C x 5 = PL What Employers Look For When They Hire

What does a company want to find out about you when they interview you? What are they trying to find out when they evaluate and assess you?

In most cases, hiring staff or temporary workers starts with a job description. Someone sat down and consciously thought of what skills and experience they needed on their staff. As such, most firms hopefully begin by assessing for competence, the first of five C’s employers ask about. (I say “hopefully” because so many people report that they work with incompetent colleagues). Hopefully, an employer has developed a series of questions that help evaluate and assess skills competency for the skills that are needed.

But skills competency is only one element of what a company is assessing for. These all fall into the category of soft skills ­­hard to assess qualities that differentiate one person from another.

The second “C” that companies look for is chemistry. How do you fit into the firm and its corporate culture? This soft skill is derived from the interviewer’s interpretation of how you will fit into the organization and how well you will work with your colleagues.

For most jobs, the objective is to hire a team player ­­someone who can work well with others to achieve an objective. (I have never heard a client ask for someone who is a maverick, someone who is a lone wolf who refuses to cooperate with colleagues or take direction from the boss.)

The third “C” in the equation is character. Do you have character? Are you a character? Both? Most companies require character from their employees and some jobs demand that a person be a character, too!

Self-confidence is the next criterion. (Confidence is the “C” I’m counting here.) How does your behavior inspire confidence that you are the solution to the problem and not someone else’s problem? Self-confident people always do better than nervous frightened people.

The final “C” in the formula is charisma. Charismatic people always do better on interviews than non­charismatic individuals. When you think of the importance of charisma, think of two of our former Presidents ­­Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Reagan, a conservative Republican; Clinton, a liberal Democrat. Two opposite poles of the policy spectrum, yet Americans loved them both. Their view of them was not purely based on policy but on that certain something that they had – charisma, the innate ability to light up a room when they entered.

All of these qualities ­­competence, self­confidence, charisma, chemistry, and character ­­add up to personal leadership. It’s not like someone is going to ask you: “Are you a leader?”

“Yeah, I’m a leader.”

“Good. That was the right answer.”

Every question is going to have a macro and micro component to it. The micro is going to be the specific answer to the question you are asked. The macro will be how are your manner and behavior congruent (or not) with their image of someone in the job. Your mannerisms are observed; your behavior is scrutinized to see how you “fit” the job, too.

So, before your next interview, remember to program into your mind these other variables so that you can see yourself as an interviewer would. Let them see you at your best, not at your most contained.

© 2006, 2014, 2020 all rights reserved.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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