Woman with glasses in sweater working on computer with 3 monitors Job hunting can be a stressful process. From tweaking your résumé to match each employer’s list of requirements, to googling interview tips and networking, job searching can seem like a checklist that adds one item every time you complete a task.
There are some universal characteristics employers look for in a new hire (think collaborative, punctual, good culture fit), but others remain industry-specific. We reached out to some of our over 4,000 hiring partners looking for insight into what attributes make the best hiring candidates. Of those who got back to us, here’s what they had to say.

Advice for the job hunt from employers

Growth Mindset

The team at Formula Consulting, looks for those who are open to learning new things and can catch on quickly. As they put it, “You don’t need to know everything, but I need to know you can learn it.” The software consulting company based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, needs growth-oriented professionals as the industry is constantly changing, and employees need to keep up.


With the rise of remote work environments, it’s crucial that employees are able to be self-driven and take ownership of their work. The ability to work well on your own is also a major trust builder. As the team at Formula Consulting points out, completing your work without someone looking over your shoulder helps grow confidence and trust.

Technical knowledge

Formula Consulting looks for those with a strong technical foundation. You don’t have to know everything, but understanding the basics is the crucial building block to understanding and mastering more advanced tasks.

Your portfolio matters

Clement Shum at Speer says that building a robust portfolio with projects that showcase your skill set is key. Each project is a chapter in your career story, demonstrating your growth and adaptability, so it’s important to showcase a variety. To strengthen your portfolio, Clement recommends regularly working on projects, either personal, open-source, or collaborative; this also keeps you up to date on current trends and technologies.

Participate in hackathons and other events

Clement explains that participating in hackathons, competitions, and submitting your work for awards can help boost your portfolio and resume. There are a variety of free entry awards and competitions that will help you stand out in the resume pile when applying online or during the interview stage.

Network, network, network

The value of networking in the tech world cannot be overstated. Clement strongly encourages immersing yourself in the community by attending industry meetups, conferences, and workshops. Platforms such as LinkedIn, GitHub, and Stack Overflow offer invaluable spaces to interact, share, and learn from peers and industry leaders.

Nailing the interview

Prepare for interviews with the right technical and soft skills

Clement points out that employers are looking for candidates with strong technical skills as well as strong communication and collaborative skills. It’s important to be well-prepared, not just in showcasing your technical skills but also in demonstrating your problem-solving abilities and thought process. Regular practice, mock interviews, and a deep understanding of your own projects will boost your confidence and presentation.

Chelsea Santucci of Castle Rock Research adds that applicants who don’t have a lot of experience should demonstrate their willingness to self-teach. Using new technologies or frameworks and knowing how to deploy them and gaining relevant certifications are all great ways to demonstrate you’re willing to go above and beyond.

Chelsea also says that communication is one major soft skill she looks for during an interview. “We evaluate this by asking questions about projects they built and technologies they chose to use.”

Success in the tech world is a blend of technical expertise, soft skills, continuous learning, and building meaningful connections.

Career Services at Lighthouse Labs

The Career Services team is dedicated to student success from their first day to long after they’ve graduated. During your time as a Lighthouse Labs student, you’ll benefit from workshops about mastering interviews, writing great résumés, and career matching. Graduates of Lighthouse Labs have access to Huntr, a platform that helps you to automatically track and organize your job search and fill out application forms with one click.

Using our network of over 4,000 hiring partners, Career Services will match your career goals and strengths with the best potential employers.

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