What do IBM and Vodafone look for when hiring graduates?

Computerworld asked two prominent ICT employers what they look for when hiring graduates

Computerworld asked two prominent ICT employers what they look for when hiring graduates.

IBM typically hires IT graduates into either a technical consulting position in the global business services (GBS) or IT specialist in the global technical services (GTS) divisions, says John Saunders, HR Manager at IBM New Zealand.

“IBM needs graduates who are multi-dimensional and who are able to work together effectively in a team,” he says.

GBS roles attract mainly computer science and software engineering graduates, as well as Bachelor of IT or Bachelor of business information systems graduates.

“GTS technical roles we find will attract students that have a desire for highly technical roles,” says Saunders.

Students that have completed an internship are often “much more competitive applicants and will adapt faster”, he says.

“We also find that students that have participated in extra-curricular activities, projects or groups will interview well as they can draw on this experience when providing answers to behavioural-based questions.”

While the subject of the degree studied is less important, a degree illustrates the capacity of an individual to apply him or herself in a particular area, says Saunders.

“Often for those without a career history to draw from, education is an entry ticket, and a sign of potential.”

“Increasingly, we see candidates with excellent skills coming from polytechnics as well as the traditional universities,” he adds.

Vodafone has a technology graduate programme which offers graduates the chance to work in different technology divisions. In their second year, graduates specialise in an area of networks or IT, says Sandra Pickering, chief technology officer at Vodafone NZ.

“Next year we hope to bring another group of technology graduates into Vodafone, from project management, engineering and information systems disciplines.”

“Education is an important part of our selection process,” Pickering says.

“We’re particularly interested in candidates with degrees in engineering, information technology and the sciences – at Bachelor level and above – with the ability to think analytically. Great Vodafone candidates will also have an enquiring mind, work well under pressure and be a team player.”

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