What are employers really looking for?


Landing your ideal role isn’t simply about having the right skills and experience to let you do the job. If it were, employers wouldn’t bother interviewing but would simply offer based on the contents of your CV. There are a whole host of other factors they are taking into account, sometimes at a subconscious level. A great candidate will have done their research prior to applying, take these factors into account and present themselves as the ideal candidate.

Here are a few key things that employers are looking for that you’ll rarely find spelt out in a job description:

Cultural fit

The ideal scenario when recruiting is to hire someone who not only has the ability to do the role well, but also fits into the working style, behaviours and values of the organisation. This is known as the company culture, and employees who fit into that culture will generally work better with others, be more productive and stay in the role longer than those who don’t.

If you’re invited to interview, an employer will want to find out about your personality as well as your credentials. So, you need to be able to talk about the way in which you work and how that will fit in with the rest of the organisation. Some companies are looking for sole operators who are immensely driven and focused (no pun intended), while others prefer employees who are happier sharing the glory as part of a team. Establishing which your potential new organisation prefers before an interview is vital. 

However, if it seems that the company usually employs people completely unlike you, don’t be tempted to present your character in a completely different way. If you are really an introvert but acted in an extroverted manner at an interview in order to secure a role that suits that sort of person, you’re unlikely to be happy in that job.

Enthusiasm and interest

If you’ve been applying and interviewing for lots of different jobs at the same time, it can sometimes be difficult to summon up a convincing amount of enthusiasm for this particular role at interview. Employers want candidates who genuinely want to work for their company and do that particular role. Enthusiastic people make better, more valuable employees and are likely to stay with the company longer.

You can demonstrate this enthusiasm by making sure your application and interview answers are tailored specifically for a role, rather than the same ones you use for everything. Using specific examples from their company will impress an interviewer and demonstrate your interest in them. If you can link activities or hobbies in your private life to the role, that’s a great sign of your enthusiasm.

Transferable skills

Employers don’t want to have to train every new member of staff from scratch, so it’s definitely important that you have the basic ability to do the job. However, it’s often not nearly as important to have mastered everything listed in a job description as it might appear. In this digital age, the skills required to do any particular role are changing rapidly, so spending years becoming an expert in one particular area is now less useful than it used to be.

Instead, employers are often more interested in your ‘soft skills’ – the things you learn while you’re mastering other abilities. These include attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, teamwork, networking, decision making, positivity, time management, motivation, flexibility, problem-solving, critical thinking, and conflict resolution. Soft skills are generally harder and take longer to learn than role-specific abilities, so these are the ones you should emphasise at interview. It’s all about selling your potential to benefit the company in the long term.

Let us help

Focused Recruitment has a successful track record in placing candidates in commercial, engineering, technical, industrial and manufacturing companies. We take the time to really get to know our clients when we take on a role, so we can tell you all about their organisation and how to present yourself as an ideal employee.

If you’d like to find out more about your career options, get in touch on 01443 832400 or apply@focusedrecruitment.co.uk.

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