As an executive coach, I’m often in asked the question both by those in mid-career changes and by eager millennials looking for the first job: what are employers looking for in a new hire?

Career counsellors and coaches, and recruiters have made an industry out of providing advice for job seekers from everything to resumes and cover letters, interview techniques and questions, and navigating the online job hunting and application process.

One thing I’ve learned is that there is no magic formula, and that 80% of the jobs available are never advertised. Indeed they may not exist until the right person comes along.

LinkedIn recently ran a series on this issue and put the question to more than a dozen prominent business leaders and though leaders. Here’s a sampling of their advice.

Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte:

  • Experience is misleading and won’t necessarily get you the job. Employers are looking for what you can do, not what you’ve done.
  • Employers are looking for people with passion, tenacity and quality.
  • Employers want people who are confident but humble.

Deepak Chopra, Founder of The Chopra Foundation:

  • Employers should look for the cnadiate who can articulate their life purpose
  • Employers should ask the candidate to identify the qualities of good friendship.
  • Employers should ask the candidate to describe the best attributes that they have to contribute to a meaningful relationship.

J.T. O’Donnell, Founder and CEO of

  • Candidates should be able to demonstrate how knowledgeable and connected they are already to the organization they want to work in.
  • Employers should assess how well the candidates articulate their thoughts.

Sir Richard Branson

  • Employers should hire a candidate with a personality that fits their organizational culture.
  • Employers should hire people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others.

In my discussion and coaching of job seekers, and chatting with recruiters and employers over the past two decades, I’ve emphasized the following for job hunters, anxious to get that next or first job:

  1. Make managing your own career a part of your professional and working life. Don’t leave it in the hands of recruiters, career counselors or your current employer;
  2. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. Job opportunities often may appear through a third party—someone who knows someone you know. That’s why being a good networker is important.
  3. Never be out unemployed even for day. If you can’t find a job, on a part time basis, volunteer, be an unpaid intern. And make your full time job every day creating opportunities for a job.
  4. Learn how to master the interest interview—chatting with a prospective employer you’d like to work for—without actually applying for a job. It takes the stress off you, and the employer keep you in mind for something in the future.
  5. Put as much time into mastering yourself as mastering the technical knowledge and skills of the work you want.  In the long run, who you are as a person, your values, emotional intelligence and relationship skills are more marketable than technical skills.
  6. Be confident, authentic but humble. Enough said.





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