Have you ever wondered what employers are looking for in candidates? Here is an Informational Interview with Mr. Shane Countryman from New York Life. He discusses the skills and abilities he believes are important in the workplace.
- What skills and abilities do you consider most important to have for the Financial Professional position currently being advertised on Jason Quest?
“For skills, we are looking for the intangible skills that aren’t necessarily advertised on the resume. We are looking for the innate skills, such as, how somebody presents themselves, how they naturally communicate, and how they naturally hold themselves when they walk in the room. People with these communication skills tend to do well in both the interview setting and with our company. Other skills we can teach. And I would say that the biggest ability we are looking for is effort and the desire to be rewarded from one’s personal effort.”
- What are some examples of how can one develop the desired traits and skills necessary for this position?
“I would say being around people, growing your communication skills, and getting yourself out of your comfort zone. We all have an internal comfort zone. Being able to get uncomfortable and accept that is very, very important.”
- What particular skills or talents, in general, are most essential to be effective in your industry?
“Communication skills. Also humor always works. When you’re dealing with a client and you’re talking money, people tend to put up a brick wall. Being able to relate to someone else is essential and humor is a great way to do that.”
- When reviewing resumes, what is considered most appealing and most unappealing?
“I am a very detailed person. Most appealing… good structure. Resumes that are not organized well with bullet points all over the place lack good structure. It makes one feel that the person writing the resume didn’t put the time and effort into creating it. Most unappealing… having distractions that distract from the basic material should be left out. Some examples of this are: pictures, pretty font, and stuff in the margins. Don’t worry about a different colored paper or a unique layout. A resume is only to make the hiring manager curious to meet you in person. These other things are more distracting than anything else.”
- What abilities or personal qualities make a potential employee stand out from the crowd?
“Personal qualities… someone who is looking to grow their own business. A person who has an entrepreneur spirit. Somebody who is looking to work for themselves, grow their own business, and someone who wants direct reward for their direct output. Receiving guidance is a great factor and being your own boss is great; but making the rules and having someone guide you in the right direction is better. New York Life is a Fortune 100 company and we are number 80. Receiving guidance and experience from one of the top 80 companies in the nation is an opportunity. Those who want rewards from their efforts tend to be successful rather than those who just want to get a paycheck or those that only want the job because they have a certain education level or experience.”
- How diverse are the skill-sets and personal qualities of your employees at New York Life?
“At New York Life, we are a front runner in diversity both in skills and in background. We have people that are experts in individual areas and people that are a ‘jack-of-all trades.’ We have people from multinational backgrounds and from the local area. We are looking to take care of every individual client, not just one particular area or sect of clients.”
- And, how does the company work with differing abilities to build effective teams?
“Diversity is a basic part of New York Life. We look for people with different natural skill-sets to work with different areas of clients. For example, when you have a client who speaks a specific language, they do better with someone who speaks that language. When someone does not speak that language things can get lost in translation or misunderstood and that doesn’t bring comfort to the client. We are looking to take care of everyone.”
Until next time!