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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Getting Employed - What Employers Are Looking For In Hiring New Employees

Getting Employed - What Employers

Are Looking For In Hiring New Employees

From the time our kids are in middle school, we as parents, school officials, and federal government are telling our kids that the only way to climb the ladder of success and get a good paying job, is to get a college degree.  A college degree is becoming the new high school diploma.  Many (but not all) employers across the country will only hire people with a bachelor’s degree, even if the job doesn't require college-level skills. 

Students and their parents are accumulated trillions of dollars in debt in order to get a college degree and colleges continue raising the cost of obtaining an advanced degree due partly to the easy accessibility of financial aid (mostly loans).

Most parents and students feel, attending college will open the doors to employment and attending college will teach the student the needed skills to perform the duties that employers are looking for. 

However, many students that obtain a college degree have never held a full time job, let alone know what employers are looking for in a new hire.  Many students (even as young as students in middle school) are not being told how to get employment and what employers are looking for in a potential new employee, (with or without a college degree).  

High school and college students are not being told how to actively pursue job opportunities and what it takes to get employed.  Many students feel by obtaining a college degree is a guarantee of employment.  However, obtaining a college degree is NOT a guarantee of employment.  Getting employed is more than just having a degree. 

As I have mentioned earlier, many employers are requiring a college degree before they hire and individual.  However, a new paper from Paul Beaudry, David Green, and Benjamin Sand find, “Skilled workers with higher degrees are increasingly ending up in lower-skilled jobs that don't really require a degree--and in the process, they're pushing unskilled workers out of the labor force altogether.” 

Due to the present economy conditions, it’s a buyer’s market for employers.

Middle and high school students, (let alone college grads) need to understand why getting some form of advanced education after high school is very important to employers. The skills and techniques in this e-book can be learned in middle, high school and college.

So What Do Employers Look For Before Hiring An Employee?

Let’s look at several key things most employers are looking for during the interview process before they hire an employee.  Below are a several important factors for job hunters, regardless of the educational level of the individual: 

  • First and foremost, employers are look for a track record of success (experience) in the skills that the position requires.  In other words, do you have the experience and skills to do the job duties?  Employers are looking for concrete evidence in the potential employee’s past that shows they can do the job.  Now this does not mean that you have done the particular job, but it does mean that you need to have the skills to perform the job duties, with or without a college degree.
  • Employers are looking for employees who care about their company and the work that is to be done.  It's not enough to just show up at work every day and just do the minimum required. Employers are looking for candidates who care about helping the company meet its overall goals and help increase the company’s bottom line.   
  • Employers are looking for potential employees who will be excited to come to work and not just look at the position as just another job.
  • Employers are looking for individuals that have a positive and productive attitude.  Many of my business contact told me they don’t care how skilled you are; they will not hire employees that portray rudeness, overly sensitive, cocky, or shows a negative attitude.
  • Employers are looking for a long term commitment from the potential new hire. Most employers want to hire people who will stick around for a solid block of time (usually at least two years, and more for senior-level positions). They also want to hire people who will be happy with the job, because unhappy people tend to be less productive and a drain on other employees' morale.
  • Employers want potential employees to be comfortable or be able to adapt in the work environment.  Every job has downsides.  It could be due to a demanding boss, a long commute from your home, or an office culture that makes it hard for you to perform you job duties. Employers are looking for potential employees that can adjust to the negatives of the job.
  • Employers are looking for individuals that can work with other employees.  Potential employees need to show that they are a team player and are willing to work with everyone to accomplish important job goals and duties.
  • Employers are looking for potential employees that have good communication and writing skills.  A report by the Pew Foundation found, out of 375 companies that they interviewed, 75% of new hires where lacking in communication and writing skills.  Being able to express your ideas and thoughts are very important to employers.
  • Employers are looking for employees who require little supervision and direction to get the work done in a timely and professional manner. Employers like to hire self-motivated employees because they require very little direction from their supervisors. A self-motivated employee performs work duties without any prodding from others.

Students that are in middle school, high school, and college need to do several things before interviewing for a job, (regardless if the job is mowing lawns, cleaning an office or applying at a major corporation).  Here is a list of Dos:

  • Before beginning your search you have to understand why all companies or individuals hire. It’s to solve problems and your challenge is to position yourself as the solution. In other words, hiring you allows the company or individual to solve problems faster, better and cheaper than they could without you.
  • You need to identify your skills and expertise in order to see if you can meet the skills the employer or individual is looking for.
  • If you are interested in working for a company do some research on the company to see if you can help them solve their problems.  You can do this by going on the Internet, through Google alerts, by read press releases and speak with current and former employees.
  • Your ability to uncover your target employers’ problems and position yourself as the solution is what will get you hired.


The most effective way to get a job is to think like an employer. Sounds simple but many people don’t appreciate the importance or know how to do it.  All companies want to hire individuals that can help solve problems in order to increase the company’s financial bottom line or work for an individual that wants to hire someone to do a job that they do not want to do. 

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Monday, September 2, 2013




COULD COST YOU $246,980 

Last year college tuition increased on the average of 6.65%, (public universities).  According to the federal government, the combined Social Security trust funds will be exhausted in 2036 and at that point there will only be enough income to cover 77% of scheduled benefits.

Our colleges and universities seem reluctant to address the increasing cost of educating our students and they seem to never have enough money.  However, they continue added new dorms, spas, climbing wall, basketball and football stadiums, and other amenities that have NOTHING to do with educating our students.

Our elected officials are afraid to tackle our national debt, social security, and other entitlement programs that are driving our national debt to a point that will never be able to be paid back unless, taxes are increased and spending is drastically cut.  They would rather kick the can down the road in order to assure or enhance their bid to be re-elected.   

Michael Falcon, head of retirement at J.P. Morgan Asset Management says, “America is facing an unprecedented retirement challenge as the U.S. population undergoes a radical demographic shift.  Twenty percent of the population will be over 65 years old by 2020 and, despite impressive aggregate asset growth, many Americans are still significantly short of the savings they will need for a dignified retirement and are unprepared for the complex financial choices they will need to make.”

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), reported in its 22nd annual Retirement Confidence Survey, most Americans are not very confident about having enough money for retirement.  In 2011, just 13% were very confident.

For many families, paying for college cost and saving for retirement has put many parents in a major financial pinch.  When confronted with paying for college, many folks that have not saved for college are giving up and are forced to borrow college funds in order to continue savings for retirement.    

However, most of these families do not realize the financial dilemma they are creating if they borrow too much.  Borrowing too much in order to help pay for their children’s’ college education, WILL have a direct effect on accumulating enough money for retirement.

College Expenses And Retirement Dollars

The dollar amount spent on college expenses can dramatically affect the parents’ ability to fund retirement. 

For example:

Let’s assume a student was to attend a public university that cost $20,000 a year and the parents are in the 15% effective Federal income tax bracket, 5.5% effective State tax bracket, 1.5% local tax and pays 7.65% toward Social Security.  The total tax percent is 29.65%.  These tax percentages will play a very important role as we continue.

The parents can afford to pay $5,000 toward the student’s education and the student will receive $5,500 in student loans the freshman year ($6,500 for sophomore year and $7,500 for the junior and senior year), and the parents will qualify for the American Opportunity tax credit of $2,500. 

After deducting the parents’ contribution of $5,000, the Federal loans to the student and the American Opportunity tax credit, the remaining cost per year will be $7,000. Since the parents only can afford $5,000 from ordinary income, they decide to borrow the $7,000 through the Federal PLUS loan program and defer any loan payments until the student graduates.

The reason the parents did not make payments on the PLUS while the student was in college is because the loan payment on the PLUS loan would almost equal the $5,000 they could afford while the student was attending college ($5,000 compared to $4,394 annual loan payment).

Since the parents will borrow $7,000 each year for four-years they would accumulate $32,382 in debt plus unpaid interest at 6.41% on the unpaid balance.  Total monthly payment on $32,382 is $366.21 a month over a ten year period (see chart below).

As you can see from the chart the total amount the parents will pay back over the ten year period is $43,945.19.

In order for the parents to make the monthly payments on their PLUS loan they will have to make payments with after tax dollars.

Since the parents must pay taxes on the 366.20 monthly payments at a 29.65% they would have to make approximately $520 (before taxes) to clear the $366.20 monthly payment.  The difference is $153.80 a month ($520 - $366.20 = $153.80).

Let’s look at how much the parents actually paid to cover their part of the student’s $80,000 public college education (over a four-year period after student loans and educational tax credits).

The parents paid $20,000 over four years while the student attended college.  Since they did not make payments on the PLUS loan while the student was attending college it will cost the parents $28,000 in PLUS loan principal, $4,382 in unpaid interest on PLUS while student attended college and $11,563 in interest on the PLUS loans during the repayment period.  

Therefore, the parents total cost is $63,945.

If we were to add what the student paid (student loans + interest) and what it actually cost the parents, the total cost of the $80,000 education is actually $102,212 which is $22,212 difference. 
Now let’s turn the clock back and see what the parents could have done with proper planning.
Let’s assume the parents shifted some of the expense they were paying for the student while they were living at home, adjusted how they were being taxed and adjusted some of their spending habits (without changing their lifestyle) in order for them NOT to take out a PLUS loan and to cover their $5,000 a year contribution.

This would save the parents $15,945 in PLUS loan interest payments. 

If the oldest parent was 49 when the student graduated from college they could use what they were paying for college $5,000 + $7,000 = $12,000 and invested this money (5.5%) in a qualified retirement plan until age 65 (instead of paying this amount toward paying the PLUS loan off), they would have accumulated approximately $295,693.    

Since the parents did not do any planning the $80,000 college education cost the family (parent and student) $102,212 (cost of college + interest on students loans and parents PLUS loans).  If they were to have planned ahead and made just a few adjustments, (without changing their lifestyle), the education would have only cost the family $86,267, ($80,000 cost of college + $6,267 interest on student’s Federal loans).

If the parents were to have invested the $15,945 that they would have saved in PLUS loan interest and invested this savings at 5.5% in a qualified retirement plan, they would have accumulated and additional $37,554 at age 65.  See chart below.

IF the family were to have planned ahead they could have accumulated and additional $333,247 for retirement.

Therefore, you can look at what the college education ACTUALLY cost the family.  If they were to have paid the $80,000 education in the tradition way the education would have cost $102,212.

However, if they were to have planned ahead and made just a few adjustments (without changing their lifestyle), the education would have cost the family $86,267, however the parents could have increased their retirement savings by $333,247.  This is a net gain of $246,980.

You now have a decision to make, pay for college the traditional way or  Contact Us at (904) 614-5305
and let us save you thousands of dollars! College Tuition Solutions of Florida