Young Job Seekers Say Verbal Skills a Must

February 8, 2011 ( - A new poll of young adults conducted by Everest Colleges and Institutes reveals the job interview poses a major challenge for those seeking a new position.

Four of 10 respondents (40%) said interviewing is the one skill they need to improve most to help land a job. Polishing a resume ranked second at 29%, ahead of following up with the employer (15%) and understanding employer expectations (14%), according to a press release.  

Nearly half of respondents (45%) said they think speaking skills are one of the two most important attributes hiring managers use to judge potential employees. This quality ranked higher than personal appearance (40%) and education (25%). Only previous work experience, named by 60% of respondents, surpassed speaking skills in importance, the announcement said.  

Nearly 3 of 10 (28%) respondents named, “What is your worst quality?” as the job interview question that is the toughest to answer.  Other questions deemed difficult were, “Where would you like to see yourself professionally in five years?” (20%) and, “What is your salary requirement?” (19%). 

Respondents were split on how they would thank their interviewers. More than two-thirds (68%) would opt for a verbal thank you at the end of the interview, 31% would send a handwritten card or note, and 29% would write an e-mail. (Multiple responses were permitted.)  

Other survey results include: 

  • Being on-time ranked first as one way job seekers believe they can make a favorable impression at a job interview, cited by 91% as either very important or important. More than eight in 10 said leaving a nice copy of your resume (85%) and providing references (83%) are ways to impress.  
  • The Internet was named the best source for finding job opportunities. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) said employment Web sites are ideal sources and more than half (51%) named listings on prospective employers’ Web sites. Friends and family ranked second at 57%. Traditional sources still have popularity, as 44% selected classified ads in newspapers and 25% said alumni/former school connections. 
  • Experience, by far, was named as one of the three most important aspects of a resume, cited by 81% of respondents. Also ranked highly were description of skills (65%) and education (55%).   


The Everest poll results are based on responses of 500 adults, ages 18-35, living in the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area and Michigan. The online survey was conducted in December.