What do employers really want?

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

Where to find out what employers want

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. These requirements could be as follows:

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

Understanding how employers score applications and interviews

Employers will often score candidates against the criteria contained in the job advertisement – the candidates with the highest score are usually the ones invited to interview or who are offered the job.

The scoresheet used by the employer gives points for qualifications, experience and other factors. The scoresheet can be a simple table that allows the employer give score to each candidate for each criteria listed in the job advertisement. It may also provide additional space to score other requirements not stipulated in the job advertisement including spelling, grammar and presentation.

The employer can then easily add up the scores and invite the applicants with the highest score to interview or offers them the job.

Learn more about the importance of understanding job requirements at: How to improve your job application

How to explain why you are the best 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 thinking carefully about your application and adjusting it to meet the requirements of the position. Prior to the interview you should think about examples of how you are able to meet the requirements listed in the job advert.

For example, if you are asked about your sales skills do not just say “I have excellent sales skills”. Instead, 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.

Try to make sure include some information on how you meet each each requirement when applying for jobs. This will ensure that your application scores the most points when reviewed by the employer.


There is usually no secret to what an employer wants. They want to employ the best person for the job – within the financial constraints that they operate. The challenge for you when applying is to identify and understand the requirements and to adequately communicate this to the employer.

Further Information

To find more careers articles visit: Careers Advice

Search for Jobs

To search for the latest jobs in Zambia visit: www.gozambiajobs.com

5 thoughts on “What do employers really want?”

  1. That’s true, most of the company’s it’s just for formality and you find that 2 vacancies they would shortlist 20 people for what sure, 5 shortlisted are enough to choose from.

  2. Its accurate every company wants the best candidate for every job post.
    Have tried to apply not that my qualifications are not as required but to say, i have never been shortlisted .
    Is it just nepotism in some companies or maybe some are just advertising as a formality……………..

    unemployed youth.

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