What Employers Look for – and How to Nail It at the Interview

 In Job Applicant Tips

It’s called a job ‘hunt’ for a reason.

Alas, you can’t just pop to the shop and pick one from the shelf! Instead, it takes time, energy, initiative and, most importantly, the right know-how.

The process of landing your perfect job is rarely easy. For instance, recruiters receive an average of 250 resumes per position and only the top 2% ever get called for interview.

Stats like these demonstrate two crucial components of job searching: 1) it’s essential to know what employers look for in a candidate, and 2) you need to nail the interview when you get one.

Luckily for you, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today!

Keeping reading for tips and suggestions that’ll help you find the job you’ve been searching for.

What Employers Look for in a Candidate

We live in a competitive world. Landing your ideal job isn’t easy.

For a competitive advantage, it’s essential to know what employers want to see in you. Tick the right boxes and you stand a much better chance of being called for interview. Here are 5 things employers are looking for.

Leadership Ability

Your ability to show leadership is a key attribute to demonstrate in any application. Leadership ability implies confidence, a willingness to operate under pressure, to handle responsibility, to manage a team, be decisive, take charge and help manage a team.

Even if you don’t feel like you have the ability to lead, there’s almost always a time and place where you have done. Be it in a sports team, family situation, previous job role or whatever, rack your brains to think of a time when you’ve taken charge of a situation in some way.

The Correct Skillset

To be considered for a position you need to demonstrate the right skillset for it.

This is where it’s crucial to read thoroughly any job description provided. Match the personal skills you include on a resume with what the job will demand of you. Common attributes will be the ability to rapidly solve problems, perform well in a team, work well under pressure, and be an effective timekeeper.

The Correct Culture-Set

Every company and organization has a particular culture that they want their employees to match. Having an individual who doesn’t can be bad for business and the working atmosphere.

Before you apply you should do your research. Make sure it’s a company you’d like to work for and for whom you think you’d be a good fit. YouTube them, speak to current employees, read up on them online.

Then relay to them your knowledge and affinity with their culture in an application.


Companies want someone with a personality that’ll help them be a success in the role.

Of course, different jobs will demand different things of you. But general personality traits that go a long way are honesty, integrity, openness, determination, persistence, conscientiousness and work ethic. Be sure to portray and actively talk about such traits in your applications

The Right Qualifications

Finally, having the right qualifications for a position is usually a prerequisite.

Unless you can show exceptional reasons (such as extra-curricular achievements and/or relevant experience) otherwise, it’s unlikely you’ll be considered for a job if you don’t meet their requirements.

Many popular jobs even use automatic screening systems that wheedle out anyone who doesn’t match up correctly. Qualifications are likely to enter into this process. Simply, anyone without the right qualifications (or fail to list them) won’t make it past the first, computerized hurdle.

How to Nail Your Interview

Now you know what your potential employer’s looking for, you’re on your way to the next step: an interview. Here are 5 tips that’ll help you nail it.

Know the Company

It’s essential that you have a solid knowledge base about the company you’re interviewing for.

Do your research beforehand. What values do they abide by? What’s their primary purpose? When were they founded and who set it up? Who’s in charge? And so on.

Not only will it help you understand if you really want to work for them. But they may ask you directly about it in the interview. Even if they don’t, you’ll almost always have a chance to ask your own questions. Why not show you know your stuff by asking them something related to the company?

Know the Job

Likewise, you need to know the ins and outs of the job you’ve applied for. Otherwise, how will you be able to show the interviewer your aptitude for it?

Know what your core responsibilities would be. Understand the purpose behind the role. Then reflect on how your own skillset would enable you to succeed. You’ll almost certainly have to answer questions on this.

Know Your Resume

There’s nothing more disappointing for an employer than having an ideal paper candidate who fails to match up in person. You want to show consistency between you and your resume.

Your resume should list all of your prior achievements and personal attributes. It’s common to be asked how your particular skills and experience would enable you to work well in the role. A solid understanding of your resume will give you a better chance of doing all the above.

Make a Good Impression

This is easier said than done sometimes, right? Especially in a situation as nerve-wracking as an interview. But it’s essential.

After all, people make a snap judgment of you in 7 seconds. As awful as it sounds, it doesn’t take the interviewer much longer than that to make up their minds. Give yourself the best chance of success from the very outset. Smile, be appropriately dressed, make eye contact, offer a firm handshake and try to act confidently!

Prepare Your Answers

Interviews are a bit like a pass/fail examination. And in the same way, you can revise for an exam, you can prep for an interview by planning answers to potential interview questions.

Such prior preparation can be essential to success. Research common questions for your industry and prepare answers to them in advance. Imagine what you’ll be asked and think about what you’ll say.

Of course, you can’t prepare for everything, but this remains a great way to prevent being caught off-guard.

Time to Get Applying

There you have it: what employers look for and how to nail your interview.

It’s no mean feat to land your dream job these days. A dose of good luck often helps. But knowing what employers want to see, and having some interview techniques up your sleeve, can also give you a better chance of success.

Hopefully, the tips here will mean you get offered your dream job in no time!

Now we’d like to hear from you: which piece of advice in this piece was most helpful? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for a job? Be sure to contact us to see how we can help.

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