4 Things an Employer Wants to See in a Candidate

4 Things an Employer Wants to See in a Candidate

Applying for a job is relatively easy.

But where there’s a bit of confusion lies in the radio silence a candidate often experiences between each stage of the recruitment process.

For instance, you may think that you’ve put together a killer cover letter and sharpened up your CV, but it doesn’t always guarantee you an interview.

And the same principle applies after an interview.

You can come out of the room feeling like it went really well, only to find out that you didn’t get the role a few weeks later.


So what’s the secret?

Frustratingly, a lot of companies don’t take the time to let candidates know why their application wasn’t successful, which leaves you in a bit of a predicament.

Do you keep changing the way you act at interviews and continue tweaking your CV?

Or do you simply just play the number game and hope that one out of 1000 employers finally takes a chance on you?

The answer: neither.

Using our expertise and sneaky know-how, we’ve put together a few insights into what an employer wants to see in an employee – some of which, may just shock you!


According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), the definition of employability is ‘the skills almost everyone needs to do almost any job’.

In fact, 36% of employers said that employability skills are much more important than specific technical or academic knowledge.

So, what skills are associated with employability?

Well, they’re split into two sections – personal and competency.

Personal attributes

  • A positive attitude towards life and work
  • A desire to learn more
  • Good personal presentation
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Reliability
  • Timekeeping and personal organisation
  • Team working, collaboration and co-operation with other peers
  • Flexibility
  • Commercial awareness and customer focus

Competency attributes

  • Good communication – both orally and written
  • Basic numeracy skills
  • Computer literate

In theory, this means that an individual without a degree could be classed just as useful as someone who holds a degree if they possess these basic traits.

However, that’s not to say that getting a degree is rendered useless!

It just means that you have to think about the other elements to your application as well.

Social media

As we mentioned in our previous blog, ‘6 Ways to Make Your Social Media Look Professional to Employers’, a few old drunken pictures or controversial tweets could be the difference between getting a job and not.

One study by Career Builder revealed that 70% of employers actively snoop candidates’ social media profiles before offering the job to someone.

And if that wasn’t enough to scare the living daylights out of you, maybe the fact that 39% of businesses claim they didn’t hire a candidate because they found inappropriate or provocative photographs, videos or information via social might do.

If I was you, I’d go through your social media and check your photographs, videos, grammar (on posts), bio and monitor how frequently you post.

For the latter, you want to find a happy medium, or it could paint the impression that you live on social media all day – i.e. you won’t do your work.


I did say that there would be some shocking entries making the list.

Hobbies may seem like an afterthought on your CV, but it’s actually a great indicator.

An applicant who puts reading or socialising is a bit of a cliché.

So get creative.

If you love to knit while watching The Great British Bake Off, include it.

At the end of the day, injecting personality into your CV will help to sell you as a person to an employer.

It’s also a great way for them to gauge whether you’re a good cultural fit too.

You can find out more about what hobbies to include in your CV here.

Tell them your opinion

During an interview, you’ll naturally take any opportunity to praise the company you’re applying to work for.

However, according to the CEO of Anglian Water, Peter Simpson, they like to hear a level of honesty from the candidate.

“I don’t really want people joining us thinking everything is great and they don’t need to change anything.

They need to come in here and say, “We get what you’re all about, we love the culture, but how about this? What about that?””

While this shouldn’t be treated as a chance to be negative, it does indicate that you have the potential to bring fresh new ideas to the business.

A lot of employers want someone who uses their initiative instead of acting as another cog in the machine.


Hopefully, this little insight into some of the weird and frightening things employers look for will give you a platform to tweak the way you apply for jobs going forward.

However, the most important element to remember is to be yourself.

If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

All you can do is give yourself every possible opportunity to succeed – starting with this list.

For more sneaky tips on how to land your dream job, subscribe to our weekly blog today.

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