What Employers Want – You May be Surprised

What do employers really want? Or in other words, what are they looking to buy when they hire a person for a job? Don’t be deceived by the label they give it. For example: an ad may have as its headline – “Programmer” or “Developer” or “Sales Rep” or “Bookkeeper” etc – but what do they really want?

I was at a social function and I got talking to two employers. One is a very senior operations manager in an international software development company. The other is editor of a large circulation weekly sports newspaper. Chatting to them I found that the label (ie bookkeeper, programmer etc) is only PART of what they are looking for.

Actually what they put the most emphasis on is attitude, enthusiasm and the candidate’s understanding of how they can help their employer to meet company targets.

For example: what makes a good computer programmer? Is it only his/her technical ability and knowledge of the language that counts? If a job searcher goes into an interview with the attitude …

“Hey bro, like, I’m a programming guru, like, since I was 6 hey. I can do this stuff with my eyes closed. By the way how much leave do I get?”

… he’s ignoring a few facts.

He may indeed be a child prodigy but the employer is thinking to himself …

“Can I work with this guy every day?”

He’s wondering whether ‘this guy’ understands or cares about what his company is trying to achieve. Is he going to come with a hundred and one excuses when deadlines and budgets have to be met and things have gone wrong? Is he only interested in the ‘sexy’ stuff or can ‘this guy’ knuckle down and do the often more mundane business?

Do you see how this evens the playing field? It means that even if you haven’t got huge experience, or if you’re the wrong colour, or if you’re too old, or young, you can still get a reasonable shot at being hired – if you care about what your potential employer cares about.

If you take the trouble to put yourself in their shoes, you’ll see that a great attitude, a smile, being polite, doing your homework on what the company is really about, how they make their money and how you can contribute to that are things that can seriously swing the job your way!

So don’t be fooled by the label. Employers don’t just want a “Programmer” or “Accountant” – they want someone, sure who can do that stuff, but what’s more important is the quality, caliber and ‘fit’ of the person. And that’s something you have some control over.

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