What Do Employers Want in a Candidate? Integrity, for Starters

Deborah O'Connor

Deborah O'Connor

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Deborah O'Connor
March 4, 2013

What are employers looking for in a job applicant?
In these tough economic times, that's a question that business owners and job seekers both need to know the answer to. I recently spoke with several local business leaders to find out exactly what they want.

Their answers shed some light on the job market – which one senior partner described as a buyer's market that gives employers their pick of candidates – and the strategies local businesses can use as they sift through stack after stack of candidates.

So what are they looking for?

Top  Qualities
1.    Integrity rated highest on the list: there is no substitute for honesty and integrity.
2.    Presence and confidence are imperative: you must be able to demonstrate that you are a confidant team player without crossing over into arrogance.
3.    Passion, enthusiasm and a positive attitude equal a good work ethic.
4.    Intelligence leads to problem-solving and analytical thinking.
5.    Appropriate and professional attire and grooming are a must. If you do not look professional, are poorly groomed or inappropriately dressed, you will not be hired.
6.    Punctuality. If you are late for the interview, you won't get the job.
7.    Know the organization If you haven't done your homework regarding the company, they will know it immediately.
8.    Leadership qualities. Employer's say they want workers who inspire respect and trust.
9.    Job Skills. Simply put, companies want applicants who have the capability to do the job they're interviewing for.
10.    Professionalism. Candidates either have it or they don't.

        It starts with the resumé.
        Here are the top 10 mistakes they noted on resumés.
1.    Too many jobs, which shows a lack of commitment.
2.    Lying on a resumé.
3.    No volunteer work.
4.    Unaccounted-for chunks of time.
5.    Inappropriate Facebook activity. Companies are using social media to scre potential hires.
6.    Exaggeration of qualifications and background.
7.    Left last job without giving notice.
8.    Candidates that toot their own horns too much.
9.    No extra-curricular activities.
10.    Sloppy, messy resume with spelling errors.

Interview Red Flags
Here are some of the questions that employers described as red flags during an initial interview:
1.    What are you going to do for me?
2.    How hard do I have to work?
3.    How soon will I get a raise?
4.    What exactly are my working hours and how early can I leave everyday?
5.    How soon is my first vacation?
6.    I've never done this job before and don't know how.
7.    Can I skip the grunt work?
8.    Can I get an advance?
9.    What are my benefits?
10.    How much money will I make?

The insights from these CEO's, senior partners and managers shed some keen insights into the strategies they use to make the right decision.

Deborah O'Connor

Deborah O'Connor is a social strategist and founder and president of Successful Image LLC with offices in Columbia and Atlanta. She offers training and seminars on image management, workplace etiquette, and social skills necessary to succeed in life professionally and personally. Contact at: deborah@successfulimage.biz.     www.successfulimage.biz