GETTING A JOB

Your skills - what are employers looking for?

BT Work Ready supports young people and jobseekers to develop their skills and confidence and start their careers. We brought together a panel of inspirational people including young entrepreneurs, influencers and employers to share their personal experiences and advice on finding a job and staying motivated. In this second video of the series our guests explore the hard and soft skills all employers are looking for. 

Whether you are ready to start your career or looking for a new role you will have valuable skills and experience. It’s just a case of knowing how to identify and describe them. Gamer and influencer, Spencer Owen, is joined by Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division and Shanissi Mbamu, a Work Ready graduate, to hear their advice on the skills employers are looking for.

Spencer Owen

So in this part of the studio, Marc and I have been joined by Shanissi Mbamu who attended one of BT's Work Ready events in Birmingham so great to have you here thank you very much for joining us so what were the particular skills and experiences you hoped to get once you decided to actually join the program.

Shanissi Mbamu

um honestly first it was just I just wanted to see if they're going to give me some kind of skills that I can use in general just like it for any kind of job but then they made me realise that I do have those kind of skills already most of the skills are not something that you have to learn some of them is already inside of you that you already have so they just taught me like little extra skills such as digital skills how to like write better come across better to employers and interviewing skills and everything else and communication skills so yeah

Spencer Owen

Everything what is not to like thank you though that's it's really great to hear your story we're going to hear a bit more about how the Work Ready course helps Shanissi develop his skills later on first i'd like to get a bit more of an idea from Marc about employer expectations okay so Marc you've obviously got loads of experience leading teams employing people what do you think employers look for most when they are hiring?

Marc Allera

I think the most important thing is passion you know you want to work with people who care about the business that you're in care about the team that they're in and the people around them and care about the world around them as well so people with passion and motivation probably the number one thing I look for  I mean who wants to lead a team of people who don't care and so that enthusiasm can be infectious not just not just for the leader but also, for the team around them as well so Passion, passion, passion, that would be the number one thing I’d look for.

Spencer Owen

I definitely agree with that. What about the backgrounds of various people? And like you know they're their own experiences how important are they?

Marc Allera

yeah I think when you think of any team as sporting team a team in business the most important thing you can do is have different perspectives people from different backgrounds who can bring different ideas and thinking to all the sort of problems we have to deal with them a big business is all about solving problems, you know, all sorts of challenges come up every single day and the way to solve those problems is have lots of different perspectives from different people that can give you know, the overall picture so I look for people who bring different perspectives and diverse backgrounds and diverse thinking to my table.

Spencer Owen

And we talked about Shanissi great communication skills which are clear to see very impressive but how important are they you know that people have the ability to communicate themselves and be themselves as well.

Marc Allera

Yeah, I think you know, when we think of soft skills, you know, you were talking about soft skills there Shanissi even there's hard skills more come onto them but communications, you know, really important thing in business if you think about it because you're trying to convey your ideas, you're trying to get people to work on your problem your challenge, you might be presenting to a large group or even a small group communicating It with your boss about some challenges you might be facing as well so being able to communicate those ideas and thoughts as is a really important skill

Spencer Owen

And somebody else defeats into communication that I want to touch on is something I've got a lot of experience in being someone has come through YouTube as well is collaboration, okay now I think we're on YouTube right now, of course how important is collaborating in the workplace yeah.

Marc Allera

I mean being part of any team and pretty much any job at some point you're gonna have to work with the team a team you're in or another team that you may have to work with and I think when we think of a digital world collaborating with lots of different teams is the norm now and that's becoming something that's becoming even more important as a skill for people to learn so being able to collaborate and work well with people is a really important foundation skill that you need

Spencer Owen

definitely we're talking about learning how important is it to be willing to learn and want to have that curiosity to go out and learn new things and be open to experiences

Marc Allera

yeah I think the world of work changes every single minute of every single day and at  BT we're at the heart of technology and networks and software and devices and our world's changing very rapidly the world of work for any company is changing really rapidly as well as digitization’s happening and the world's moving a lot faster technology is driving that so you can never say that you know everything you are you're always learning there's new skills to learn there's new situations that you're gonna face there's new technologies and platforms and business models you're gonna need to learn so every single day all of us doesn't matter, whether you're a CEO or you've just joined the company you're always learning

Spencer Owen

and it's more so than ever so much of this stuff is free to learn out there these resources, you know, whether that's online tutorials or what have you. There's no excuse for not wanting to go out in there and better yourself

Marc Allera

no there isn't there really isn't and you know I always say to you know my advice for people's like Shannisi starting up in in work, but people every day just invest could be a few minutes could be an hour or two if you've got it invest in yourself and your development your learning so think about the things that you do well and keep going with those but think about the things that you don't do so well the skills that you want to home the knowledge that maybe you're you know, you need to acquire and develop and find the courses find the skills talk to some people about it and get that knowledge and experience because that will just make you know a better person to work with and more likely to be successful as you progress your career as well

Spencer Owen

definitely that's great stuff Marc I imagine employers want to see that kind of motivation generally speaking but being enthusiastic about whatever you're doing, you know, like filling your free time now, what is it you're doing you enthusiastic about it, you're gonna ask yourself these questions what motivates you and what sort of employee are you going to be that's what you want to kind of get across to a perspective employer, isn't it

Marc Allera

yeah absolutely I mean, if you if you think of someone you're interviewing for a job you do want someone who's sort of non-plast about you know, joining the company. Not that interested or someone who's you know beating the door down who wants to work in this team wants to work in the industry and the company they're the kind of people you want around you because you know with that positive energy and enthusiasm and an idea generation, you know that that's what that's what gets people excited and gets people thinking differently and ultimately creates really great teams to be part of

Spencer Owen

yeah and enthusiasm is of course, very important but you're going to face challenges, aren't you along the way yeah it's something that you have to expect but employees want to know how you're going to deal with them.
I think a classic question you might have in an interview is -  Tell me about a time when you dealt with a challenging situation So what skills would you look for from someone when answering that question

Marc Allera

Yeah I think, there's a couple of things in that question that we're looking for. It's a it's a question most people get it interviews. That's all about really asking for problem solving and bringing creative ideas different perspectives to a problem and I said before, you know, businesses are all about dealing with problems and challenges and opportunities every day. So you look for people who can bring a problem solving mindset to work and to a team and a new ideas of different ideas, but also, as you said there things don't always go well you know there are days there are you know even just for a few minutes and a day things can go wrong, you know, you can make a mistake the company makes a mistake you as an individual your team makes a mistake as well and the ability to bounce back from that is really important so I know it's a word that's used a lot but we look for a resilience in people and of course resiliences is like a muscle you have to work on it and the older you get in the more experience you have the stronger that muscle becomes but even at a at an early age. You can see people with resilience who can talk about those experiences you know on a sporting field or it, you know in their music group or you know school situation community group situation with friends or family, you can you can look for those things as well

Spencer Owen

Shanissi can you speak to that, you know resilience is important to be able to deal with problems and then overcome them ultimately

Shanissi Mbamu

100% if you freeze any kind of problem in life you have to be resilient like myself as well like the longest time when I didn't have a job and stuff, you know, I had to be resilient. I had to be out there, you know applying for jobs even though my emails would say you know I'm sorry we're not taking you to say like you know it hurts but like you have to be continuously pushing yourself and saying you know I want to be better. I want to get to a certain position so you have to push yourself at all times even though when it seems like it's very hard but resilience is literally everything and that's the reason why because I was very resilient and here I am now.

Spencer Owen

There you go. Proof, resilience works. That’s all great stuff Shanissi. Marc, thank you very much. I think I'm right in saying what we talked about soft skills, right and we talk about transferable skills and these are basically skills that can be transferred across different jobs aren't they like that's how it works

Marc Allera

Yeah that's how that's how we talk about them but if whether you're a nurse or a computer programmer app developer, these are skills that you're gonna need in any sort of job and as you move your career and I think people are gonna have very different roles that change much more rapidly. I think in the future as well. So having these transferable skills as you move companies teams and departments is gonna be a really important thing and then of course we then think about hard skills more specific skills to certain jobs as well that are really important as well.

Spencer Owen

We've talked about Soft skills let's talk about the other side of things hard skills, okay. Now, these are specific abilities or knowledge, you might have picked up to do a particular role or task. Now there can be learned through training but they could also be learned on the job. So two questions for you marc on this what kind of skills would someone need for a job at BT Sport hard skills and would you tend to hire someone that didn't already have all these hard skills on their CV or is it a case of some being able to learn on the job sometimes?

Marc Allera

Yeah well we're here in the BT Sports studio and we're surrounded by you can't see them but we're surrounded by people who do really amazing jobs with very specific skills hard skills could be engineers production sound filming you name it we're working with a lot of very special people here with special skills, but they didn't all come into the world of work with those skills, they did learn them on the job and it comes back to what I was saying before that that some of those skills you can learn and you can do some courses and bring that to the work of course but it's also having that really open mindset be curious to learning wanting to find out more being passionate about what you're doing as well you then become someone that other people want to pass knowledge on to

Spencer Owen

definitely I mean, there's been talk for a few years about the need for digital skills

Marc Allera

yeah

Spencer Owen

obviously in this climate more important than ever can you tell us what employers mean when they say they're looking for someone who has digital skills.

Marc Allera

I mean digital skills are going to be important for everybody. I think previously we've thought about it as just about developers and Coders and people who do the website and all that kind of stuff the reality is pretty much every single job I can't think of a job in the future that's not gonna need some level of digital skills whether it's understanding how to interpret data collaborating using digital platforms and tools, you know, if you're if you're a nurse in a hospital being able to access patient records and all of the data that that needs they're all be done digitally if you're a developer if you're in marketing, it doesn't matter which functional role you're in you're gonna need digital skills, so that's why it's such an important focus area for us as a company and of course for anyone out there looking to get into the world of work really thinking about how where can I go to to get these digital skills and knowledge is going to be a really important theme for their future career

Spencer Owen

yeah definitely it's not it's not necessarily about people being, you know, completely qualified day one in every single technological advancement it's about being able to learn and wanting to learn new things, you know, I can speak from experience to be honest because I had to learn what I wanted to learn things like like feel like photography camera work editing and I I started my first job with pretty much zero knowledge in those things and I was lucky at a good employer who after asking expressing that that passion allowed me to spend some time with the people that did know teach me a certain piece of editing software for example which is a little bit alien at first and you'll I don't know what these buttons all are you get comfortable with it and then when you need to learn a new piece of software you've got a little bit to fall back on and you know, I can do this.
I thought it before so I think it's really important and I think it can give you a confidence boost card it once you've sort of conquered or started to learn one form of software that you can go and learn something new.

Marc Allera

I think that's right and your examples there, you know, it does take a bit of courage and and it can be intimidating it works sometimes saying could you help me understand how or could would you mind taking a Few minutes to show me how I can do this but I you know guarantee you're pretty much nine times out of ten people want to help other people

Spencer Owen

yeah I completely agree I've can speak from experience on that and I also think that just that you said earlier it's not necessarily about having to have someone else to teach all the time there's so many things available online now and it's just a case of searching it as Jack's mentioning earlier get yourself on Google or whatever yeah and look for what you need it's all there out there for you guys so hopefully that helps you Marc Shanissi, thank you very much taking the time out to come and share your thoughts with us, let's take a look at what we've learned so far.

Maya Jama


Our top tips are thinking about your skills are: All jobs require mixture of hard and soft skills and increasingly no matter what job you go into that includes digital skills in some way. The soft or transferable skills employers are looking for are similar across different job roles. So that's a good place to start.
Think about the skills that Marcus told us he looks for in the team he hires, Communication Collaboration. Curiosity and willingness to learn problem solving and creative thinking motivation resilience. You don't need to have had a job to develop these skills Write down the things you do in your daily life Through hobbies volunteering school college or uni and the skills and strengths these enable you to demonstrate.
Identify gaps in your skills and knowledge and then put in some time to develop them. Take away some tips from Shanissi and use your time now. There are loads of great free online courses out there. Sign up to one of BT's skills for tomorrow webinars. Kickstart your learning with an introduction to digital collaboration and communication tools as well as apps that help you boost your productivity.

And creativity. Stay curious. As we've learned from both Shanissi and Marc the world of work is constantly changing and no matter where we are in our careers we all need to keep learning and developing our skills.

BT Work Ready supports young people and jobseekers to develop their skills and confidence and start their careers. We brought together a panel of inspirational people including young entrepreneurs, influencers and employers to share their personal experiences and advice on finding a job and staying motivated. In this second video of the series our guests explore the hard and soft skills all employers are looking for. 

Whether you are ready to start your career or looking for a new role you will have valuable skills and experience. It’s just a case of knowing how to identify and describe them. Gamer and influencer, Spencer Owen, is joined by Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division and Shanissi Mbamu, a Work Ready graduate, to hear their advice on the skills employers are looking for.

Spencer Owen

So in this part of the studio, Marc and I have been joined by Shanissi Mbamu who attended one of BT's Work Ready events in Birmingham so great to have you here thank you very much for joining us so what were the particular skills and experiences you hoped to get once you decided to actually join the program.

Shanissi Mbamu

um honestly first it was just I just wanted to see if they're going to give me some kind of skills that I can use in general just like it for any kind of job but then they made me realise that I do have those kind of skills already most of the skills are not something that you have to learn some of them is already inside of you that you already have so they just taught me like little extra skills such as digital skills how to like write better come across better to employers and interviewing skills and everything else and communication skills so yeah

Spencer Owen

Everything what is not to like thank you though that's it's really great to hear your story we're going to hear a bit more about how the Work Ready course helps Shanissi develop his skills later on first i'd like to get a bit more of an idea from Marc about employer expectations okay so Marc you've obviously got loads of experience leading teams employing people what do you think employers look for most when they are hiring?

Marc Allera

I think the most important thing is passion you know you want to work with people who care about the business that you're in care about the team that they're in and the people around them and care about the world around them as well so people with passion and motivation probably the number one thing I look for  I mean who wants to lead a team of people who don't care and so that enthusiasm can be infectious not just not just for the leader but also, for the team around them as well so Passion, passion, passion, that would be the number one thing I’d look for.

Spencer Owen

I definitely agree with that. What about the backgrounds of various people? And like you know they're their own experiences how important are they?

Marc Allera

yeah I think when you think of any team as sporting team a team in business the most important thing you can do is have different perspectives people from different backgrounds who can bring different ideas and thinking to all the sort of problems we have to deal with them a big business is all about solving problems, you know, all sorts of challenges come up every single day and the way to solve those problems is have lots of different perspectives from different people that can give you know, the overall picture so I look for people who bring different perspectives and diverse backgrounds and diverse thinking to my table.

Spencer Owen

And we talked about Shanissi great communication skills which are clear to see very impressive but how important are they you know that people have the ability to communicate themselves and be themselves as well.

Marc Allera

Yeah, I think you know, when we think of soft skills, you know, you were talking about soft skills there Shanissi even there's hard skills more come onto them but communications, you know, really important thing in business if you think about it because you're trying to convey your ideas, you're trying to get people to work on your problem your challenge, you might be presenting to a large group or even a small group communicating It with your boss about some challenges you might be facing as well so being able to communicate those ideas and thoughts as is a really important skill

Spencer Owen

And somebody else defeats into communication that I want to touch on is something I've got a lot of experience in being someone has come through YouTube as well is collaboration, okay now I think we're on YouTube right now, of course how important is collaborating in the workplace yeah.

Marc Allera

I mean being part of any team and pretty much any job at some point you're gonna have to work with the team a team you're in or another team that you may have to work with and I think when we think of a digital world collaborating with lots of different teams is the norm now and that's becoming something that's becoming even more important as a skill for people to learn so being able to collaborate and work well with people is a really important foundation skill that you need

Spencer Owen

definitely we're talking about learning how important is it to be willing to learn and want to have that curiosity to go out and learn new things and be open to experiences

Marc Allera

yeah I think the world of work changes every single minute of every single day and at  BT we're at the heart of technology and networks and software and devices and our world's changing very rapidly the world of work for any company is changing really rapidly as well as digitization’s happening and the world's moving a lot faster technology is driving that so you can never say that you know everything you are you're always learning there's new skills to learn there's new situations that you're gonna face there's new technologies and platforms and business models you're gonna need to learn so every single day all of us doesn't matter, whether you're a CEO or you've just joined the company you're always learning

Spencer Owen

and it's more so than ever so much of this stuff is free to learn out there these resources, you know, whether that's online tutorials or what have you. There's no excuse for not wanting to go out in there and better yourself

Marc Allera

no there isn't there really isn't and you know I always say to you know my advice for people's like Shannisi starting up in in work, but people every day just invest could be a few minutes could be an hour or two if you've got it invest in yourself and your development your learning so think about the things that you do well and keep going with those but think about the things that you don't do so well the skills that you want to home the knowledge that maybe you're you know, you need to acquire and develop and find the courses find the skills talk to some people about it and get that knowledge and experience because that will just make you know a better person to work with and more likely to be successful as you progress your career as well

Spencer Owen

definitely that's great stuff Marc I imagine employers want to see that kind of motivation generally speaking but being enthusiastic about whatever you're doing, you know, like filling your free time now, what is it you're doing you enthusiastic about it, you're gonna ask yourself these questions what motivates you and what sort of employee are you going to be that's what you want to kind of get across to a perspective employer, isn't it

Marc Allera

yeah absolutely I mean, if you if you think of someone you're interviewing for a job you do want someone who's sort of non-plast about you know, joining the company. Not that interested or someone who's you know beating the door down who wants to work in this team wants to work in the industry and the company they're the kind of people you want around you because you know with that positive energy and enthusiasm and an idea generation, you know that that's what that's what gets people excited and gets people thinking differently and ultimately creates really great teams to be part of

Spencer Owen

yeah and enthusiasm is of course, very important but you're going to face challenges, aren't you along the way yeah it's something that you have to expect but employees want to know how you're going to deal with them.
I think a classic question you might have in an interview is -  Tell me about a time when you dealt with a challenging situation So what skills would you look for from someone when answering that question

Marc Allera

Yeah I think, there's a couple of things in that question that we're looking for. It's a it's a question most people get it interviews. That's all about really asking for problem solving and bringing creative ideas different perspectives to a problem and I said before, you know, businesses are all about dealing with problems and challenges and opportunities every day. So you look for people who can bring a problem solving mindset to work and to a team and a new ideas of different ideas, but also, as you said there things don't always go well you know there are days there are you know even just for a few minutes and a day things can go wrong, you know, you can make a mistake the company makes a mistake you as an individual your team makes a mistake as well and the ability to bounce back from that is really important so I know it's a word that's used a lot but we look for a resilience in people and of course resiliences is like a muscle you have to work on it and the older you get in the more experience you have the stronger that muscle becomes but even at a at an early age. You can see people with resilience who can talk about those experiences you know on a sporting field or it, you know in their music group or you know school situation community group situation with friends or family, you can you can look for those things as well

Spencer Owen

Shanissi can you speak to that, you know resilience is important to be able to deal with problems and then overcome them ultimately

Shanissi Mbamu

100% if you freeze any kind of problem in life you have to be resilient like myself as well like the longest time when I didn't have a job and stuff, you know, I had to be resilient. I had to be out there, you know applying for jobs even though my emails would say you know I'm sorry we're not taking you to say like you know it hurts but like you have to be continuously pushing yourself and saying you know I want to be better. I want to get to a certain position so you have to push yourself at all times even though when it seems like it's very hard but resilience is literally everything and that's the reason why because I was very resilient and here I am now.

Spencer Owen

There you go. Proof, resilience works. That’s all great stuff Shanissi. Marc, thank you very much. I think I'm right in saying what we talked about soft skills, right and we talk about transferable skills and these are basically skills that can be transferred across different jobs aren't they like that's how it works

Marc Allera

Yeah that's how that's how we talk about them but if whether you're a nurse or a computer programmer app developer, these are skills that you're gonna need in any sort of job and as you move your career and I think people are gonna have very different roles that change much more rapidly. I think in the future as well. So having these transferable skills as you move companies teams and departments is gonna be a really important thing and then of course we then think about hard skills more specific skills to certain jobs as well that are really important as well.

Spencer Owen

We've talked about Soft skills let's talk about the other side of things hard skills, okay. Now, these are specific abilities or knowledge, you might have picked up to do a particular role or task. Now there can be learned through training but they could also be learned on the job. So two questions for you marc on this what kind of skills would someone need for a job at BT Sport hard skills and would you tend to hire someone that didn't already have all these hard skills on their CV or is it a case of some being able to learn on the job sometimes?

Marc Allera

Yeah well we're here in the BT Sports studio and we're surrounded by you can't see them but we're surrounded by people who do really amazing jobs with very specific skills hard skills could be engineers production sound filming you name it we're working with a lot of very special people here with special skills, but they didn't all come into the world of work with those skills, they did learn them on the job and it comes back to what I was saying before that that some of those skills you can learn and you can do some courses and bring that to the work of course but it's also having that really open mindset be curious to learning wanting to find out more being passionate about what you're doing as well you then become someone that other people want to pass knowledge on to

Spencer Owen

definitely I mean, there's been talk for a few years about the need for digital skills

Marc Allera

yeah

Spencer Owen

obviously in this climate more important than ever can you tell us what employers mean when they say they're looking for someone who has digital skills.

Marc Allera

I mean digital skills are going to be important for everybody. I think previously we've thought about it as just about developers and Coders and people who do the website and all that kind of stuff the reality is pretty much every single job I can't think of a job in the future that's not gonna need some level of digital skills whether it's understanding how to interpret data collaborating using digital platforms and tools, you know, if you're if you're a nurse in a hospital being able to access patient records and all of the data that that needs they're all be done digitally if you're a developer if you're in marketing, it doesn't matter which functional role you're in you're gonna need digital skills, so that's why it's such an important focus area for us as a company and of course for anyone out there looking to get into the world of work really thinking about how where can I go to to get these digital skills and knowledge is going to be a really important theme for their future career

Spencer Owen

yeah definitely it's not it's not necessarily about people being, you know, completely qualified day one in every single technological advancement it's about being able to learn and wanting to learn new things, you know, I can speak from experience to be honest because I had to learn what I wanted to learn things like like feel like photography camera work editing and I I started my first job with pretty much zero knowledge in those things and I was lucky at a good employer who after asking expressing that that passion allowed me to spend some time with the people that did know teach me a certain piece of editing software for example which is a little bit alien at first and you'll I don't know what these buttons all are you get comfortable with it and then when you need to learn a new piece of software you've got a little bit to fall back on and you know, I can do this.
I thought it before so I think it's really important and I think it can give you a confidence boost card it once you've sort of conquered or started to learn one form of software that you can go and learn something new.

Marc Allera

I think that's right and your examples there, you know, it does take a bit of courage and and it can be intimidating it works sometimes saying could you help me understand how or could would you mind taking a Few minutes to show me how I can do this but I you know guarantee you're pretty much nine times out of ten people want to help other people

Spencer Owen

yeah I completely agree I've can speak from experience on that and I also think that just that you said earlier it's not necessarily about having to have someone else to teach all the time there's so many things available online now and it's just a case of searching it as Jack's mentioning earlier get yourself on Google or whatever yeah and look for what you need it's all there out there for you guys so hopefully that helps you Marc Shanissi, thank you very much taking the time out to come and share your thoughts with us, let's take a look at what we've learned so far.

Maya Jama


Our top tips are thinking about your skills are: All jobs require mixture of hard and soft skills and increasingly no matter what job you go into that includes digital skills in some way. The soft or transferable skills employers are looking for are similar across different job roles. So that's a good place to start.
Think about the skills that Marcus told us he looks for in the team he hires, Communication Collaboration. Curiosity and willingness to learn problem solving and creative thinking motivation resilience. You don't need to have had a job to develop these skills Write down the things you do in your daily life Through hobbies volunteering school college or uni and the skills and strengths these enable you to demonstrate.
Identify gaps in your skills and knowledge and then put in some time to develop them. Take away some tips from Shanissi and use your time now. There are loads of great free online courses out there. Sign up to one of BT's skills for tomorrow webinars. Kickstart your learning with an introduction to digital collaboration and communication tools as well as apps that help you boost your productivity.

And creativity. Stay curious. As we've learned from both Shanissi and Marc the world of work is constantly changing and no matter where we are in our careers we all need to keep learning and developing our skills.

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