a man and woman walk

What do employers really want?

By Sucheta Singh, Marketing and Communications

It’s tough looking for a job; searching is practically a full-time job in itself. Then there’s the excitement and anxiety when you finally get an interview. You try to imagine every possible question you might be asked, choose the right outfit and prepare for your interview as best you can.

But what are employers even looking for? What are the right things to say? What things shouldn’t you say? Is that flowered shirt appropriate? Should you mention the time you ran a lemonade stand at the end of your street?

To help you get ready for the Career Fair – and future job interviews – we talked to some of the employers who’ll be at the fair to give you some insight.

What employers look for in a candidate:

An actual interest in the position posted, not just wanting a job. – Jaimie Willows, Community Living BC

Emotional intelligence, customer-centric mindset, ability to connect with others in a positive way. – Darlene Hay, Shaw Communications

Dependable, reliable, flexible and just be yourself. Be genuine. – Lak Gill, KidStart Mentoring Program

What we take from this: Demonstrate a genuine interest in the position and/or company you applied to and engage with the interviewer by showing off your sparkling personality.

The 3 must-have skills for candidates:

Communication, communication, communication. – Lak Gill, KidStart Mentoring Program

Happy, hungry [driven] and hardworking. – Kristy Pennock, O2E Brands

What we take from this: Be cheerful, enthusiastic and articulate: in other words, give thoughtful and positive answers that demonstrate your suitability as a candidate and your excitement for the position.

The question that always stumps interviewees:

Unfortunately, questions about the company. – Jaimie Willows, Community Living BC

“Tell me about yourself”; an elevator pitch is something few candidates come prepared with. – Kristy Pennock, O2E Brands

What we take from this: Be prepared. Know the company, know the position and know yourself before you walk through the door.

What makes for an instantaneous “NO”:

When candidates don’t show how their individual skills and experience will lead to their success in the role they’ve applied for, but rather speak to their skills and experience in the abstract and as unrelated to the job they’re applying for. – Darlene Hay, Shaw Communications

Disinterest. Someone who shows no passion, no genuine interest in us as an organization and is just looking for any job is not someone that would fit in our culture. – Kristy Pennock, O2E Brands

Not showing up for an interview and not having an acceptable reason. An interview will end quickly if it is clear that the candidate did not prepare and is not providing quality answers. – Jaimie Willows, Community Living BC

What we take from this: Show up for the interview with a solid understanding of how your skillset and experience fulfills the requirements of the position and why you are the best person for the job.

The Douglas College Career Fair takes place Feb. 27 – March 1. Learn more

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