What are employers looking for and thinking about in an employment interview? 

Here is some of what is going through the minds of people who interview you for a job. This should help you better prepare and understand why your interviewers asking the questions they ask and why they are conducting the interview.

They want to:

1) confirm that you have the background and experience that you have presented in your resume.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked questions that could be answered by reading your resume.  You will likely be probed for further details of what you have stated for your experience, skills and education

  • Can you give specific examples of where you have demonstrated key skills that job requires?  If you can’t give specific examples, they may doubt that you actually had the experience you state in the resume.


2) assess your communication and interpersonal skills

They will look for you to show enthusiasm for the job you are applying to by moving and gesturing with positive energy,  using your voice to emphasize what is important in the job, and asking questions to show your interest in the job and organization.

  • Do you give the expected information that is requested in questions?  Directly answering a question is a skill you will need to demonstrate everyday at work

Remember to give a brief direct answer to questions and provide a few key details.  Also, ask for clarification or paraphrase, if you don’t understand the meaning of what an interviewer has asked or if you are unsure of what they want they want to tell them.

  • Do you listen actively, retaining and responding to what the interviewer(s) have said? Remember the interview is meant to be a two-way conversation, not just an opportunity to explain your background.  The interviewers will have a much more positive impression of you if you have made a connection with them on a personal level.


3) assess your ‘fit’

This is about personality and attitudes.  They want to know if you are the type of person who would work well with existing staff.  They will likely be assessing the following.

  • Does the conversation flow well or is it relatively comfortable?
  • Is your style of thinking and communicating in sync with the interviewers?
  • Are your values and priorities in harmony with those of the employer?
  • Is your level of assertiveness, confidence and energy appropriate for the job and the organization?


4) gauge your knowledge of the company or organization

Employers will often choose motivation and interest over minor shortcomings in skill.  Skills can be taught much more easily than attitude.

  • So, do you attitude and answers show you interested working for them or just getting a job anyway that will accept you?
  • Have you taken the time to review their website or other information to learn about their products and services and thought about how you can contribute to their needs and express that in the interview?

These are some of the essential criteria that employers will be using to assess if you are the right candidate for the job that you have applied to.  In preparing for your interview, try to think from the employer’s perspective and critically review your own background and suitability for the position.  Prepare well and assess your own performance after your interview.  If you have done all that you could to prepare and have done the best could in the interview, that is a success in itself.  Keep up the focused efforts until you get the job that you want that you meet the requirements for.


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