12 December 2008

What do Employers Want from Their Prospective Employees?

Apart from capital and properties, employees are the most important resource an organization can have. Employees are also the most important investment any employer would invest.

Hiring employees cost organizations time and money. Think of the advertisements, the interviews and the selection process. Should the organization hire the wrong employees, it can cost them dearly in the term of losing clients, low morale, and maybe a damaged public image.

When you have decided you really want to work with an organization which will provide you with challenges and opportunities, you will have to prove to the prospective employer that you are the right investment. That is to say that the organization is making the right decision by hiring you!

Assuming that you have the right qualification and necessary skills, you still have to convince the prospective employer to hire you rather than the next candidate with the same qualification and skills. That is why you need to know what your prospective employers are really looking for.

Do something a successful marketer or salesman always does – sells and markets! Sell and market yourself wisely to the prospective employer. The employer will now be your customer. You have to make your customer feel special and that you really care for him. Once you start thinking like a boss, you know you are on your way to market your skills and experience.

Employers actually have a lot of needs. They need their employees to fulfill all their requirements of the jobs in terms of skill and experience. However, they also have emotional needs which they want their employees to fill.

One of the emotional needs is hiring someone like you for the vacancy in his organization. That is a decision based on emotional. You have successfully stirred his emotional need and he probably feels you are the ‘perfect’ employee he is looking for.

What are the employers looking for in the prospective employees?


- Does this prospective employee have the commitment to do the job at hand and giving all his best?

- Is he a reliable and responsible person?

- Can he be trusted with certain commercial secrets?


- Does the prospective employee have good communication skills?

- Is he communicating the right way with his attitude, appearance, letters he sends, phone calls he makes and answers?


- Does the prospective employee able to adjust himself to the surrounding and working condition of the organization?

- How long does he need to take to adapt to the corporate culture of the organization?

Decision making

- Does the prospective employee able to make decisions confidently?


- Does the prospective employee have the creativity to see thing differently?

- Can he solve work-related problems creatively?

Team player

- Is the prospective employee a team player?

- Can he work with others to produce the best result?

- Is he willing to be a team member?

- Will he be willing to co-operate with others to share an achievement?


- Can the prospective employee work independently? Can he make independent decisions?

- Can he handle projects all by himself with little help from others?

Value added employee

- Can the prospective employee be a representative for the organization?

- Will he be able to make any value added contribution that will uplift the image of the organization?


- Does this prospective employee have the foresight for the job and the organization?

- Can he contribute new ideas and solutions to help expand the products range or services of the organization?

The list above shows some of the questions the employers will ask themselves should they decide to hire an employee.

The prospective employer is putting his money on this employee. And that is a lot of money in terms of the monthly salary, benefits and other entitlements. That is why he wants only the cream of the pie.

Employers want to hire people who can make them look good to others – including their shareholders, partners, associates and even customers. Therefore, most they are always on the lookout for people who can communicate well, full of energy and enthusiasm.

They are also on the lookout for people who care for their physical appearances. No matter how little money you have, you still need to package yourself. That is your image. Only you know what clothes suit you. Do not attend an interview wearing ill-fitted clothes and shoes; just because they look nicer. Be the real you.

Your appearance communicates your image and attitude. Employers are happy to see their employees in clean, neatly ironed and appropriate clothes. They are even happier when employees are able to communicate clearly and give firm handshakes.

The secret is; employers are drawn to the overall appearance of the prospective employees more than anything else. Do not show your nervousness throughout the interview. Show them your confidence. Every employer likes a confident and decisive employee. Sell yourself well, but never over-sell.

All prospective employers like to ask themselves what is the ‘Return of Investment’ should they hire you. So, you must convince your interviewers that you are worth the investment. Demonstrate to them your ability to help the organization to save money.

If you possessed a few work-related skills, tell your prospective boss about it. Let him know how the organization would profit from your skills.

Like anyone else, a prospective boss wants recognition from his bosses with his decision to hire you. He also wants others to accept his decision. That is why you need to assure him that you are worth the cause.

When an organization decides to hire you, it shows that you have used your selling skills wisely to build a good rapport with the prospective employers. In this process, mutual trust and respect are initiated. Do not let the opportunity to be wasted. Give your best to prove your abilities.

21 November 2008

Are You Ready For Your First Day At Work?

First, congratulations to you! You have been accepted to work in an organization! This is good news. However, this good news comes with another question: “What will my first day at work like?” A typical question many fresh graduates would ask.

Actually, there are many possibilities. It all depends on the personality and attitude you possess!

Some of you will encounter an interesting day. You will find your new co-workers welcome you warmly. They are happy to update you on your duties.

On the other hand, you may encounter a sad, boring day. You may have very few or no co-workers at all. You will need to work alone as your superior is not around most of the time. You have nobody to talk to or update you on the latest tasks.

Do not panic. Here are some simple advises for you. Let us start from the day you receive news of your new offer.

Check the location of your new office

Check and double check if the address of your new office is the same as the interview location. Sometimes, your office will be located somewhere else in the city or town. Go and find out days before you are supposed to report yourself.

Verify with the person-in-charge of the where about of your new office if you are not sure. The organization has a department named ‘Human Resource Department’; so get help from the people there.

Moving to a new town

If the job is in another town or city, you may need to move there. Moving to another town is not a popular choice for many. However, during this economic downturn, you cannot afford to be choosy.

Check the new town out. Use your network, or ask help from your friends and relatives to gather information about the new town. Find out more about the rents and residential areas, even the cost of living in that place.

Get a place to stay

Since you are in the new town, check out for any place to rent. If the rent is low, rent the whole house or flat or apartment. You can always share it later with someone else. You do not have to furnish it but at least a room with a bed is required.

Go around the town

It is now time for you to drive around the town. If you are not driving, then find out about the local public transport. You need to be sure where you want to go. Check the route to your office again. Find a few routes so that you may reach your office in the shortest time.

Dress up neatly

Dress formally for your first day to work. Any formal color will do – grey, black or white, brown, etc. However, remember not to mismatch your outfit with your shoes or accessories.

Make sure your clothes are properly ironed. Get some clothes hangers so that you do not crease your clothes after ironing.

Ladies, high heels are not necessary if you live too far and have to take the public transport to work. Any pair of shoes that matches your attire will do. No sandals or slippers, please.

Leave home earlier

Whether you are driving or taking a local public transport, leave your house half an hour earlier. You may not know what the condition of the roads is like. If it is raining, get out an hour earlier.

Take the correct route to work

This is important so that you would not be late on your first day. Even if you know many routes, the shortest is the one you should choose.

Smile to everyone

Greet everyone you meet with a sincere and friendly smile. The best way into everyone’s heart is the first impression they have on you. Do not think that just because you are in a higher position, you can be proud. How much you sow, you will reap as much!

Always be ready to shake hands

Even though you are not into this habit, it is a modern culture you cannot avoid. Do not give limb handshakes. That shows you are disinterested in the person. Give warm, firm handshakes all the time.

Be courteous

Always be gracious to others. You may not like them; however, you cannot avoid working with them. Being respectful can avoid a lot of problems. You can steer clear from a lot of troubles if you just show others that you sincerely respect them. It is that easy!

Do what you are asked

On your first day or maybe the next few days, you will be asked to do many things. If you are just an ordinary executive, you cannot avoid or refuse the tasks. Accept the tasks and complete them.

No complains. Remember others are watching you.

If you are in a position to make requests, do so politely. Nobody likes a boss who barks and yells. Do not be the first unpopular newcomer in the block!

Do not ask too many questions

Rule number one at the work place; do not ask too many questions on the first day. You have a few years to do so. Nobody will be able to supply the answers to your questions. Ask a few important ones. Leave the gossips out.

Remember not to inquire about rumors and secrets you have heard elsewhere. You will not want to be considered as a busybody on the very first day!

Have lunch with new colleagues

Regardless of the advice you received about having lunch with your new colleagues, it is all right to accept lunch invitations. Just remind them that you can only pay for yourself. They will understand.

Going for lunch together will enhance your social relationship with them. If you are the type that skips lunch, then you have better had a good excuse. Be consistent and do not have lunch alone secretly!

Complete your work

Complete all the work assigned to you on the first day. Do them carefully and attentively. Do not make serious errors that will allow your superior to criticize you. If you are not sure how to do the work, ask for help. Your colleagues will be glad to help you if you ask politely.

Do not leave any work undone. Check for the deadlines every now and then.

Do not leave immediately

Do not leave immediately after working hours. Remember, you are being scrutinized. Leave a little later, maybe half an hour or so. Take the time to read some of the company notices posted on the public board.

Some colleagues may choose to stay back for a while. Take this opportunity to get to know them. After office hours, most people do not mind chatting about their private lives.

There you go; you have successfully completed your first day at work! Take things easy if your first day is not as smooth as you want. There will be second, third and many more days for you!

Be humble and adopt a ‘willing to learn attitude’ to help you go through your working days smoothly. Even when you change jobs after that, you still need to take the simple advices above again.

Finally, have nice ‘working days’ ahead!


10 November 2008

Know Your Prospective Employers before Applying for the Job

When you apply to work in a certain organization, you may need to know more about your prospective employer. Do not think this as a small matter. Getting to know your prospective employers is like getting to know yourself. It is never a wasted effort.

Your effort to do some research allows the interviewer know how serious you are with the opportunity. It also reflects your sincerity in working with the particular organization.

Most employers think that if the candidates would spend time and effort to prepare for the interview, it is likely that they will put in the same time and effort into the job. That is why doing a little research in your part goes a long way. Employers will feel pleased that they have a good standing in the industry and community when you are able to relate to them some of the good things you have heard about them.

You should be clear why you do the research:

- to convince your boss that you are the right person for their job;

- to gather more information on types of jobs and industries that interested you;

- to discover other options to help you make decisions about where, when and whom you would like to work;

- to discover who at these organizations has the authority to employ you, and to find out who your prospective employers are.

Be focus when you are looking for a job. Any job is not good enough. Be very specific with what industry, company and position you know is right for you. Finding the right job means you have the competitive edge over other interviewees.

Here is a short list of specific researches for you to consider:

- What exactly does the organization make, sell or provide for it customers?

- What is the size of the organization – big or small?

- The internal structure of the organization – how many departments, what is most senior post of each department, other positions related, some job functions of the positions that interested you, etc?

- Is it a family-owned, private or publicly held organization?

- What is the financial state of the organization?

- What is the reputation of the organization in the industry and community?

- Have there been any changes in ownership or management recently?

- Are there branches of the organization in the country or overseas?

- Are there women and members of other ethnic groups in high level management positions?

- Does the organization promote from within or sourcing candidates from outside?

- Has the organization been entangled in any legal matter?

- What is the corporate culture and style of the organization – modern or conservative?

Some of the questions or information may be provided only by people who are working the organization itself. Get your network to find out who is working with the organization. The more you find out about it, the better are your chances at making a good impression with the interviewers.

However, do not feel over-confidence with your new-found knowledge. Prospective employers may not like candidates who know too much about their organizations. You just need to know what you should know.

If you heard rumors about the organization, do not repeat them during the interview. The most unwise move is to relate everything you know to the prospective employers. They are the ones who will disqualify you immediately.

A job may not be a career. A career is a vocation that provides satisfaction, fulfills long term goals as well as offering a bright future. So, you need to be clear when you hunt around for your ‘perfect’ opportunity. You may waste some time and effort, but it is always worth it.

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29 October 2008

Do Your Homework before Attending any Interview

The wrong perception young and aspiring fresh graduates have about attending interviews is all interviews are passive. If you think that attending an interview means sitting back and answering questions about yourself, then you are wrong. Many people fail in their interviews because they do not play an active role before the interviews.

What is the active role you need to play before an interview?

Begin with reflecting all accomplishments or achievements before you attend the interview:

- Accomplishments in school


·Special commendations

·Clubs / activities

·Positions held


·Awards received

·Participation in sports and games (if any)

·Part-time jobs – when and where

- Accomplishments at home (in the community)

How do you plan your day

Part-time jobs

Hobbies and interests

Volunteer work

- Accomplishment at work


How do you organize your work

Have you set up systems to make your job more efficient

Have you helped to increase your organization’s profit

How do you help to keep costs down

·Coming up with new ideas

Have you contributed any new ideas for your organization

Were the ideas implemented

Were the ideas successful/

Why did the ideas fail

Have you learned any lesson from the failure


Do you get along with your colleagues

How is your relationship with your bosses and other supervisors

Have you lead any team project

Are you a co-operative team member

·Contribution to the society

Do you belong to any work-related non-profit organization

Do you hold any position

Have you been featured in any of the newsletter of the organization

- Check to see if you possessed any hidden skills

A skill is something that you have learned previously and you are able to use it to solve problems competently. It is an ability that can be taught, practiced and mastered effectively.

You should know that you are not able to sell yourself if you cannot convince the prospective managers the skills you possess. These skills are abilities that can be applied to whatever jobs you happen to be doing. You can easily sell yourself to any employer.

These skills really make you ‘attractive’ to any hiring employer. These skills also help in your promotion or when you decide to change job or career.

Go through the list and check some of the skills you may possess.

  • Utilize materials correctly
  • Analyze and evaluate ideas and presentation
  • Produce good and detailed research work on various to
  • Develop new approaches to solve problem
  • Observe, inspect review the work of other
  • Plan, organize, systematize and revise projects/tasks
  • Meet work deadlines
  • Motivate others/team members/colleagues
  • Invent, imagine, create and design
  • Think logically
  • Good time management
  • Work on long term projects
  • Supervise and lead team members
  • Manage work-related stress effectively
  • Produce detailed and accurate work
  • Set goals for team/department
  • Delegate jobs to relevant subordinate/team members
  • Teach, instruct and coach others/colleagues/team members
  • Think and act independently
  • Take risks when required
  • Communicate effectively with others/colleagues/bosses
  • Run and handle meetings effectively

The skills listed in the list above are just an example of some hidden skills you may have. Other people cannot see these skills unless they work with you. Interviewers will be interested to know how you helped to solve a problem faced by your previous organization. So, be honest. What are the skills you have used in solving the problems?

Supposing, you have no experience in solving any problems faced by your previous organization; think hard how you have helped to solve problems for your team/department. Your skills may be used once a while, but you know you have them.

- List your job requirements

This is your list of the ‘features’ you may want in the job. Everyone has a different set of priorities when they apply for a job. You have one too. Ponder carefully and make a list of the features.

Think of your situation now. What is important to you right now? Money, job or experience? List them down. Then rearrange the items again.

Some of the features you may include can be:


·type of organization

·size of organization

·traveling time

·location of organization

·your willingness to relocate

·job responsibilities

·own office/cubicle or share office space

·basic remuneration plan

·fringe befits

·with/no traveling

In case you do not have any idea what to list in this section, get a copy of your daily newspaper. Turn to the job classification or job search page and you will know. Some organizations are very detailed with their list of requirement, while others stress more on experience and qualification.

The reason you need to list all these questions is to help you to write one or two of your achievements in your cover letter to your prospective employers. Of course the other reason is to uplift your morale to appreciate all you have achieved until that moment. You may need to be able to communicate these accomplishments to the people who will value your skills.

- Rewrite your resume and cover letter

This may surprise you, but most prospective employers are hoping to receive a new set of resume and cover letter from you when you attend the interviews. You may have sent in yours a while ago, but the hiring employers wish to know more of your accomplishment between the period you first applied for the job to just before the interview.

Use what you have discovered about yourself to let them know what you have to offer. Focus more on your accomplishments. Use dynamic and strong action verbs to describe your achievements.

You have successfully done your homework. You know yourself and what you are looking for. You do not have to tell tales to impress the interviewers. You have answers to the questions because you know what you want. You will make a good impression.

You may want to keep a job for a long time. So, it is good to attend interviews for positions that meet your criteria. Do not let yourself get stuck in a dead-end job. That is why you need to do your homework, before you write your job application letters!