Home > Employment > What do employers want to see at interview?

What do employers want to see at interview?

Following on from our last post, I know we often talk a lot about the amount of research into a company’s activities you need to do prior to an interview. It may be hard work but time researching a company is never wasted, you can always find something interesting about their operations. And once you start it will be easier to do the next time. Often missed out of this research is what employers want to see in an interviewee; what will ‘wow’ them at interview and how you can succeed with them.

Word Cloud with Expert in centre

Now, to a certain degree, the information in an interview is going to be confidential. There’s no real point to the company posting the questions on the Internet for you to read and plan for. A large part of the interview process is to see how you will cope under pressure; scripted answers are generally of less use in this regard. However employers aren’t stupid. They are well aware that the interview is a short amount of time to get to know you and to see if you’re are suitable, so they would like you to be as well prepared as possible. Considering the cost of recruiting someone (well into thousands of pounds) it’s in their best interests. That’s right, they actually want you to succeed!

So whilst you won’t see a list of interview questions in your application pack, it can be quite easy to find out what an employer is looking for in the interview. Start with your basic research on the company, their website for example, and have a look at their recruitment pages. There might be details on here about the company and why you should consider working with them. There is also likely to be a selection of icons linking to social networks. (You might need to look out for them, for example like on Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP’s site, they might not be in traditional colours.)

Have a look through their Twitter stream for information about their recruitment programme. Remember it might not be obvious; for example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car might have linked to an article on ‘Excellent Answers to Interview Questions’ or ‘What Not to Wear to Interview’. The company you’re applying for might have a LinkedIn group or page and there may be further details on there about how they go about recruiting. A Facebook page may have videos showcasing current members of staff explaining what they did to succeed in interviews.

The Careers and Placements Service will also do it’s best to showcase employers explaining what they are looking for in candidates, like the video below from the FDM Group, so subscribe to our YouTube page for more. Remember, that with all research, it can vary from employer to employer so make sure you take the context into account when looking through social media sites.



Jerome Price Photograph

Jerome Price is an Employment and Placements Adviser in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire

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