Published: February 10th, 2015

At yesterdays Career Fair our members took the opportunity to personally ask employers what they are looking for in an applicant. While having a unique set of skills and tons of work experience under your belt looks great on a resume, many recruiters also mentioned many other factors that help them decide whether a candidate should receive a call back. At today’s feeding frenzy, we learned five major things employers heavily consider when interviewing and meeting applicants.

APPEARANCE

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We know you’ve probably heard this time and time again from us, but this time it’s coming straight from the employers themselves. Recruiters are looking for someone that shows professionalism when they walk up to greet them. We know many of you may not like getting all dressed up to talk with employers all day, who does? But we all saw the Grammy’s on Sunday, and how glamorous everyone looked. Do you think Beyoncé walks around all day in heels and a gown? Or that Jay-Z walks around in a tux? Of course not. But they know that for this event they had to put themselves together and look the part. And that’s exactly what you have to do when you get ready to meet a recruiter at a career fair or an interview. They don’t want to see skinny jeans and open-toed shoes. They don’t want to see sneakers and a crooked tie, or an un-tucked shirt. You have to remember to always look #Flawless when meeting your next potential boss.

PERSONALITY

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While some employers may focus more on your resume, almost every employer stressed the need to showcase personality. First Investors made it clear they were looking for someone serious, yet approachable. Hunter Short from Neff Rental said that they “want to hire people [they’d] want to buy from.” There is a reason customer service employees and salespeople always greet you with a smile and a happy attitude. It’s because it gets their job done. And even if you don’t end up working in those departments, you will still have co-workers, a team, and a boss that don’t want to see someone who’s unapproachable all the time.

LEADERSHIP

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They say, “Leaders are born, not made.” But while difficult to find on a sales rack, leadership skills can grow and be improved. Having these skills speaks volumes without you saying a word. They scream commitment, dedication, time-management- all things essential in the workplace. Showcasing all or any leadership positions you’ve had in your college career as best as possible may just be the ticket to making a great first impression. If you’re scratching your head about not having leadership positions, then joining an organization or club is the first step to getting there. Demonstrating the projects you’ve worked on with a team or group can also show leadership skills. While many think that leadership skills require a position of power, something as simple as your role in a class project may have required you to use some of your skills.

SOCIAL SKILLS

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So you’ve talked to a billion people by now. You’ve made your point in case time after time and now you’re turning catatonic as you’re approaching the next booth. PRO TIP: take a break! Employers are looking for someone with serious people skills, and you can’t afford to look bad just because you look a little tired and can’t think straight. Your social cues have to be just as on point as your resume. How tired you are can have a drastic impact on how you interact with employers. According to a representative from TTI, even the grip and firmness of your handshake matters. So make a quick trip to the bathroom or the nearest vending machine for a quick double shot energy drink. You are in no hurry to speak to all these employers, and you have plenty of time. So stay calm, take a quick break, then get back to it.

EXPERIENCE

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While at the beginning we mentioned how experience isn’t the only thing employers look at, it doesn’t mean they don’t look at it. Whether it’s a previous internship or a previously held position, experience is key to letting the recruiter know that you’re serious about working and that it’s not foreign to you. A college degree simply doesn’t measure up in today’s competitive workplace. Where have you worked? With who have you worked? And most importantly, what would they say about you if a potential employer were to call? Previous experience indicates serious potential. Not only does it show you’re fit for the job but emphasizes your commitment to learning and improving your skillset. Ultimately, employers want to know you’ve conducted yourself professionally within the workplace. Having previous work experience can be the cherry on top to your resume and interview.

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 We hope our previous tips helped you all at yesterdays career fair, and that this look from the employers point of view will help you all #AMAzeThem at future career fairs and interviews!