What is the interviewer looking for?

If you knew what the interviewer was looking for would it help you prepare for the interview?

Of course it would.

We’re pleased to say that what recruiters are looking for is very predictable. And we know that if you respond to their needs the chance of you being successful is very much higher.

On other pages on this site you will find examples of their likely questions. For example you can find their most common questions and answers on this site.

But on this page we are looking at the interview process from the employer's point of view What are they looking for?

Remember, if you have been invited for an interview it’s because the employer liked what they saw on your CV or application form. Yes really!

You are in with a very real chance of being offered the job. You can be sure that if they didn’t think you were a contender you wouldn’t have been invited.

The bottom line is if you are attending an interview the company is most definitely interested in you.

And what is more the interviewer even hopes you will get the job. Why?

The answer is simple. If they appoint you they know the job is filled and they no longer have to keep searching. They can relax and get on with the business of running the organisation.

Interview Tip: Look at the interview from the interviewers point of view:

Let’s look at it this way? Having a vacancy means the employer currently has a problem.

The problem is they have a job that needs doing but no one to do it. This might mean lost business, less efficient service, overloaded staff and paying overtime to provide cover.

The sooner the vacancy is filled with a competent, motivated person the better.

However the employer is not only worried about the consequences of having no-one in post. They worry they may not find the right person at all.

Recruitment advertising is very expensive so they worry about that too.

Reading job applications, short listing and setting up interview is frankly, tedious and time consuming. The interviews themselves will likely take a day or longer to conduct. Recruitment often means a long hard day or days ahead

Even when they find someone they want, that person may have to give a long period of notice.

They worry that they might not find the right person or that they are going to have to spend time and expense training them.

In short the sooner they can find the person they can appoint with confidence, the better. And that person may well be you. At least that is what they hoped when they read your application and invited you to meet them.

What sort of person do they want?

Of course they will have a range of requirements listed in their advert and job description. They may be summarised in their person specification. We have more about this here but the bottom line is all employers want people who

  • Can do the job
  • Will do the job
  • Will fit in quickly
Therefore what the candidate needs to do is repsond by:-

  • demonstrating they can do the job

  • showing they are willing to do the job

  • reassuring them they have what the job needs

  • reassuring them they will fit in

  • and that they can be up and running in the shortest possible time

You need to be:

Be Positive, Reassuring & Persuasive.

You need to show you can do the job, that you are willing to do it and that you will fit in, in the quickest possible time.

In short you are instilling confidence in the employer that you are the right person to fill their job and therefore their problem is solved.

No matter how senior, junior, what profession or where in the world this is the secret to knowing what ALL interviewers look for.


How you do that of course takes some preparation and skill and maybe even some coaching. But with a little help we are sure you can do it.

Find out more about our coaching service by clicking here

Fast forward to the interview

The interview is merely the information gathering process that helps the interviewer satisfy themselves that you are right for the job?

It is not meant to be uncomfortable, threatening, or stressful. If you are made to feel like that then something has gone horribly wrong. Usually it is because they are inexperienced, unprofessional and probably ill-prepared.

If that happens to you then that is a shame. If it’s not down to you, your preparation or your answers, then all you can do is put it down to experience, thank your lucky stars you are not going to work with these people and move on.

Sometimes the interview may go badly.

Maybe the candidate is not being forthcoming. Perhaps they aren’t answering the questions in the most helpful way or perhaps the chemistry just isn’t right. This can make the interview an uncomfortable affair.

We hope this will not happen to you. You will have prepared answers to the recruiter's questions fully and focused on your relevant skills & experience.

Carefully preparing your predicted interview questions mean that both sides can ‘relax’. The interview can proceed as a proper two-way conversation and if you get off to a good start can even be enjoyable.

Interviews should be designed to get the best out of you.

They should be reasonably informal; questions should be predictable and relevant to the job.

They should be designed to find out if you are able & willing to do the job and will fit in.


  • If you have been called for interview, there is no reason why you should not get the job
  • Employers have a problem they are trying to solve i.e. a job vacancy
  • The most important factor is to convey that you are the right sort of person for the job
  • Interviewers can have an off day and may be bad at interviewing

For more on interviewers questions including the skills they are looking for click here