Help! What do employers want when interviewing?

Dear Aunty,

What really do interviewers look for or expect when interviewing a likely candidate for the job? 

Thank you!

Aunty says,

The simple answer is that employers are looking for the best candidate for their organisation. What constitutes the best candidate? This really depends on the job on offer and the needs of the organisation recruiting.

When reading the job advert you should be able to find information as to what the employer wants. In most job adverts the requirements are broken down into clear sections (if not, check out our article on How to Decode Job Adverts).

These requirements could be as follows:

  • Competencies
  • Experience
  • Qualifications
  • Statutory requirements
  • Organisational fit /personality traits

During your interview it is likely that you will be asked about how you meet these requirements. It is no good just saying that you want the job and that you think you are the right candidate! If you want to stand out from the other candidates you have to be able to demonstrate how you are the best candidate. This means preparing in advance of the interview and providing clear examples of how are able to meet the requirements of the organisation.

If you are asked about your sales skills do not just say “I have excellent sales skills”. Try to think of an example to show how you have excellent sales skills. This could be something like, “I am the leading salesperson within my team/department/organisation, converting % of leads into sales.” You could then go on to talk about the type of sales techniques that you use and providing examples to show how you used these techniques to make sales.

There is no secret to what an employer wants to find when interviewing – they want to employ the best person for the job (within the financial constraints that they operate). Your role therefore is to understand what the requirements are to be the best candidate and how you can demonstrate and communicate this effectively. The ability to be able to communicate your skills and suitability is therefore vital.

I hope that this advice has been useful to you and wish you all the very best with your job search.


Why not share your views?

What are your views on this dilemma? Should he leave and take his dream job? You can share your comments below.

Want to submit a problem to Aunty?

You can send your career questions and problems to [email protected]. Each problem will appear anonymously ensuring that your name and contact details will be kept private at all times.

Search for Jobs

To search for the latest jobs in Zambia visit: