Graduate News

To a Lesser Degree

Thursday 05th April 2012

A recent study conducted by Aldi has identified the increasing emphasis placed on personal attributes ahead of degree classification when assessing potential job candidates for their graduate scheme. The study involved 2000 business men involved with the employment aspect of their companies, and the general consensus amongst these individuals is that a degree is no longer the most important distinguishing factor. Since the majority of applicants nowadays all seem to possess a degree qualification, employers are placing a keen emphasis on personality traits which will enable applicants to become a successful employee regardless of their academic accolades.

Richard Holloway, Aldi's Head of Graduate Recruitment said, 'Strong personalities, work experience, hobbies and leading teams at university are key strengths. We have recruited some fantastic graduates in the past and really look to see what else they can offer aside from education.' Holloway's emphasis on fully rounded candidates who are motivated beyond simply the academic sphere is echoed by the results of Aldi's survey.

The majority of employers said they valued a degree less than they did ten years ago and 56% indicated that ideal candidates would preferably have a plethora of interests and hobbies and would be able to maintain a healthy balance between their work and their leisure time. Employers tend to feel that the satisfaction gained from external hobbies and pastimes would organically diffuse into the staff's mentality whilst at work, thereby boosting their productivity whilst also helping to maintain a positive work environment.

Personality traits which employers look for include the stereotypical qualities which are suggestive of a healthy, happy and potentially hardworking employee; confidence, honesty, energy and a good work ethic are at the top of employers' lists. These types of qualities are difficult to convey through a CV so most job candidates will find their opportunity to demonstrate their possession of these key characteristics during an interview process. The way you present yourself physically, the tone of your voice, the assertiveness of your body language, your ability to form coherent answers and the manner in which you respond calmly to questions intended to throw you are all ways in which interviewers will be able to perceive your suitability for employment.

Richard Holloway noted that 'A 2.1 qualification is required to apply for the Aldi Area Management Programme but we put a strong emphasis on non academic skills and natural born leadership as key criteria in our recruitment.' This type of attitude should by no means discourage students from working as hard as possible on their degrees, but it is vital to keep in mind the fact that at university, whilst you are developing to an extent as an academic you must also develop as a person. Your scholarly achievements may be enough to get you into an interview room, but when it comes to the actual interview process it is your personality and not a piece of paper with an arbitrary grade on it, which will be key in securing your graduate job.

Thomas, GRB Journalist