What do Employers Look For During an Interview
As they gather information about a candidate, employers rely heavily
on interviews to answer three key questions.
- Does this candidate have the skills and abilities needed
to do the job effectively?
Convincing an employer that you possess these skills and abilities
requires that you have more than just a superficial understanding of
the job. You will need a clear understanding of the position, the
employer's expectations, and a working knowledge of the industry.
Always review any available organizational recruiting literature as
well as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, relevant trade journals,
and other materials in the Career Resource Room. Informational
interviews with current professionals are an outstanding source of
firsthand information about position responsibilities and specific
employers. Once you have an understanding of a job's requirements,
review your resume and identify specific activities, work
experiences, or classes that have allowed you to develop and
demonstrate the skills, abilities, or specialized knowledge being
- Does this candidate possess the enthusiasm and work
ethic needed to do what will be expected?
In answering this question, employers are focusing not so much on
your skills and abilities, but on your personal qualities and your
character. Doing the research suggested above will allow you to
demonstrate your knowledge of the position, the particular field or
industry, and your investment in the interview process. Highlighting
courses, activities, or experiences that were especially challenging
and that required a great deal of perseverance will provide the
employer with examples of your high energy level, diligence, and
ability to commit to a goal.
- Will this candidate be a cooperative team player and fit
in well with our organization?
In some direct or not-so-direct way, you will be asked, "Why are you
interested in this position? Why are you interested in this
organization?" Your task is to develop a strong response with solid
reasoning backed by examples. "I want to work with people" is not a
Demonstrate your knowledge of and your interest in the activities,
philosophies, people, and goals of the organization. Create a
connection between what you have learned about your own leadership
or interpersonal style (through activities or experiences) and the
leadership or interpersonal styles you see in the career and in the