!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: The Information Management Skills that Employers Want

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Information Management Skills that Employers Want

Some years ago, I published an article about Michel Fokine, an important choreographer active in the first decades of the twentieth century. I worked my way through huge amounts of archival material and primary and secondary literature to get as clear a picture as I could of this person who died before I was born.

One of the most memorable recollections I came upon — offered by someone whose name escapes me at the moment — was that pupils who came to classes Fokine taught found the classes mostly devoted to his choreographic ideals and ideas, with little direct attention to dance technique. The person in question explained that Fokine took it for granted that students would obtain technical training elsewhere and arrive at his classes with their technique already well-honed.

Something similar seems to prevail in the world of IT. The Society for Information Management (SIM) recently reported results of an online survey of senior business technology executives that included questions concerning the skills that are most important to them when recruiting for entry-level and midlevel positions. As Rob Preston, editor in chief of Information Week, explains in a column in the November 24 issue,
... in a global economy where technical functions are often handed off to contractors, and where companies increasingly are aligning their IT with suppliers, partners, and customers, employers are looking for people who can manage relationships and excel as part of far-flung teams, not just hammer out internal system and project requirements.
Preston's comment is his interpretation of the results of the SIM survey. It turns out that, when asked about skills most desired in entry-level and midlevel hires, the top items the executives cited are almost entirely non-technical:
Ethics and morals topped both employer wish lists, followed by such attributes as critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and team-building, oral and written communication, and user relationship management.
Preston concludes, "Employers what well-rounded business pros with a deep technology grounding."

It is my own observation that employers in a wide range of industries where steady increases in productivity are an important component of growth are looking for a similar mix of business, interpersonal, and technical skills in the people they hire. As with IT — and some dance companies — the basic technical skills may be treated as table stakes, with the business and interpersonal profile of candidates becoming the main determinant of who gets hired.


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