When Andrew Banks Tells You How To Be Employable, You Listen

Being the perfect candidate is not as easy as you may think.

When it come to HR and recruitment, no one knows more than Shark Tank's Andrew Banks. After all, he was the co-founder of Morgan and Banks,  a dominant force in the recruitment industry in Australia and Asia and an HR guru for many years, as well as being an entrepreneur and successful investor.

As we said, no one.

So when you're given the chance to talk to him about anything at all, of course what you want to know is  -- HOW DO I GET MY DREAM JOB, right? Or more specifically, how do I make myself as employable as possible so that my dream job comes a-knocking?

Turns out -- the first step you need to take is building up what are called your "soft skills."

"They're not really soft at all," says Andrew, "they're very important skills. They’re all about how you cooperate, how you operate as a team your emotional stability, ability to communicate and win people over, as opposed to being technically competent."

Right, so apparently many of us aren't getting the jobs we are qualified for because of a lack of these skills -- which is kind of frustrating when you know you have all the requirements for a role, right?

"To make yourself more employable I think you should be doing things that are outside just being proficient at something," advises Andrew. "Practice your ability to work in a team in part-time jobs, doing activities and things that make you stand on your own two feet, doing things that will expand your life skills. In an interview, look someone in the eye and ask good questions -- soft skills are all about self awareness."

Yes  -- self awareness is the next key here -- ask yourself who you are, and work out how can you be as much yourself as possible while also being proficient (Andrew calls this authenticity).

Asking good questions in your job interview reflects that self awareness -- are you following?

"I always feel particularly young people  -- less experienced people -- aren’t good at asking questions in an interview," says Andrew. "They feel they have  to talk the whole time, instead of saying 'what does this job involve,' 'what sort of people do well here?', 'six months from now, if we were doing a review and you were telling me how I was going, what are the sorts of things that would show I was successful?' By doing that you show that self awareness."

The other thing  about improving employability, Andrew continues, is getting practical experience. "Show you’re prepared to do something practical and so not just the theoretical stuff. Show that you’re constantly learning. I’m in my 60s and I still believe in life long learning. I think for older people  it’s a sign of arrogance if you don’t think you have nothing to learn. It’s the definition of being a know it all, and then you’re a smart arse and that isn’t good.

If you’re on the way up, you have to amplify that curiosity even more."

So there you have it. Andrew's tips for making yourself uber employable (print them out and stick them on your wall if you have to):

Ask good questions

Show that you’re willing to learn

Demonstrate that you have done some practical stuff as well as some theoretical stuff

Be as authentic as you can

Work on things outside of a job that improve your soft skills

And a last word from the master? "Focus on speaking to people  -- it could be working with a charity, a soup kitchen, helping at an aged care place -- something that isn’t just about you and your Instagram account."