What Qualities Are Employee-Owned Companies Looking For?

By David Levy


The current economic conditions demand that each interview opportunity be maximized. There are many resources available with a myriad of consistent suggestions and advice. These include basics such as "send a thank you note" and "don't be the first one to bring up salary."

What is it that the employer is looking for? A recent survey by Express Employment Professionals, where they interviewed more than 15,000 people, showed that the top three factors that employers are looking for are:

  • Credible work history
  • Job experience
  • Specific skills
  • CareerBuilder surveyed hiring managers to see what they thought were the most important qualities that job candidates should possess. If we couple their findings with our knowledge of employee-owned companies, here are some of the traits and the essence of what they mean to those hiring managers:


    The managers want to know what the candidate does better than anyone else and to follow it up with evidence. Those who understand the rules of business are not afraid to push the envelope to achieve results.

    Think like an owner

    An interviewee who has been in an employee-owned environment is able to display a perspective possessed by very few candidates. They can understand what the manager is talking about from an owner viewpoint. It is a refreshing attitude that hiring managers truly appreciate

    Good fit

    People who excel in one position are not necessarily going to succeed in all positions if the job does not fit their talents, interest and skills. A particular manager is impressed if the candidate has done their research on the business and the hiring manager to increase the probabilities of a good fit.


    Can the candidate take a project and run with it? How proactive are they? Being proactive is often defined as being able to take the initiative, being able to operate independently and finding a way to get things done.

    Sense of humor

    The recruitment cycle can be long and irritating and a sense of humor can de-dramatize the atmosphere.


    One manager says that she felt that passion was the ticket to the second interview. The interviewer can easily see through the robotic person who says the right thing as opposed to the passionate candidate who says emphatically that he wants to join the company and proceeds to state the reasons why.


    This should not be confused with arrogance. One describes what she is looking for as humble confidence, which manifests itself as knowledge, humility, skilled verbal and written communication, friendliness and appreciation.


    Being a professional demonstrates that the person has the desired blend of technical and soft skills which is correctly mixed with enthusiasm and dedication.

    Body language

    Although it is one of those universal truths, body language that includes a good handshake, confident shoulders, a smile and eye contact is key, says one of the interviewers.


    Although the correct blend of experience and skills is critical, the ability to communicate to the company that you understand their issues and you have a concrete plan as to how to help them resolve the problems that keep them up at night is also vital.


    The cliché that is often mentioned is "hire for attitude and train for skills." Possessing the right attitude coupled with the passion for doing the work and having the technical skills are a combination that cannot often be turned down.

    When an employee-owned company is looking to fill a position, they are looking to bring in a fellow owner. A refreshing outlook displaying many of these qualities can often allow the candidate to leap to the top of the list.

    All of these attributes are critical to making the short-list of candidates that eventually becomes a list of one – you.

    About the Author


    David Levy is the principal of Consult Levy. His firm specializes in offering full service business solutions by experts with proven success. He has more than 20 years of experience advising companies. He helped one of those companies become 100 percent employee owned. Levy can be reached via e-mail at dlevy@ConsultLevy.com or by phone at 858-453-3778. You can also learn more about his services or read past articles by visiting his Web site at www.consultlevy.com.

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