What Top Companies Want From Top Talent in 2017

If you want a boss to make all the decisions, are adamant that work is strictly 9 to 5, and you’re not au fait with digital trends, your chances of landing a job at a top company in 2017 are slim.

In my experiences with helping businesses from start-ups and SME’s to agencies and multinationals to find the right talent, it’s immensely clear that they want self-starters, confident operators, and people who can hold their own with executives. Being goal oriented, with both your career and the company’s future, is essential to seal the deal.

With industry competition rife, budgets tight, and the issues caused by getting a poor-fit into a business endless, agencies are now conducting three or four interviews with each prospective hire. Testing of professional skills is common – such as responding to a mock brief or delivering a presentation. Then if you’re still in the game, they’ll move on to reference checks.

Here are six other key things I know top companies want from new talent:

  1. Initiative: They expect to see you can motivate yourself, make decisions and find solutions to problems without waiting for someone to lead. At senior levels, they’d prefer you to take brave leaps (and potentially mess up), rather than sit back.
  2. Team player: To meet today’s diverse demands, top companies will only take on people who can collaborate. You must be willing to go the extra mile to get projects over the line, to share your knowledge, or represent your team at events. Steer clear if you’re a ‘clock watcher’. If they suspect you’ll say ‘no’ to pitching in after hours when it’s urgent, or won’t come in early to prepare for a big day, you won’t get to the next round.
  3. Digital savvy: Communication and project management are now predominantly digital, so companies won’t look twice if you can’t roll with tech systems. You also need to be tech-trend aware, and on the hunt for tools that can do things more effectively.
  4. Flexible with salary: Top companies want the best talent for their buck, and they have fixed budgets for each role. If you’re not flexible in salary negotiations, they’ll move on – or you’ll need to. Smaller companies can be more willing to negotiate.
  5. Pumping under pressure: The top companies must be convinced you can not only deal with pressure, but thrive under it. Without inner strength to deal with challenges, they won’t be interested.
  6. Cultural click: Even if you come armed with the technical skills and passion, they’ll expect you to fit their company culture. If you haven’t researched their brand values, how they operate, their star performers and clients, and can’t show how you could be an asset to that environment, your chances will plummet.

The top companies didn’t get so successful by being weak with recruitment. If you want to work with them, it means going through a tough hiring process that is designed to spot the brightest talent – as well as the red flags.


Anna O’Dea
About the author: 

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Agency Iceberg Founder Anna O’Dea works with award winning brands  across the Asia-Pacific. In 2015, Anna invested $50,000 to found the Leading Ladies project which promotes visibility of senior women in leadership positions across advertising, marketing, digital and PR. In 2016, Anna was named a global LinkedIn Top Voice (the only female in Australia to take out the social media & marketing category) and her blog named one of the top business blogs in Australia by Smart Company.

In 2016, Anna launched the Negotiate Your Worth series, which gives employees the tools to improve their negotiation skills and in 2017, was also nominated by Optus for the Small Business Awards within the national “Workplace of the Year” category.

Anna is also regularly featured on panels as an anti bullying, equal rights and LBGTIQ advocate and welcomes enquiries of interest to speak on this topic. Follow Anna on LinkedIn.