What Do Employers Want?

A man teaching a woman in front of a monitor
A man teaching a woman in front of a monitor

Are you ready to learn what employers look for in an employee? Employers want to hire a person who…

  • Follows instructions
    • If the ad says no phone calls, don’t call! Following instructions is an essential trait of a good hire, as they will need to learn the ropes of their new position and company quickly.
  • Writes and proofreads well
    • Provide an error-free, clear and concise resume. Employers see a lot of resumes, so make sure yours shines. This is an easy way to display your attention to detail and communication skills immediately.
  • Respects deadlines
    • Be on time for an interview. Traffic or metro excuses are never what employers want to hear. If you’re taking a new route, leave yourself plenty of spare time. You could even plan to stop at a nearby coffee shop for final interview preparations. While being late may be out of character, a brand new employer will only have this one example to judge your time management abilities before making their hiring decisions.
  • Is personable and friendly 
    • Be friendly with the security guard, the receptionist, etc., not just the boss.  Everyone counts. Particularly when seeking permanent, long-term additions to their team, employers want candidates that fit in well with the team and company culture.  Maintaining a positive attitude and being kind to everyone displays what employers look for in an employee.
  • Actively listens to others
    • This is critical both in a job and during an interview. Focus your attention on what the individual is saying. Don’t concentrate on what you are going to say next. Try to revolve your reply or question around what the other person is saying. When it comes to interviews, your interviewer prepared like you did.  The points they mention throughout the interview are likely highly relevant to the criteria they hope you’ll meet. In this case, determining “What do employers want?” can come from active listening.
  • Speaks well
    • Practice avoiding buffer words such as “like” and “um” and “you know.” It’s better to take  a brief pause to think about what you’d like to say than to begin speaking without a clear direction in mind.
  • Presents well
    • Dress appropriately and modestly.  Avoid heavy perfumes or colognes, as many people are sensitive to smells and it can easily become overpowering in an office setting. It can be helpful to look up photos posted on the company’s website before an interview to better understand what employers want the attire to be. When deciding between two options, the safer bet is to go with the more formal outfit since employers look for professionalism in an employee. 
  • Is enthusiastic
    • Use direct eye contact and positive body language. If your eyes shift around or you slouch, it may seem you aren’t concerned or interested in what the employer is saying. If they share something positive about the company or role, engage with their excitement. Of course, you don’t want to go over the top– keep it genuine.

Now that you have a better idea of what employers want, you can be sure to present yourself confidently  at your next interview. You don’t need to go about the job-seeking process alone. Since 1972, Whitman Associates has offered expert guidance for those looking for temporary, permanent, or temp-to-perm positions in the D.C. metropolitan area. Email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to get started with us!

WAI Staff

Whitman Associates is a professional staffing agency serving businesses and job seekers in the Washington, D.C. area. Since 1972, we’ve been dedicated to matching highly qualified candidates with a wide variety of temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent positions. We prioritize the needs of both our clients and candidates to ensure successful, lasting relationships.