Trying to determine what employers want from you, the job seeker, can seem like an unending maze with a million dead ends. What do they want from me? How can I show them what a great employee I can be? The irony is that the answers to these questions are not as complicated as we can make them out to be, because all employers are looking for these key qualities of a great employee:
- Honesty. If you exaggerated about your responsibilities at your last job on your resume or dishonest in any way on the job application, expect your employer to view that as a red flag. This is one of the top qualities an employer wants in an employee, regardless of the job. All employers want employees who are truthful about the amount of hours they worked, who only pass in expense sheets for job-related expenses, and call in sick only when too sick to work.
- Strong work ethic. Employers want an employee who can pitch in and get the job done, without constant direction. Demonstrate your competence and strong work ethic in the job interview by telling the interviewer about past successes, how flexible you can be in other capacities when work needs to be done, about any times you’ve stayed late to help, and how you’ve solved a problem at a past position.
- Dependable. Did you meet the deadlines during the application window? Were you on time for your job interview? Prove your dependability before you get the job. Be prompt and respectful of your interviewer’s time. If there are pre-employment tasks that need to be completed, such as a computer test or dropping off a document, show up and follow through—without numerous calls from the human resources department.
- Positive attitude. Listen to the interviewer, choose your words carefully and use body language to show you want this job. Don’t be openly critical of a previous employer, which raises alarms for your interviewer. Sit up straight, smile and show that you are willing to work.
- Excellent communication skills. No matter what type of position you are applying for, at some point in your employment you are going to need to interact and (respectfully) communicate with your supervisor and fellow employees. Demonstrate your communication skills during the interview. Be respectful and polite, and maintain proper eye contact when talking with the interviewer. If you need to prepare a resume for the position, use proper grammar and spelling. Have another person proof and look for potential mistakes on your resume before you send it in.
Just as it’s not that hard to figure out what employers want in an employee, don’t overly complicate your job search. Compile your job history for job applications or in a resume, and apply or submit a resume through a local staffing agency, which has some advantages over applying directly through an employer. Another option in your job search is applying for temporary employment, which offers the chance to learn new skills, network, show competence and flexibility and earn a wage and possible benefits. Whatever you choose for the next step of your job search, show that you have another aspect of a positive attitude that employers are looking for: a willingness to work. Don’t procrastinate in your job search. Get started today showing employers what a great employee you would be on the job.