What are employers looking for in an interview?


Preparing for a new job, new school or even an acting role requires attending an interview, which can be nerve wracking at the best of times. It is especially difficult in today’s economical climate. Not only are jobs few and far between nowadays, the competition will be tougher than ever with everyone fighting for the same limited position. Do not let this deter you. Instead make it you spur you on to go further and do better than everyone else.

By checking your travel route to the interview, making sure you have notes ready and plenty of time to arrive, learning the name/s of your interviewers and arriving early, this preparation will hold you in good stead. But, these alone won’t get you the job.

So, what is it that employers are looking for?  Employers are looking for several things from these interviews and it is your chance as a candidate to stand out from the crowd. The only way to do this is to know your potential employer and the company like the back of your hand. There are generally a list of interview requirements sent out to you or even mentioned on the corporate website. Study these, follow their guidelines and then go that extra mile to add a special little something else.

Whats the extra mile? It could be anything from quoting an achievement by the employer and linking back to a similar achievement you have made. Perhaps its offering an insight to a business idea. Anything that is directly in keeping with the nature of the interview (e.g. don’t tell your potential new boss how many points you have on your xbox games) and that shed a little light on your experienced, enthusiastic and committed nature will be favoured.

Why bother? Well that all depends on how much you want the job in the first place, but employers like to see someone with drive and ambition. Obviously it isn’t advisable to tell he/she that one day will you be sitting in their office doing their job (they may see you as a threat). A little enthusiasm though definitely goes a  long way.

Keep it relevant and to the point, but also make it real and explain how you can contribute to the company. Why should they pick you over Mr Blogs next door? What is it that you have that he doesn’t? They aren’t interested in how well you have memorised their history, but throwing in a few facts may help.

Imagine you were going for an acting role, for example. Not only would you have to know the lines of the monologue you were due to deliver, expected to have rehearsed them and therefore get into character, you would have to know the story inside out. If a director stopped you mid sentence and asked you why you were feeling a certain way when speaking those lines, and what relevance it has to the rest of the play – you could quickly answer him.  Confidence is key, but without arrogance about it. It wouldn’t seem right to see Romeo smiling to his adoring fans in the audience just as he is about to drink the poison thinking his beloved had done the same. Instead, he is convincing us with using the right tone, tears and most importantly he is committed to the role.

So are you committed to your role? Are you ready to look the part? If the job you have applied for is in a formal setting then dress the part. Unless you are having an on-the-job-interview say as a fitness coach I wouldn’t turn up in jogging bottoms and trainers as it would send out the wrong impression. Save the personality of your wardrobe for dress down Fridays. The one thing I would suggest you wear straight away is a smile.

Finally, listen to your interviewer take notes if needs be. Pause to collect your thoughts and then blow them away with your answers. This is your chance so grab it while you can. Good luck!


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