A short list appeared in the context of an article on Christian colleges and several college ads in the March 2015 issue of Christianity Today. It was titled the Top 10 Qualities Employers Seek in a Candidate.
The list was purported to be the output of a 2013 employer survey and included many of the usual suspects: communication, teamwork, decision making, organization and prioritization of work, information skills, proficiency with computer software, writing skills, as well as the ability to influence others.
I doubt that lists from other sources would vary much. I doubt that such lists have varied much in the past two decades.
Is there a problem with consistency?
Perhaps. What if employers have been blind to one of the most defining qualities in a candidate? What if this blindness has become institutionalized?
What was missing?
What? What could have the bulk of employers in this nation have missed for so long that could be brought to light now?
How about efficacy!
Efficacy? Most employers and job candidates don’t even know what the word means.
Efficacy is the power to effect desired change. When working with others, we might call it leadership; however, for new hires the power to effect desired change in one’s self is of utmost importance.
Job applicants that come out of college or the military or other sources come with a specific set of knowledge, skills, and abilities. In most cases, they have one thing in common.
They won’t be enough.
Education, experience, and work history can only take you so far. You must be able to make desired changes as you take on greater responsibilities and positions. You must be able to make desired changes in yourself.
Sometimes that is more education. Sometimes it is becoming more assertive. Often it involves becoming a better listener or a better delegator of tasks and responsibilities. Sometimes the task master must learn to be the trainer or inspector.
Some folks find difficulty in adapting and hold on to their initial skill set as if it were sacred. Others understand that degrees and certificates form the starting blocks and not the finish line.
The power to effect desired change in one’s self—self efficacy—might just be the most needed quality in a candidate for a job and it did not even make the list.
The casual observer might just chalk this up to the casualties of the modern job market. The candidate looking to separate from the crowd might just highlight this quality of self-efficacy on his or her resume and have sufficient examples to back it up during interviews.
The candidate with the power of self-efficacy seldom remains a candidate for long. These are the take charge men and women who find the best jobs and are always contending for promotion.