that we look for. And that could be leading a team at work. It could be in sports or social activities. At university it could be getting involved in clubs, or societies, or even just study groups, and demonstrating the role that you played in that team and how you really made an impact on that team, as well.
One of the key skills that we look for is team working. Because working with colleagues, key stakeholders and partners in an organisation is a key part of our culture at Siemens. Well, if I was going to name skills off the top of my head, I would say that the ones that we really would like to see are the raw skills. We’re looking for good communicators, people who are going to be able to go on to a placement and they’re naturally inquisitive. They’re going to be able to develop relationships across the business by asking people about their jobs and what they entail. We look for candidates that can communicate well. So that’s both verbally and written skills.
So in their application form, all their answers to the questions, are they well-written, well-structured? Is the spelling and grammar good? We are looking for candidates who are flexible and who can adapt to change quickly. We also look for leadership. But when we talk about leadership, we’re really looking for someone who can lead a family to change, so leading into positive outcomes. So we’re not looking for someone who’s necessarily been a manager, but someone who can really lead positive change and lead other professionals to bring around a fantastic outcome for children and families that they’re working with. We look for people who try and develop themselves outside of work.
We look for people who seek other challenges, be that in different employment elsewhere. We also appreciate the candidates that can really focus on diversity and appreciate the needs of different communities. We look for people who’ve shown adaptability, so someone who can respond to events. We also look for people who have shown initiative, so someone who’s gone out and created opportunities for themselves. We like to see applications from candidates coming through who really want to make things better for the good of the organisation, but also for the good of themselves. It shows that they’re all going to be driven and really work as hard as they can to better themselves. A really important skill is customer care.
It’s at the heart of what we do as a business, so we look for that in the people that we employ. It’s really important that they’re “people persons”, that they can get that across. They need to be people who can relate to the people that we sell to, both from our retail side, working in stores, but also from our support office side. So they really need to get that across. It’s important we all aim towards that same goal of being number one for customer care.
Here are some of the skills most commonly sought by recruiters, although be aware that each recruiter may have a slightly different definition of such skills.
Admissions tutors may mostly be interested in your academic achievements and academic interests, however, they will also need reassurance that you have the right mix of skills and personal qualities.


  • Ability to communicate clearly and succinctly, both orally and in writing.
  • Willingness to question and to listen to others to aid your own understanding and that of others.
  • Ability to convey complex information at the right level so it is understood by others.


  • Ability to form relationships at all levels, and motivate and support other team members.
  • Willingness to ask others for advice or help when solving a problem.
  • Ability to work fairly and productively alongside others.

Organisation and time management

  • Setting objectives, and planning activities and resources, to achieve a goal.
  • Ability to manage time effectively to prioritise activities and meet deadlines.
  • Achieving a productive and satisfying work-life balance.

Problem solving

  • Ability to understand information quickly and accurately.
  • Appreciation of all the variables affecting an issue.
  • Ability to evaluate and choose workable solutions to problems.


  • Energetic and enthusiastic approach to work/tasks.
  • Desire to continuously learn and develop, and evaluate own performance.
  • Perseverance in the face of obstacles.


  • Having a clear vision with the ability to enthuse and influence others by gaining their trust and support.
  • Ability to listen, share and delegate when appropriate.
  • Willingness to take responsibility for a task or project to ensure it gets done.

Creativity, flexibility and openness to change

  • To be original and express different views, ideas or solutions.
  • Willingness to challenge the status quo, when appropriate, and consider change.
  • An openness to others’ ideas with a willingness to adapt.

Confidence / assertiveness

  • Willingness to express needs, views and feelings clearly, confidently and courteously.
  • Appreciation of the value of one’s own abilities and role.
  • Willingness to put forward and stand firm to a minority or unpopular view, when appropriate.

Interpersonal, intercultural and global awareness

  • Awareness and tolerance of the diverse needs, feelings and views of others.
  • Willingness to support, help and share information with others.
  • Ability to communicate and work with people from different social and cultural backgrounds, and from different countries.


  • Ability to interpret statistics and numerical data.
  • Ability to solve numerical problems.
  • Familiarity with the ways in which numerical information is gathered and presented.

Information and IT literacy

  • Confidence when using information technology, with an ability to learn new packages.
  • Ability to identify how IT can be applied to improve efficiency and solve problems.
  • Knowing where and how to find relevant information.

Business / commercial awareness and professionalism

  • Understanding of the need for high quality customer service and innovative approaches.
  • Awareness of how economic and political issues can affect organisations and their products or services.
  • Recognition of the importance of a professional and responsible approach to your own role within an organisation.
You can download this list of key skills below to add to your portfolio.


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