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What are Employers looking for?

According a Federal Government Australian Jobs report some time ago, employers look for three main characteristics:


1. A positive ‘can do’ attitude - This means that when asked to undertake a job, even if that job appears menial or ‘not relevant’ to them, someone who says “YES, I can do that”, is someone who will be well thought of by an employer as they will be considered to be a ‘team player’.


2. A willingness to learn and participate in entry-level jobs - You will have heard the phrase, ‘you need to learn to walk before you can run’, this is particularly relevant when starting your first job. Being willing to learn the basics of any role will strengthen your knowledge of the job and of the company. This is invaluable as you climb the ladder and take on other responsibilities.


3. Volunteers for positions to gain experience and work skills - Again, a terrific attribute for a newly appointed employee. It is amazing what you learn when volunteering, the people you meet, creating more connections across an organisation, and again the knowledge you accumulate is invaluable. The report also outlines more general attributes sought by employers, reflecting on the personality of applicants as new recruits.


a. Honesty and Integrity - It goes without saying that these are essential attributes for any employee. In the business world, being honest and displaying integrity in all business interactions and dealings is paramount to the credibility of not only the employee, but also the business that employs them.


b. Is well presented - This is a big issue, as personal presentation appears to be less important than in earlier years. When it comes to presenting oneself for interview, personal appearance is top of the list of consideration when assessing candidates.


The person or persons interviewing a number of candidates, gets perhaps ½ hour to make an assessment, which will include how the candidate presents themselves, how they speak when greeted and their personal appearance. This includes:


ü Clothes are clean, neat and appropriate. No torn jeans (although in fashion at the moment, are not considered acceptable). Have a look at what others are wearing at the company you are aiming at, and see what the standards are. I call it top to toe personal presentation.


ü Shoes cleaned and appropriate (no stilettos, sneakers or thongs).

ü Hair clean and combed. (Although it may appear acceptable to you for your hair to be pulled back with a band and not combed), from a business perspective, it may not give the professional image the employer is looking for.

ü Hands and fingernails neat and trim.

ü Makeup minimal, and no heavy perfume (less is more).

ü No dangling earrings or bracelets that make a noise when you move, as they can be distracting to those people interviewing you.


All of these protocols may seem like a personal attack on a person's individuality, however if serious about becoming part of the workforce, it is important to make a good impression at interview. Interviewers make their initial assessment within the first 60 seconds of a person entering the room. Even before they begin to speak. Making sure your appearance reflects the position you are seeking, means ‘Dressing for Success’, dress for the position you see yourself in, not where you are now.


Having sat on many an interview panels, I understand what companies are looking for in the candidates they see, and I can assure you that these points are the essentials of personal presentation.


c. Reliability - Reliability on the day of interview is demonstrated by turning up on time, at the right place, with the right paperwork in your hand. At interview your general reliability could be demonstrated by relating a personal achievement where reliability had contributed to your success in a certain situation.


d. Speaks with clarity - Communication skills are a must in any workplace situation. It doesn’t mean that you have to be the life of the party, but it is essential that you can clearly articulate when in conversation with someone. This skill will be tested at an interview, as it is the one time when you need to ‘sell’ yourself. This means you have to be able to tell the interview panel about yourself, clearly and concisely.


It is perhaps a skill that is not so prominent in todays’ society due to ‘texting’, emails and other non-verbal communication. It would therefore be a good idea to get some practice by role playing an interview with perhaps a relative or friend who can give you constructive feedback.


TIP: It appears that the word ‘Like’ has invaded conversations, to the point that it occurs more than once in any one sentence. As it does not add ‘value’ to a conversation, it would be appropriate not to use it at an Interview. It may confuse the message you are trying to give to the person interviewing.


e. Has enthusiasm - This is a great attribute to be able to demonstrate at an interview. Enthusiasm shows itself in a person’s face, when they speak, and even in their mannerisms.

It is a bit like passion, if you have a passion for a particular hobby, book or career, it will come out in what you say and how you say it.


f. Someone who is motivated - Think about what motivates you. Analyse why and how it changes the way you think or act. If you are applying for a position that inspires you, then tell the interviewer why.


g. Competence - You will need to indicate some level of competence to undertake the position applied for.


A Candidate’s level of competence may be virtually none existent when applying for a first job straight out of school; however it doesn’t mean that you aren’t interested in the type of business, or the particular type of work. You may have undertaken a particular course at school, and achieved good results in say Science, which has given you a strong interest in this position. Or you may be able to display a level of competence in another area which indicates your competence to successfully complete tasks at an appropriate level.


h. Energy, Ideas & Enthusiasm - As stated earlier, if you have a passion for a certain industry, it would be considered a positive attribute by any interviewing panel.


Consider what Kevin Rudd, said in a speech he gave when appointed Prime Minister, “Young people, we need your energy, your ideas and your enthusiasm. We need you to support us to meet the great challenges ahead”.


It is common sense to say then that the Youth of today, are very much the Citizens of tomorrow, and if Australia is to continue to prosper, this country needs all the energies, ideas and enthusiasm that this next generation is able to bring to the table.


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© 2019 by Catherine Middleton