Eastern Connecticut State University
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Career Services
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What Employers are Looking For
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2009 Survey (NACE), the top 5 personal qualities/skills employers seek in candidates are:
  1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  4. Initiative
  5. Analytical skills
Communication and Interpersonal Skills

The ability to communicate effectively with others and get along with different types of personalities are two of the most desirable qualities in job candidates, according to recruiters and employers. Employers want to know if you have the ability to organize your thoughts and ideas effectively. Can you express them clearly when speaking or writing? Can you present your ideas to others persuasively? Can you bring out the best efforts of individuals so they become effective, enthusiastic members of a team? Are you able to successfully handle conflict and stressful situations?

Communication skills are extremely important in the interview. You should be able to highlight why you are the most qualified person for the job. You should communicate enthusiasm about the job and the company. You should be able to clearly outline the experience (s) and/or education that have prepared you for the position. You should be able to communicate what your skills are and why those skills would benefit the position and the company. Communicating effectively and presenting yourself in a professional manner are the keys to a successful interview.

Interviewing Basics:
Initial Interview
Most initial or "first round" interviews last 30-45 minutes and are often 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 interviews. The emphasis here is to get to know your motivations and goals better, while gathering specific information about the experiences and skills already highlighted in your application.
  1. First 2-3 minutes: Introductions, small talk, what to expect
  2. Next 15-20 minutes: Questions for you
  3. Final 5-10 minutes: Questions for the interviewer, next steps
Second Interview

Some organizations make hiring decisions based on one interview, but typically most have several rounds of interviews, including a visit to the organization itself. Interviews that take place at the organization can last a few hours to a full day, and you are likely to meet with a number of people from the department in which you would work and possibly other employees from different departments.

To best prepare for these interviews, ask the recruiter or hiring manager these questions: 

  • What is the overall agenda for my interview?
  • With whom will I be interviewing?
  • Are there any materials or information you would like me to bring?
  • If travel is involved, do I make those arrangements myself and submit receipts for reimbursement, or do you arrange for any travel needs?
Read more about interviewing in our: Guide to Interviewing