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Top Psychological Competencies essential for a graduate/fresher

“Competencies are to performance like what DNA is to people” - Hay Group


“With over 78.3% lack employability skills when they graduate” (Deloitte Dean Survey, 2019). The burning question of why and what can be done to bridge the graduate-employment gap is a pressing matter of concern for both recruiters and higher education institutes (HEI’s). The constant focus on achieving an edge on technical expertise over soft skills led students as well as higher education institutes (HEI’s) often disregard psychological competencies.

A decade ago, “Time management, Teamwork, and Communication Skills are among the top important soft skills with 60%, 66%, and 72% respectively from a recruiters perspective” (Sharma, 2009). In addition to that, ( Zaman, 2015) mentioned that “preferred competencies by employers for business graduates are personal competency, dynamic attitude, and work habit”.

Today in the era of digitization and automation there has been a sea of change across the globe in what recruiters are looking for in a fresher. As mentioned by (Atilla Bal, 2020) that, “analyzing and gathering information, written communication skills are the top competencies rated by recruitment professionals”.

Correspondingly, a study by (Prikshat, Montague, Connell & Burgess, 2019) revealed that “Innovation, Creativity, Cognitive Skills, System Thinking, Team-work, and Self Management skills are the key work-readiness competency deficits reported among graduates”.

The recent youth skill survey conducted by HBR Ascend, 2019 mentioned that “Strategic thinking, Negotiation skills, Business Communication, Analytical thinking, and Networking skills have been in high demand”. Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum, “Analytical thinking and Innovation will be the most in-demand skill followed by Active Learning, Learning Strategies, and Creativity by 2022”.

One direct approach to identify top competencies is to learn more in detail about the top 5 psychometric tests used in recruitment as mentioned by (Dua, 2017). The intent with the following approach could result in forming a sound understanding of what core competencies the recruiter aims to measure.

For example, The Myers Brigg Test (MBTI) aims to discover an individual's overall personality and innate preferences as compared to a Logical Reasoning Test which investigates an individual’s ability to use critical thinking and draw relevant inferences.

The following approach can further be taken as a basis for active learning and building relevant learning strategies. Thus, the inferences drawn from the above are unarguably slanted towards Behavioral Competencies, Work-readiness Competencies, and Innovative Competencies. Hence, above are the top competencies deemed crucial by recruiters and other professionals for freshers and college graduates.

“Humans are competent to think better so is what recruiters seek for” - Vipul Paliwal



1. Atilla Bal, E. (2020). Recruiting New Graduates: What successful profile organizations are

looking for?.

2. Boyatzis, R.E. and Saatcioglu, A. (2008), "A 20-year view of trying to develop emotional, social and cognitive intelligence competencies in graduate management education", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 92-108.

3. Dua, S. (2017). The Top Five Psychometric Tests Used in Recruitment. Retrieved 12 September 2020, from

4. Mishra, K. (2014). Employability Skills That Recruiters Demand. IUP Journal Of Soft Skills;

Hyderabad, Vol. 8(Iss. 3), 50-55.

5. Prikshat, V., Montague, A., Connell, J. and Burgess, J. (2019), "Australian graduates’ work

readiness – deficiencies, causes and potential solutions", Higher Education, Skills and

Work-Based Learning, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 369-38

6. Sharma, M. (2009). How Important Are Soft Skills from the Recruiter's Perspective. ICFAI

Journal Of Soft Skills, Vol. 3(Issue 2), p19-28. 10p. 5 Graphs.

7. Sindhwani, P. (2019). These are the top soft skills that will keep your job safe in the times of AI,according to LinkedIn. Retrieved 12 September 2020, from http://These are the top soft skills that will keep your job safe in the times of AI, according to LinkedIn.

8. Sindhwani, P. (2019). Soft skills can save your job from the machines but young professionals are severely short of it. Retrieved 13 September 2020, from

9. Succi, C. and Wieandt, M. (2019), "Walk the talk: soft skills’ assessment of graduates", European Journal of Management and Business Economics, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 114-125.

10. Sturgess, G. (2012). Skills vs Competencies. What’s the Difference? - TalentAlign. Retrieved 15 September 2020, from

11. Vashishth, N. (2018). Employable Competencies: A Research on Behavioral Competencies Which Impact Hiring Decision and Enable Performance at Workplace. AAYAM: AKGIM Journal Of Management; Ghaziabad, Vol. 8, (Iss. 1), 41-47.

12. Zaman, L. (2015). Competencies Needed For 2015: Employers Preference In Business Graduate Selection. Rev. Integr. Bus. Econ. Res, Vol 4(3)(ISSN: 2304-1013). Retrieved from

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