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US Employer Expectations and Perceptions

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

Black and white photo of a city

Personal Responsibility and Branding

Birds eye view of a two people talking

Employer Expectations

  • All candidates are to take responsibility for their own job search and personally market their skills and abilities to employers

  • Candidates are expected to research employers, find job openings, reach out to employers and follow-up with employers in a timely manner

  • Candidates should talk about marketable skills and accomplishments

Employer Perceptions

  • Candidates who speak modestly about personal achievements may seem uncomfortable working independently and unable to achieve personal goals

  • Candidates who fail to take responsibility for their job search show employers that they lack accountability

  • Candidates who focus too much on technical skills risk demonstrating “in the box” thinking

Interpersonal Interaction & Networking

Two people engaged in a handshake

Employer Expectations

  • All candidates are expected to demonstrate abilities beyond technical skills, therefore joining organizations and making friends from other cultures is important

  • While networking, start with informal conversation; focus the conversation around the other person and their needs and interests

  • Always greet professionals with a firm handshake

Employer Perceptions

  • Only interacting with people from your home country may inform employers that you are not comfortable with American culture or language

  • Handshakes that are too limp demonstrate a lack of confidence

Written Communication

A black pen and a black notebook

Employer Expectations

  • Poorly written documents are typically not given consideration; employers expect all candidates to have proficient written business level English

  • Resumes and cover letters are to be free of errors and awkward language

  • Resumes and cover letters are to be primarily focused on accomplishments and abilities that directly relate to the job description

Employer Perceptions

  • Candidates who use translators to type correspondence to employers may use words incorrectly and come off sounding awkward

  • Poor grammar and spelling gives off the impression that a candidate has trouble with the English language and may have a hard time communicating with colleagues and customers

Verbal Communication

Two people talking at a white table.

Employer Expectations

  • All candidates are expected to have proficient verbal business level English

  • Employers expect candidates to be prepared and demonstrate assertiveness, confident answers in a clear, projecting voice with natural enthusiasm

Employer Perceptions

  • Spending too much time searching for the right word to say may lead to employers questioning your ability to communicate effectively

Eye Contact

Two people talking across a white table

Employer Expectations

  • Candidates are to make direct eye contact when corresponding with people of all authority levels

Employer Perceptions

  • Candidates who demonstrate averted eye contact appear to lack confidence

Professional Appearance

An audience

Employer Expectations

  • Candidates are to dress professionally and demonstrate exceptional personal hygiene out of respect to the employer

  • Men are expected to wear a shirt and tie under a business suit with polished dress shoes

  • Women are expected to wear a professional dress or pants suit with hosiery and polished closed toe shoes

Employer Perceptions

  • Wearing unprofessional clothing gives off the impression that the candidate lacks attention to detail.

  • Candidates who wear ill-fitting clothing that is wrinkled come off looking unprofessional

  • Candidates who do not demonstrate personal hygiene risk coming off disrespectful

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