Feb 9th 2023

What employers are actually assessing in interviews

Let’s set the scene. You’ve heard back from the job you’ve applied for, that one you really really want, and you’ve been invited for an interview.

Now it’s time to show them what you’re made of!

They’re going to want to talk through your CV and that’s it, right? Wrong. There’s actually lots of things that employers are actually assessing in interviews, beyond what’s on that bit of paper. We’re going to shed some light on this so you can get ahead.


Research, research, research

Prior to an interview, you should be putting in some work to research your potential new employer. By no means do you have to know absolutely everything about the company (it won’t be your Mastermind topic). But, by doing research and having information to hand, it shows that you actually want the role you’ve applied for.

Some key details that will be handy to know are: 

  • When was the company founded and what were the reasons behind it? 
  • What’s the company’s purpose? I.e. What are they selling, who to, and what problem does it solve? 
  • Their product(s) – if they have products that you can try out yourself – DO! It’s the best way to experience what the company’s audience is using.

Interviewers will look for this level of knowledge as a baseline. Knowing basic information about the company is the bare minimum you’re expected to know before going into an interview. 



You show an interest in the company

Contrary to the popular saying, curiosity doesn’t kill the cat and it’s a great trait to have! It’s an amazing indicator to an employer as there are many other traits that can spring from curiosity such as creativity, innovation, empathy etc. 

Although it seems like it, interviewers aren’t only interested in the answers you give them; they’re also interested in the questions you have to ask! Interviews provide many great opportunities to ask questions. You can ask questions throughout your interview as the conversation is progressing, or you can ask them at the end.

You should have some questions prepared before going into the interview. They can cover topics such as:

  • The company’s goals and values
  • How changes in the industry will affect them in the future
  • What is the interviewer’s proudest achievement in company X? 



Your transferable skills

Past experience is important, we’re not debating that. It contributes to your technical ability to perform well in your chosen career path. However, soft skills are more crucial than ever as they show an employer your ability to work well with others. As important as it is to list these on your CV (or Tempo profile – hint hint!), it’s expected that at some point during an interview, you will discuss what soft skills you have and how you incorporate them into your working life. 

Soft Skills

Soft skills can cover a wide list of attributes but some important ones to mention during interviews are: 

  • Adaptability 
  • Teamwork
  • Time management 
  • Organisation 

Although a form of soft skills, power skills are deemed to be the most sought after skills that employers are looking for, as they can add to your job productivity. Within an interview, an employer will look for you to explain how you have gained these skills, and how they have improved throughout your various experiences. 

Some power skills can include: 

  • Communication 
  • Multitasking 
  • Problem solving 

It helps to talk about these skills whilst discussing past experience. Perhaps you demonstrated teamwork by bringing teams together during a project, or you showed adaptability by learning a new process for a task. 


That you have an appetite for learning 

As well as learning about the skills and knowledge you already have, interviewers will be keen to know what your appetite for learning is like. Let’s be real, there is SO MUCH to learn when starting a new role. Aside from learning new names and faces, you’ll have to learn how things are usually done and possibly within a new industry, both of which can be different from what you’re used to. 

It’s important to portray your appetite for learning within an interview; it shows your enthusiasm to embrace new methods of working and how you would approach learning new things once you’re in the job. Would you seek advice from colleagues, or take it upon yourself to enrol in courses to help you learn new technologies? The learning that you’ve done outside of work is fantastic to mention within interviews as it shows your proactive attitude and initiative. Not sure where to start? Check out our Career Academy.



Getting to know you as a person 

It can be hard to convey your personality in an interview – they’re nerve wracking! Nerves are completely natural within an interview but it’s very important to try and control them if you can.  Basically, fake ‘til you make it! Good body language can make you seem more confident than you really are so sit upright, uncross those arms and relax your shoulders! 

Aside from your body language, interviewers will be looking for a lot more aspects of your personality. This is important to know how you will fit into the team and company culture. 

What do you bring to the company? 

Aside from just fitting in with the rest of your team, interviewers will be assessing your personality to see what you can add to the team. Perhaps you have a positive, can-do attitude that can motivate others or bring a different perspective to your new colleagues. 

Within an interview, employers will also be looking out for your coachability. This refers to how you react to feedback and how willing you are to improve. Interviewers know that nobody is perfect – they shouldn’t be looking for that! However, they will be looking out for examples of where you have taken on feedback in a positive way and used it to improve your skills, a process or the way a task was undertaken. 

Self Awareness 

Linked to being coachable, self awareness is an important personality trait that employers will seek out. What we mean by this is how you assess your own performance and skills. You should be mindful of the areas of work that you excel in, and the areas that need improvement.

Being self aware shows a level of honesty and humility to your potential employer. During an interview, you can reflect on times where your strengths and weaknesses have come into play and how you approached those situations. For example, maybe there was a time where you needed extra support during a task and asked for help from colleagues. 


Now that you’re armed with more knowledge on what employers are actually assessing in interviews, it’s time to go out and smash your next interview!

If you’re still on the search for your next dream role, why not check out the amazing opportunities available on Tempo?