7 Top Qualities Employers Look For In Candidates

7 Top Qualities Employers Look For In Candidates was originally published on Ivy Exec.

When you’re looking through job postings, you may be surprised by just how specific the listed skills and expectations are.

But this isn’t the whole picture of what the employer is looking for. Though each position requires a particular work history, recruiters are typically seeking a fairly standard set of personality traits and professional abilities, regardless of field. 

“Though some jobs call for an endless combination of skills, the most sought-after employee traits are often universal, whether you’re an aerospace engineer, sales associate, or mailroom worker,” said Monster.

So, what are these characteristics your next employer is looking for? Here are seven skills and characteristics that top many employers’ and recruiters’ lists. 


No employer wants to hire someone who can’t pick themselves up after a failure or a tough week. You don’t have to be chipper all the time, and you definitely don’t have to find the silver lining in every situation. However, believing that you can and will overcome setbacks makes you a more desirable hire. 

“[I’m looking for] someone that when ‘stuff’ happens, they have an uncanny ability to figure out root causes, work through them with optimism, learn from the situation, and find some sort of silver lining in the experience,” Kyle Bruss, director of talent acquisition for Talent Plus, told Monster. 


No employer wants to have to worry that their employee is telling the truth. No other strong attribute could make up for an employee who is tempted to lie or magnify the truth. 

If you’re considering overexaggerating your qualifications to win a job offer, don’t do it. If you do get the job, and your employer finds out about your “fib,” your career will instantly stagnate – likely at the company and elsewhere.

Willingness to Learn

If you seem like you know it all before you’ve even started at a company, you’re not setting yourself up for success. As the pandemic has shown us, the world of work is always changing, making someone who is overly confident or too set in their ways a less-than-ideal hire.

“A willingness, and ultimately, an ability to learn are very important qualities of a good employee – not just for learning new hard skills, but also for growing as a professional and as a person. The concept of adaptability is also one of the qualities of a good employee and candidate associated with willingness to learn,” said Workable.


Connected to the idea of a willingness to learn is humility. No employer wants to hire candidates who think they should lead every project or believe they’ve never made mistakes. 

In job interviews, though, it can feel counterintuitive to be humble. You’re supposed to be selling yourself, right? 

The key here is striking a balance between sharing your accomplishments and demonstrating that you have grown from your missteps. 

“We look for individuals who emphasize ‘we’ versus ‘I,’ and we also dig into past accomplishments, mistakes, or failures to see how a person reflects on those times. Were the accomplishments described as a team effort? Is blame being placed elsewhere, or do they own their part of that mistake or failure?” said Heather Germain, director of human resources at Professional Staffing Group.


Another linked trait here is collaboration. Employers are looking for team players rather than individuals who always put themselves and their successes at the forefront. That isn’t to say that you should never advocate for what you want or show off your skills. Rather, you should demonstrate that you are loyal to your colleagues, recognize their skills and abilities (especially when they differ from yours), and celebrate their accomplishments.

If employers can find team players when hiring, then they know those candidates would be more likely to stay committed to their colleagues and the organization in the long term. 


Hopefully, you’re interested enough in the field and role you’re applying for to be enthusiastic about your application materials and interview. That’s because excitement demonstrates your self-motivation – that you’re ready to go in the morning because you’re looking forward to doing the work. 

If you’re self-motivated, it doesn’t mean that you’ll work longer hours for less pay just because of “passion.” But it does signal that you’ll design your own career path, advocate for the projects that you’d most like to work on and collaborate well with others when necessary. After all, no supervisor wants to be left holding a new hire’s hand. 

“A strong work ethic is an indispensable factor for any employee as they take ownership of their work and are self-driven to aim for results,” Kapoor says. “They become a well of motivation for others at the workplace,” says Ketan Kapoor, CEO, and co-founder of Mettl. 

Strong Communication

Regardless of your field, employers rank both verbal and written communication skills high on their lists. Both types of communication topped the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) ‘s national survey. The survey asks employers the most important qualities and skills for candidates especially hires right out of college. 

When applying for a job, you’ll have many opportunities to demonstrate your communication skills. In your cover letter, resume, and other written documents, make sure you are being clear, concise, and precise. 

Later, when you’re asked to an interview, be sure you’re prepared with answers to common questions, so you’re able to speak confidently and articulately. 

Qualities Your Next Employer Is Looking For

Sifting through job applications can make you feel like you have to be a superhero to land a job. But sometimes, what’s equally important in applying for jobs is showing that you’re a reliable employee with integrity. Demonstrating these skills creates a trustworthy base on which you can impress potential employers. 

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By Ivy Exec
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