The Intangibles of Employees and Consultants

Last week I got a surprise offer to be a part of a roundtable discussion with some medical and IT professionals for a graduating group of Healthcare Informatics students from a local technical college this coming Friday. So I’ve been thinking of the kinds of things I want to say and get them to think about…

I want to talk about the assumptions they have–both about potential jobs and employers–and then squash those like a bug.
Ok, not quite…but to get them to think outside of the box they’ve just put themselves in with their assumptions and to think about some of the intangibles (the “soft skills”) they can bring to the table, and the importance of doing that in this economy. I’d compare it to the timeframe of about 1999-2001 or so, when the IT industry was being flooded by people with MCSE certifications…they have the cert, they had the test knowledge, but so many of them were absolutely clueless in real-life troubleshooting or experience. (We called them “paper MCSEs”). How will they set themselves apart?
If I had any desire to hire employees (I still do not, and as things continue to grow, would be looking at bringing on independent contractors and/or further developing some of the agreements I have with other tech companies), I would be looking for things like:
–the ability to understand and use logic
–the ability to prioritize
–being teachable, wanting and eager to learn, curious
–being personable, pleasant to be around
–the ability to speak/write non-technically to end-users
What would you add to the list? What things do you look for in the people you do business with?