What Companies Are Really Looking For

Going through the interviewing process is stressful. Oftentimes, this is a black box where you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. You have a lot of questions that go unanswered like why didn’t they hired me, or why didn’t they give me a chance.

This creates doubts and fears that, if not addressed, causes a vicious cycle where you make more mistakes in your succeeding interviews.

To overcome this, you have to remember these two things. These are the ONLY two criteria that companies are looking for:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Can you do it well?

Every hoop companies want you to go through all lead back to answering these two questions. That’s why your resume needs to answer these questions as well.

Question #1: Can You Do the Job?

This question encompasses every aspect of the interview process—job description, requirements, skills, tests, certifications, face-to-face interviews, and all others.

When companies put out a job ad, they need someone in the role. They have expectations on what you should be doing in that role. Unfortunately, this isn’t always clear. But it is there. Remember that.

So when a company asks you to take a written test or certification, that means they are using it as a proxy to determine whether you can do the job or not.

For developers, they might ask you to write a small code that does XYZ. That’s because developers need problem-solving skills and the ability to actually write the code. But the most important part is to make the program do what it should. If you can do that, then you past the test and move to the next stage.

For designers, some companies might ask you to design a flyer or maybe get a certification from a third-party organization.

For writers, a typical test will be a written article. If it meets certain criteria, then you also pass.

In the examples above, they are all different ways to determine whether you can do the job.

Always keep that in mind.

Question #2: Can You Do the Job Well?

Once you have proven that you can do the job, the next thing that companies are looking for is if you can do it well.

At the end of the day, companies don’t want to hire just anyone. Remember, the entire interviewing process is designed to keep people out. Otherwise, companies will just keep on hiring everyone.

In the interviewing process, this is often reflected on time limits or years of experience.

For example, if you’re applying for an editor, then you need to read and comprehend articles fast. You also need to see the bigger picture and how this piece relates to other pieces of content. So tests would probably include time limits to simulate this scenario.

Both time constraints and experience are good starting points, but there’s a better proxy for determining whether someone can do a job well. Smart interviewers use this to their benefit.


Remember these two questions that companies are looking for when they are hiring.

As the interviewee, remember that it doesn’t matter whether you can do the job or if you can do it well. What matters is how the interviewer knows this.

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