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Employment In The Business Sector: What Companies Are Looking For

by Louise W. Rice

Looking for a job is hard enough in this day and age, as companies are always looking for the impossible. It seems that the best is not even good enough for many bosses. I found, when looking for jobs, I was always put to the back of the queue mainly because I was the right age without enough experience.

Then, the older I became, the less my age became an appealing aspect and the fact that I still hadn’t found a job stuck in many employer’s minds, which made things very difficult. I often found myself wondering back then – what are employers actually looking for? Someone who’s twenty and at the same time has ten years’ worth of experience in the bag? Or is it just that I’m really not right for any of the available roles?

After some thinking, I decided to do a bit more research. What my school told me what employers were looking for evidently wasn’t working – knowing how to do a good handshake is all well and good, but if you can’t get the interview, there must be something else going wrong – and all my personal research into what companies wanted keeping on being blown out the window.

I found out some key things that companies right across the board and their seemingly impossible to please bosses are after, and it’s not as unachievable as you would have first thought. Below I’ve made a list of eight things that employers may be looking for, and some extra things that might help you in the interviews.

Now, some of these are obvious, some are a bit more subtle. But here are eight major things that the business sector companies are looking for in a future employee and what they aren’t.

Number 1- Your personality and self-presentation matters

So the first one that stood out was things they look for in the interview- confidence, and an eager, open-minded way of thinking that’ll bring good and beneficial ideas into the business. This was high in the ratings for personalities that are deemed the most employable.

I don’t mean being massively overconfident – instead, having a slightly more extroverted personality, and confidence in what you’re doing and working toward. You really shouldn’t assume you have the job in the bag as this will make you look arrogant and false.

You need to relax a little and show a calmer type of confidence than an overbearing one, and really show that you know what you’re talking about.

Number 2- Ambition that will benefit them

Companies also look for people with an aimed ambition that will benefit the company. They don’t seem so interested in people who have a lot of hobbies that don’t benefit your work or the company. So, when they say the infamous ‘so tell me about yourself’ prompt, try not to talk about personal hobbies so much.

Try to focus on your skills that you would bring to the company – they probably don’t want to know about your ability to bake a mean apple pie, but your enjoyment of puzzles and quick addition skills might intrigue them. Also, I wouldn’t recommend talking about personal goals so much – this might give off the idea that you’re uninterested in the goals of the company as you may be too busy focusing on yourself. I know that this sounds a bit awful, but companies are interested in what you can give to them and how you would benefit them over everybody else, not you as a person so much.

Number 3- Higher education

Another thing most companies look for in a candidate is a degree. This generally has to be linked to the sector you’re going into. By having a relevant degree, businesses are more likely to give you an interview and consider your place in the company. You might also get a better starting wage. I completely understand that this is unattainable for some, but I’m afraid it’s the way of companies. For more information on degrees and ones that might help you get jobs in the business sector, click here.

Number 4- Your home life and family

Companies also look at your home life. If you have younger children, they are less likely to employ you as you may take more time off sick to look after the little ones when they are ill. This affects both genders, especially if you are a single parent. They may also take into account your marital status and plans of starting to build a family if you haven’t already, as things such as maternity leave may threaten your job if you work for a business that has a history of firing women and men who have to leave for a while because of parental duties.

Number 5- A criminal record of any description

A criminal record will also greatly affect how employers look at you – even if it’s something that you did when you were a teenager for a bit of fun ten years ago. Companies are far less likely to employ you at all. In fact, they may not even consider you an option, especially if you are going into a high-end business. They are looking for someone to represent the company both inside the workplace and in public, so they are looking for someone amiable – someone that appears to be a model citizen and worker.

Number 6- Your social media and how you use it

Companies will also look at your social media. As I mentioned before, they’re looking for someone to represent their company both in and out of work, so your internet presence is significant. Following racist or extremist groups, or anyone remotely connected to such things, is a terrible idea. Comments that you have made online will be pulled up and read and potentially held against you in your interview, and you may even be asked to justify your actions.

As I mentioned before, employers are looking for a model citizen, and they will do anything to prove you aren’t, so they know you’re perfect for the role if you come clean with everything. Anything that can be held against you can be held against their company.

Number 7- Your job history

Companies will also look at your job history. If you have any gaps in your employment history, you’ll be expected to explain why. Why have you had four different jobs in the last two years? What are your reasons for leaving your last job? Are you currently employed? These are all possible questions that they may ask you in your interview. This is how they will work out if you are a difficult employee or not.

They will also look at the types of jobs you’ve had before. If you haven’t worked in their sector of business before, why make the change? They will also challenge your past decisions for maybe, take, for example, working for a fast-food company then as a car cleaner for a while, and now going into a high-end business. They will think critically about your answers, so be careful how you word these.

Number 8- Personal health

They may also ask if you had any health issues as reasoning for leaving your last job. Having a bad health history may affect your employability, especially if it’s a reoccurring problem. And if you were fired from your last job, they will ask why and your chances of getting the job will fall dramatically.

How important each of these points is will vary depending on the employer – where one might think that one thing isn’t so much as a priority, others will. It’s good to do extensive research into a company before applying for a position as you may find hints and tips as to what they’re looking for. These may be goals in the future or things they look for in a resume, as there’s no harm in tweaking your CV’s wording to fit what they’re looking for – as long as you don’t lie.

Always remember that employers may know more about you than you think, and they may or may not challenge you in this. If they give you an interview, they will have done extensive research into your past, and what they will be interested in is what you can bring to the company. I would suggest taking a lot of care in what you consume online, and your public image as just one negative thing is one thing to use against you and a reason for them not to employ you.

I fully understand that some of these standards can’t be reached and are things many people can’t help, but I would suggest making an effort to look into everything about yourself and go into the interview fully prepared. This may also make you seem proactive – they might like it!

Getting a job is difficult, especially if you’re going into a large cooperate company. Keep on applying, and I’m sure you’ll get there!

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