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Yewande Jinadu: 3 Qualities a Prospective Employer is Looking for in a Candidate



Qualities an employer is looking for in a fresh graduateI recently wrote an open letter to fresh graduates who just passed out from NYSC. I feel like I need to provide clarity to new labour market entrants on employer expectations during interviews. I have had people ask me various questions on what they should prepare for. My method is not to give them generic interview questions and answers, but rather is to tell them what these people are really looking for, so that when the question comes, they would be able to put their best foot forward, knowing the right direction.

Someone with Clarity of Career Direction/Path
A lot of companies are looking for someone whose career path/direction is aligned with where the company is headed to. An entry level candidate is expected to be groomed to grow with the company. No one wants to take someone who will be going the opposite direction. A good way to show this to a prospective employer is to do proper research about the company and ask yourself if your proposed career path is aligned with theirs.

The next thing is to be able to communicate your career direction properly so you don’t look like a confused person. The course I studied is unrelated to HR in any way, but I was able to get my first HR internship role because I was able to convince them that the little HR exposure I got during my SIWES would put me on track to the new direction I want to pursue.

Someone Who is Teachable and Willing to Learn
It’s very hilarious when people list out these traits on their resume and don’t show any of them during an assessment/interview. As a fresh graduate, you should be able to acknowledge mistakes and how you have grown past it. While talking about your strengths, you should also talk about areas you’re looking to learn from if given the opportunity to work with them. Non-verbal cues like a lofty and proud look can sometimes pass the wrong message. When asked a question and you’re not too sure of the answer, don’t feel too bad and give up. Even Einstein didn’t know everything in the world. Be open, ask for immediate feedback so that it won’t repeat itself. Your attitude when you fail can be a selling point to an employer. Some people have answered questions poorly but the way they picked themselves up was so impressing, they were given a second chance immediately and we fell in love with them.

Someone Who’s Flexible and Adaptable to Work
As mentioned earlier, it’s not enough to just write it on the CV that you’re flexible. It’s to show it when asked different questions about helping a colleague or doing something outside your scope. No employer wants someone who is quite rigid and would start struggling when challenges come.

It would be ridiculous for an employer to hire a fresh graduate and expect the person to know it all, so don’t be scared. I had once struggled with interviews. When I finished NYSC, every interview invite was simply a heart attack session. I made up my mind to come to the other side of the table (recruiter), and help new entrants cross to the other side. I will be writing a series on this topic as time goes by.

I encourage you to drop your comments on points you would like me to elaborate on and I will be in the comment section to help out.

I wish you the best in your career journey.

Yewande Jinadu is the Founder of CareerLife ( and also a Strategic HR Business Partner of a leading tech firm. She's a certified HR Professional with over 5years as a Generalist and a Talent Acquisition Specialist. With CareerLife Foundation, she helps young professionals achieve measurable success in their career. With CareerLife Consulting Services, she partners with businesses to deliver value through its people by providing HR Services (Recruitment, Training etc). She can be reached via [email protected] or @careerlifeng on Twitter and Instagram


  1. opeyemi famakin

    November 12, 2018 at 11:02 am


  2. Evi

    November 12, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Yewande!
    Great post. My current struggle with job search is that, I do not get any call back. When I come across a job ad, I send out my application. All the time, there is no call back. I don’t know what I am not doing correctly. I spoke about it to someone, and he said often time, things like that happen, and that doesn’t mean I am not qualified. That, he has mostly gotten employment via referrals. This is my situation 2 years post NYSC. It would be nice to get feedback.

    • Yewande Jinadu

      November 12, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Evi,

      I understand your situation. If you’re not being called for an interview, the problem lies mostly with your CV. It’s either of this options.
      1. You’re applying for roles you don’t qualify for.
      2. Your CV doesn’t contain the required informations that the recruiter can know you’re suitable.
      3. You’re not following the right instructions and your CV is screaming ‘throw it away’.

      You probably need a professional to take a look at it and help you out.

  3. GraceOfGOD

    November 12, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    @Yewande Jinadu,

    Good Day Yewande. Just to say THANK YOU for the GREAT advices. They will surely help MANY. Have a GREAT day and stay BLESSED 🙂

  4. Pat

    November 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Very informative. Sometimes the word “passed out” might not be understand immediately when the intended meanning is “graduated”

  5. Oreoluwa

    November 13, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I’m a recent graduate too and I must Confess that jobsearch hasn’t been so easy. I’ve been in-between jobs, contract job and all for experience sake and to boost my CV, hoping for a permanent one with a better offer.

    I just want to say this from my little experience thus far. There’s a huge gap between what we learn from school and reality, so we must be willing to learn, ask many questions, volunteer, go for trainings…

    Also before even getting any good job now, aptitude tests are conducted and other tests too. GMAT is helpful, while still jobhunting practice as many questions as possible, especially for those in management and social sciences field.

  6. Angela

    November 15, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    This is a very insightful post Ma. I commend your efforts to seeing young graduates like us secure great jobs. Meanwhile, I implore your advice on what I’m about to say. I recently concluded my National Service and I have been trying to secure a good job in my career path. I read soil and water engineering and I want to be a practicing and promising engineer in this field. But such jobs are not so rampant to secure and a drift into another sector asides engineering isn’t quite obtainable for me cos I recently quit a marketing role because I don’t have such passion. Help me out here. What do I do? Angela.

    • Yewande Jinadu

      November 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Angela,
      My advice is to start from internship level. I know companies like that are scarce so you may need to start from the base. Not really a standard company with a fine office. Probably people who practice this but don’t really have a standard office. This kind of experience will train you to become a business owner where you can start yours and employ people in your field.

      If only that is your passion, you can also provide services related to what you studied while interning to give you more exposure.

      I wish you the best!

  7. Angela

    November 15, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Great post.

  8. Justice

    November 18, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Thank you very much for this post, very interesting and educative to all, especially, job applicants, not only young graduates. Please ma I really want you to couch me,i wish i can be your go-to-boy.

  9. Tochi

    November 27, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you for this educating piece. I am a fresh chemical engineer but I went to a firm that specializes in medical and accident emergency response services and they asked me ‘what can you do in this firm with your engineering degree? Sincerely I was not able to answer that question. I suggested that I have good marketing skills, that they should give me chance to start in their marketing unit and the response I got was heartbreaking. Please what would have been the best answer to that question? Thank you.

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