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What are the top qualities that employers are looking for in candidates?

Published on 19th May 2021

Job advertisements can often give the impression that employers are looking for candidates with very specific skills sets.

Even if that is the case, once you get to an interview, the whole landscape changes. Employers are looking for people with qualities that aren’t listed in their advertisements so how can you stand out and make sure that it’s you that they choose to hire?

Here are some of the personality traits that you can display to help you give an effective interview:

Be confident but not arrogant

Employers want to hire people who are comfortable in themselves, who know who they are and what they want, who are friendly and engaging to be around but who aren’t cocky. Cockiness can be a real turn off, especially when you’re most likely being interviewed by a senior person who has spent many years getting to where they are.

Be willing to listen and learn

You need to have the skills to do the job, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be an expert at everything. Don’t be afraid to mention gaps in your experience. As long as you can display a willingness to learn and an ability to pick things up quickly, that will go a long way. Self awareness and humility is good. Being a know it all is not.

Be adaptable

Some roles have multiple responsibilities and changing deadlines. If you only know one way of working then this may not match the evolving needs of a business. Be flexible. It will make you easier to work with than someone who is stuck in their ways.

Demonstrate self-reliance

Hiring managers often don’t have time to hand hold their staff. They are looking for candidates who can motivate themselves, find solutions to problems and who can take initiative without needing constant supervision. Asking for advice when you need something clarifying is a good thing. However, asking the same questions over and over again or needing constant praise to stay motivated is time consuming and a turn off.

Show an ability to work effectively in a team

Even if you’re being hired to fill an individual position, it’s still likely that there will be times when you find yourself working as part of a group. Employers want people who can collaborate well with others, not those who are going to be difficult and who hinder the overall efforts of the team.

Be dependable

It’s boring but employers hire people to fill a need within their business. Will you turn up on time? Will you hit deadlines? Can you be relied upon to complete work to the best of your ability? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’ then are you really the type of person that the company wants to hire?

Be honest

Honesty is the foundation of trust and employers will want to know that they can count on you and that you can keep your word. Lying, whether it be exaggerating your achievements or listing skills that you don’t have, will often come back to bite you. Being truthful is the right thing to do and will stand you in good stead for the future.

Show integrity

Remain respectful to everyone and demonstrate that you’re a decent human being who people will want to work with. How many candidates blow their chances immediately by talking down to receptionists? More than you would think.

Show loyalty

You might not be in the same role for ever and the ambition to progress within an organisation is a good trait. However, you don’t want to come across as someone who is going to leave as soon as a better offer comes along. If you can’t demonstrate a track record of staying at an organisation for a long time, then you can still show loyalty by the way that you answer questions. Don’t criticise your boss or complain about co-workers and always try to stay positive about your experiences.

How do your qualities stack up against those listed above?

An honest self-assessment will give you an idea of what you need to work on and will give you the best chance of securing a new job.

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