Ask the Expert from the MCOB Executive Advisory Council – What do employers look for when hiring?

Chris Melton

Chris Melton, MCOB Alumnus and Chairman and CEO of The White Oak Group in Atlanta shared his insights regarding critical skills required of today’s college graduates: 

Employers are looking beyond education and experience that make a graduate qualified for a job, to skills that will make them successful in the job - “employability skills.”  These are skills, attitudes and behaviors that enable employees to work together with others in the workplace, and of course present well to the external customer. 

Today’s Millennials and Gen Z’ers grew up online, with video games and text messaging, resulting in a scarcity of soft skills upon entering the workplace. Companies therefore spend a lot of time and money training employees in these basic skills.  Soft skills that make a true well-rounded, successful ambassador to a company, include succinct oral and written communication, attentive listening skills, reliability, dependability, teamwork and collaboration.

Of course, appropriate college majors and graduate degrees are still important. Particularly in demand are degrees in business, engineering, computer and information sciences.

Graduates need to possess universal skills that can be learned across all academic disciplines.  Equally important is that they must be able to communicate these skills in a job interview.

Critical skills desired by employers of today’s college graduates:

  1. Ability to cooperate and work together in a team environment.
  2. Ability to grasp and process information, analyze quantitative data, make critical decisions and solve problems.
  3. Ability to communicate succinctly in oral and written communications.
  4. Technical knowledge and proficiency in computer software programs related to the job.
  5. Ability to sell, persuade and influence others.
  6. Ability to take initiative and see a project through to the end.


Christopher C. Melton, Sr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The White Oak Group
5665 New Northside Dr.
Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30328


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