Surprising new study reveals what employers really care about in job interviews

The first impression that employers have of you is formed during the first few minutes of the all-important job interview. How you perform in that meeting will make or break your chances of being hired.

What are they looking for, and what matters most to them?

A new survey of over 1,000 professionals has revealed some surprising results. For both male and female interviewers, your being on time is the most important thing. Being late is a deal breaker.

That is not to say that punctuality is the most important credential for every job. It’s just that they don’t really care about your qualifications if you can’t get it together enough to not be late to the interview.

Preparedness is the second most important quality that interviewers look for in candidates. Do your homework. Research the company and role, and show-up well informed about what the company does and how you can contribute to it. Be prepared to ask smart questions.

The next quality is more surprising. For female interviewers, a candidate having a well-groomed appearance is the third most important factor in their decision making. (This also ranks highly – in the fourth position – for male interviewers.) A candidate being well-groomed is more important to employers than their industry knowledge and education.

What do employers find important in job interviews?

This doesn’t indicate that employers are being shallow and judging you largely on your appearance. How well groomed you are is a choice that you make. Taking the time to look polished and professional is a sign of respect. It shows that you care about the job and you take the opportunity to interview for it seriously.

In the survey, 95% of interviewers say that an applicant’s appearance is a reflection of their professionalism.

What do they find unprofessional? Well, don’t show up for the interview without having showered, wearing a track suit, or in a t-shirt and shorts.

What do employers look down on?

You can read the full survey, and see the methodology and results broken down by sector right here.

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