Business leaders are increasingly looking for “soft” skills and personality as well as academic achievements when hiring workers, a new study shows.

Research among 1,750 businessmen and women found that more than half were interested in whether a candidate had done any volunteering work.

British Gas said its survey revealed that a third of employers look at someone’s social media profile to gauge their personality before meeting them in person.

Most believed jobseekers should focus on soft skills such as communication, as much as academic grades.

Claire Miles, managing director for customer operations at British Gas, said: “Whilst good exam results can boost opportunities for young people, our survey highlights that employers are also looking for evidence of soft skills and personality before making a final decision on whom to hire.

“Most young people think that employers only care about their academic achievements, but that’s not the case. There’s a real opportunity for young people to boost their chances of employment through volunteering, which is a great indicator of soft skills.”

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