Impressing an Employer: Do You Have What it Takes?

There’s more to landing a job than having a stellar resume, impeccable references, and lots of experience. The interview is a make-or-break experience that you have to ace in order to get the offer. The good news: Regardless of the exact job, most employers agree there are specific qualities they’re on the hunt for. Do you have them?

1) Loyalty. Companies don’t want to invest time and energy in a worker who’s only going to be there for a few months. If you have a track record of job hopping, be upfront about past mistakes and let the interviewer know you’re interested in making a long-term commitment to the company.
2) Dedication. This is also known as having a good work ethic. Are you going to give the bare minimum for exactly eight hours a day, or are you going to give everything you have until the job is done? Demonstrate your work ethic by describing concrete examples of your accomplishments and how you achieved them, as well as future goals you’re working toward.
3) Passion. Employers are looking for people who are genuinely excited about working for them. They want to see enthusiasm reflected in everything from how you enter the room to how you shake their hand to how you talk about yourself. Make sure you don’t get so caught up in maintaining your “business face” that you forget to give off good energy.
4) Professionalism. You absolutely must look the part and dress the part. You’ll never be penalized for dressing well, so when in doubt, dress for the job at least one level above what you’re interviewing for. For example, if you’re applying for an entry level job, dress like a manager.
5) Maturity. Bosses have plenty to do without monitoring employees for immature interactions with colleagues and customers. It’s crucial that the interviewer know he can count on you to not only take responsibility for your own work, but to be a leader others can look to as an example.
6) Discovery. Are you willing to learn new things? How quickly can you pick up new concepts? Showcase this characteristic by detailing important lessons you’ve learned from mentors and your commitment to lifelong learning.
7) Diligence. Most managers prefer to be as hands-off as possible because, after all, they’ve got their own work to do. What they’re looking for in an employee is someone who can complete their own assignments on time without a manager looking over their shoulder.
8) Team-focus. There are few things employers dislike more than a worker who can’t play nicely with others. Nearly every company and every job requires teamwork to deliver its products and services, so be sure to frame a few of your accomplishments within the context of being a contributing team member.
9) Composure. Employers want workers who are able to handle conflict effectively and who don’t contribute to a tense office environment. This isn’t the playground, so leave the temper tantrums at home.
10) Pride. Let your potential employer know you’re interested in more than just the paycheck; you’re interested in the job itself. Convey the sense of pride you take in everything you do.