Everyone looks for special things about applicants and it
will vary by company, job level, location, and by specific
business needs. However, there is "common ground" in
what employers need.
Below we touch on some of the most frequent areas that
you can prepare to answer, directly or indirectly as they
touch on these areas so you can knock their socks off!
Here are ones most often cited; this is not all inclusive.
What are common things Companies Look for?
1. Willingness to do the job
Sounds crazy but it is a problem in finding the right candidate and hire.
Items you can touch on to show your willingness without overdoing it:
2. Know your desired path and wants
Share your story in how you are following your interests or passions. Be ready
to discuss your envisioned career path going forward.
Companies want "self-directed" people who know what they want and are willing
to work to achieve it. Great managers are seeking great new employees. Be
prepared to discuss your growth vision.
3. Success Stories
Work related or not, what left you feeling all "charged up" from something you did
as an accomplishment.
Discuss your strength areas and let them decide what areas to seek greater detail
6. Independent Thinker
Some managers don't want independent thinkers, so scratch them from your list
if you are seeking a professional position. Managers need good input from
brainstorming or obtaining another perspective for a challenge.
7. Problem Solver / Proven Success
No manager needs to watch over an employee in an important role; they just
don't have the time. Be ready to discuss some small and large success stories
you were responsible for.
8. Honesty, Ethics and Integrity
- HONESTY: A facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous
attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness,
including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence
of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Furthermore, honesty means being
trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.
- ETHICS: Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves
systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and
- INTEGRITY: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles;
moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to hold oneself
to consistent moral and ethical standards; the honesty and
truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions.
You want to get smarter and stronger in your life. This could be advancement
at a company, starting your own business, or going into other areas.
10. Personal Pride and Passion
Showing pride, energy, and passion for what you do is a positive sign for you.
There are biological changes to your body when you talk about your passions or
pride in things you do. DO NOT try to fake these as your talk versus your physical
body activities will rat you out.
Discuss how you take ownership of problems and do not need to be told to get
on something. By asking the work you will be doing which shows a proactive
12. Ability to Keep Secrets and Protect Confidential/Classified Material
Companies have growing sensitivity about unauthorized disclosure of materials
including treating employee directories and organization charges as confidential.
Knowing what is and is not secret, confidential or classified is important as these
documents or knowledge are not always clearly marked. Knowing how to keep
your silence until you know the information is "public" is very important in a
growing number of jobs. Part of being competitive is not telling your competitors
things, directly or indirectly.
13. Flexibility, Availability, Maintainability and Reliability
What were selling points of computer systems is now expected from employees.
You are happy for the opportunity to learn new things.
- Flexibility: are you rigid in doing only your work and not extra tasks?
would you assist someone challenged with a special task?
- Availability: would you work late days, weekends or holidays if needed?
- Maintainability: will you keep your skills current and acquire new ones?
- Reliability: will you do what you say you will do? Will you meet deadlines?
14. Communications Skills
- Have you created and delivered presentation to your peers? Managers?
Executives? Customers or Prospects? The Media?
- Have you written reports or other important documents for peer and
- Have you written procedures or processes for others to follow?
- Have you created any training materials and/or taught a class?
- Is your voice clear and easy to understand? Do you use inflection or speak
15. Organization Skills
What work have you done that required organizing things, people and/or activities
to complete work activities? Work you have done for charitable organizations in
helping them organize is often acceptable if there nothing work related. Getting
a group of high school students to mow your lawn does not count.
16. Leadership Ability
Being able to lead one or more people in any type of task can qualify even if it is
outside of your work for charitable or non-profit organizations. Leading people
to watch the weekend football games does not meet their standards.
17. Promotable and Long Term Employee Potential
Companies want people who will grow, develop industry knowledge thus making
them more valuable and more promotable. People with a 3-year outlook will not
be viewed as suitable unless this is a contract position.
18. Will you "fit in"
Some people are great potential candidates but their personality, habits, attitude
or other factors raise concern that they would not be a strong member in the
teams or workgroups within the company. This is too high of a risk to take.