We’ve all be in the following situation. Sitting in an interview room face-to-face with an employer, convincing them that we’re the perfect candidate for the job. Meanwhile, your heart is racing, palms sweaty, and trying to recall the responses you prepared. To succeed in job interviews, you must have a well-thought-out strategy which includes an understanding of the organization you are interviewing with and the skills necessary to perform well.

Most job hunters make the mistake of concentrating exclusively on what they think the employer wants, instead of taking steps to uncover the skills that the employer is actually looking for. If you know what criteria they’re likely to use in judging a candidate, you’re in a far better position to work out what skills to emphasize and how to present yourself at the job interview. The specific decision-making criteria will obviously vary from one organization to another. It will depend on the organization’s needs as well as the persons doing the interviewing. Still, there are some common elements that all organizations look for in job applicants.

Every employer wants employees who are capable and will be able to contribute to the success of his or her business. Regardless of the nature of the business, it’s vital that employees add value and contribute to the bottom line. Here are key skills that all employers look for:


Responsibility is the base expectation that all employers have for their employees. There’s little chance that one will find an employer who doesn’t want responsible employees. Even the most “laid-back” employer wants employees that can be depended upon to show up and get the job done.

Organizational fit

It’s not enough to be able to do a job well. You have to complete your duties with a team. Every organization has its own unique culture, its way of doing things, ways of interacting among colleagues and so on. The interviewer wants to know if you can be one of them. Will you get along well with your co-workers and present the kind of image the organization is looking for? Also, will you be able to fit into the organizational structure and the compensation they have allocated for this position?

Be Proactive

A good employee is one that can foresee problems and avoid them if at all possible. Most employers appreciate having employees that are mentally engaged and are looking to help their businesses grow. A part of growth is to see problems on the horizon and to take steps to avoid them. In this way, employees can demonstrate to their employers that they care and are invested.

Willingness to work

Do you understand what the organization and the job description is all about? Do you still want to work there? Is it likely that you’ll stay for an adequate period of time or will you get frustrated and leave?

Listening skills

While listening may seem like a pretty basic skill, many employers find that it difficult to find in their employees. There are many reasons for this ranging from short attention spans, a lack of commitment to the job, or that many people only believe that they are listening when in fact they are not. If one doesn’t understand the parameters of a given job or task then it is unlikely that he or she can ever be an effective employee.

Commitment to Success

If you aren’t committed to the long-term growth and success of the business you are working for, this fact will eventually become apparent. Employers don’t expect their employees to be obsessed with their jobs, but at the bare minimum want to feel as though their employees are invested in their overall growth.


This one should be obvious. Companies of every size want to know if you can help them achieve their objectives, to survive and compete well in a challenging environment. The interviewer is trying to figure out if you have the interview skills and the knowledge necessary to do your job well. They want to know if you have the experience and the industry knowledge that will allow you to function effectively in that position. Your job is to convince them, using specific examples from your past employment and educational experience, that you can indeed do the job and do it well.

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