10 Things I Look For When I Interview - :

10 Things I Look For When I Interview

Filed in Interview Tips by on August 24, 2019 0 Comments

As a graduate looking for employment and submitting CV up and down, do you keep worrying about what exactly is it today’s employers really want? Do you keep asking yourself what you really need to do during interviews to be in their good books and eventually clinch the job?

interview tips

Well, the first thing you need to understand is that an interview is not an inquisition. It’s not a death sentence either. It’s a necessity if you’re looking for employment, changing roles or changing jobs.

As an HR personnel, find here in this article 10 Things I look for when I conduct Interviews and how to ensure you are physically and mentally prepared for interviews.

Related: Top Twelve Things Not To Include In Your CV

  1. A Great Introduction

If I ask you to introduce yourself, I expect you to give me a great introduction that catches my attention. Your introduction is the first and possibly the best opportunity for you to sell yourself. Most interviewers are either won or lost within the first 3 minutes (some say 30 seconds) of an interview. It’s important you make the best use of it.

Your introduction must be:


You should choose your words carefully and deploy the best form of communication.


It mustn’t be verbose or boring. However, it must not be too brief. If the interviewer asks you “is that all?”, you know you didn’t do a good job. An introduction should be about 2 minutes to 3 minutes (though this is not a hard and fast rule but is mostly applicable).

It must contain other significant information not necessarily found on your CV.

Don’t regurgitate all you have on your CV. Your interviewer can see that already. Use the introduction to mention your skills and interests.


You should be able to confidently discuss with me about the contents of your CV or work experience.

Your level of confidence is revealed in:

  • The way you walk into the room
  • Let your habits be measured, heads up and shoulders straight.
  • The way you sit.
  • Never slouch.

Your Body Language

Don’t fidget. Don’t swing your legs. Don’t crack your knuckles. Look me in the eyes. If you avoid my eyes, I feel there is something you’re hiding.

Also Read: 12 Factors to Consider for Best CV Template

Your Smile

The best way to show confidence is to smile. Wear a smile throughout the interview. A smile depicts that you’re a pleasant person.

The Way You Answer Questions

  • Answer questions confidently. Eliminate poor mannerisms or speech breakers such as ehm, is like, you know, as in, etc.

Energy Level

  • Don’t be a low-energy person.
  1. Your CV

Your CV is who you are. It is more than a piece of paper. Most likely, the interviewer has gone through your CV before he/she meets you. He has formed an opinion already. The chat or interview will either reinforce that opinion or puncture holes in that opinion.

Your CV Must Be:

  • Well laid out in the right format and arranged to show your work experience with the most recent coming first.
  • Must have all relevant information about your experience, education, achievements, awards, etc.
  • Must have no typos
  • Use spell checker.
  • Don’t lie in your CV
  • Your claims must be verifiable.
  • Know your own CV
  • Be able to go through and explain your CV. Be able to defend what you have done.
  • Know about my company and the role you’re being interviewed for
  • I expect you would have done some research about the company and even the role you’re being interviewed for.

What You Should Know:

  • The company’s profile
  • Management profile
  • Their products or services
  • Key competitors and sector
  • Company aspirations/future plans
  • Demands of the role being interviewed for
  • Job description
  • Don’t attend an interview and ask the interviewer what the role is about or what they do in the company.
  1. Communication Skills

Your communication tells me a lot about you. The way you organize your thoughts and present them depicts a lot about you.

Communication is not about oratory or a flowing prose (this is good if you have the ability) but it’s about passing across information successfully.

The interviewer must understand what you’re saying. You must be engaging.

Basic Things in Communication:

  • Answer questions directly.
  • Don’t use mono-syllables or one-word answers.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer
  • Ask me if you don’t understand a question.
  • Use a relevant story to pass across your point.

Communication consists of verbal and non-verbal communication. Non-verbal is your body language.

  1. Personal Grooming

I look at your dress and personal grooming. Good grooming maketh a man. I see the package first before I can see the contents.

  • Wear cool and conservative colours.
  • Wear light cologne or perfume.
  • Men should always put on a jacket or wear a suit. A good dress for women.
  • Use fresh mint to avoid mouth odour.
  • Men, put on socks if you’re wearing a suit or jacket.
  • Colours must match.
  • Good shoes- well polished.
  • Skills

    7. You Must Be Ready to Demonstrate That You Have the Right Skill Set For the Role.

This can be done by discussing your achievements and how you have solved problems in the past.

Show me you’re competent and the best person fit for the role. Make reference to your personal qualities, interests and values.

3 Major Types of Skills I’m Looking For:

  1. Employability Skills
  • Qualities and attitudes essential for work.
  • Examples: problem solving, communication, team work, resilience, etc.

Transferable Skills

  • Examples: customer service, writing reports, presentation, etc.

Technical skills

  • Specialist skills that relate to a specific job.
  • Examples: IT, excel, etc.
  1. Career goals and aspirations

I want to know your short and long term goals and see if they tally with my organizational goals and vision. I’m looking to hire someone who can grow with the company and one that I can build with and bank on. I want to see your career road map.

I want to see that you have sufficient drive and ambition. I want to be convinced that you’re not just here for the salary. I’m looking for the desire factor. Your career goals will let me know if we are compatible.

  1. Leadership Abilities

I usually look out for leadership abilities

  1. People who can take initiatives/ have self-drive
  2. People who take or assume responsibility
  3. People who have led a group
  4. People who have volunteered to handle a task
  5. People who are problem-solvers
  6. The value you are bringing to the table

     10. Your Personality

  • Does your personality fit the job role or description?
  • Are you shy? An introvert? Extrovert? Outgoing? Reserved?
  • Your personality determines to a large extent how successful you will be on certain roles.

These article was written by Bayo Adeyinka, a banker and Human Resources personnel based in Lagos. The original can be found on his Facebook Page.


I am a blogger, professional CV writer, copy editor and proofreader, as well as your go-to guy for all kinds of writings. Connect with me through the social media handles displayed above.

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About the Author ()

I am a blogger, professional CV writer, copy editor and proofreader, as well as your go-to guy for all kinds of writings. Connect with me through the social media handles displayed above.

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