Although employers may ask you all kinds of questions in interviews, there are really five main things they want to know about you, and all of their questions are geared around them. Your resume may even be screened out for red flags that call into question your ability to provide these five qualities. Here is what they want to know:
1. Will you be reliable and dependable?
Employers need to know they can count on you to be there when you’re supposed to be and that you will do what you are supposed to do. If you can’t deliver those two qualities, they don’t want you. Simply stating that you are reliable and dependable won’t cut it. Employers want proof. Were you on time for the interview? Have ever been fired and if so, why? Include on your resume and bring up in the interview any special accomplishments or awards or promotions which prove you reliably deliver results. Employers may call your previous employers and your references to verify dependability. You may be asked about absenteeism at your previous jobs. Be prepared to explain any significant gaps in your work history as well. Avoid giving reasons such as medical problems or family problems. Acceptable responses would be caring for an elderly parent who has passed away or being a stay-at-home parent or that there were personal issues in your life which have been resolved.
2. Do you have the minimum qualifications and ability to perform the job duties?
This is determined from your resume content and by how you relate your skills to the employers needs in interviews. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not being able to communicate how their skills relate to their ability to do the job. Give examples of how you have used the necessary skills in the past and any education that relates as well. Ideally, you should have some special achievements or promotions to talk about which convey to the employer that you can do more than the minimum duties.
3. Will you stay long-term?
It is expensive to train a new employee, not including the time taken to screen applicants and conduct interviews and the lost productivity while the position is vacant. Employers want to know that they won’t have to do this again anytime soon. They are looking for employees who will stay and grow with the company. Red flags on resumes that may get you screened out are ‘job hopping’ or evidence that you are an older applicant. We all know age discrimination is illegal, but it continues just the same. If you’re an older applicant, be sure you mention that you have no plans of retiring any time soon – at least ten years. If you have a history of not sticking with employers, be prepared to explain why in an interview.
– more – Time to Leave Your Job?
4. Will your personality fit in the organization and can you get along well with others?
A positive attitude goes a long way with employers and may even make up for what you may lack in other areas. Interview questions you might encounter are: How do you handle conflict? Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your supervisor. If two coworkers are having a disagreement, how do you deal with it? Employers may also try to pull this information out of your previous employers. They will also be assessing during interviews how your personality might fit with their particular office cultures. Office culture varies widely and includes things like being laid back or strict and stuffy or positive and helpful. Remember to evaluate them also. It may be an office full of gossipers and back-stabbers and every-man-for-himself. Could you work with or for these people? You can’t always determine from interviews, but watch how employees interact with one another, even while you’re in the waiting area before the interview.
5. Will you represent the company in a professional manner?
This will be determined in interviews by how you present yourself. This includes your appearance, your communication skills, and your attitude. Does your interview outfit match the company’s image? For example, if the job is in the fashion industry, you better be wearing modern fashions. If you are an attorney, you should be dressed in a business suit. Facial hair should be well-groomed and you should cover tattoos and remove facial piercings. Women’s make-up should be neutral colors and toned down, nothing garish. Your tone of voice should convey confidence and a positive attitude.
If you can prove to employers that you’ve got these five qualities, you\’ll be a highly competitive contender. Avoid the red flags on your resume and cover letters and watch what you say and how you say it in the interview.
About the Author
Krista Mitchell is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, crafting resumes designed to showcase your value with impact. Her website contains informative articles about your job search, written from the perspective of her position at the Department of Labor as an Employment Specialist.
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Good luck in your search.