8 Qualities Employers Look for in Candidates

You might feel overwhelmed by the time and effort required to land a job. It is tiring to continually update your resume, search for jobs online, or even practice for the interview. Truth is, that employers face an equally, if not more, daunting task in finding a suitable candidate.

To make things easier for yourself, try stepping into the shoes of your prospective employers, and see things from their point of view. 

Here are some universal qualities that employers look for, and a few practical actions you can take to score that position!

Image credit: Goran Ivos, Unsplash

Relevant skill sets

What employers value: Your proven ability to do the job.  

What you can do: Before you jump at a job, read the job description carefully to make sure you have the relevant skills needed. Be sure to do yourself and the employer a favour – highlight those skills and exhibit them upfront!


Good communication skills

What employers value: The ability to express your thoughts, narrate your career stories and engage your interviewers. Bear in mind that the interview is an awfully short time for them to know you.

What you can do: Make it a point to listen carefully to the questions and answer to the point, with relevant examples. Feel free to clarify questions if you are unsure, before jumping in with your answers.


Dependability and responsibility

What employers value: Candidates who are dependable and who have a clear sense of responsibility and work ethic. Often, these qualities are surfaced not by what you say about yourself, but by your referees. 

What you can do: Make an effort to nominate referees whom you have had good working experiences with. Also, give your referees an idea of the job you require their references for, so they’d know what to share!


Problem solving and analytical skills

What employers value: The ability to get to the root of problems and offer effective solutions, often assessed through situational questions.  

What you can do: Make it a point to prepare and think through real-life work situations where you have successfully demonstrated your problem-solving abilities.


Positive attitude

What employers value: Positivity! Positive people tend to be more supportive, engaged and likely to energise their fellow workers. 

What you can do: Be sure to keep the tone positive in your exchange with your interviewers.  Badmouthing past employers is an absolute no-no!


Growth and learning mindset

What employers value: Openness to learning and growth. Employers need people who can embrace change and experimentation, and lead the business into the future. Employers can assess this by asking for your thoughts on trends and developments in your domain.

What you can do: Research on the latest trends in your industry. On a daily basis, it also helps to follow relevant thought leaders on LinkedIn and engage with their posts.


Fit to the team

What employers value: Your suitability for the team. You may be the best candidate on paper, but if an employer sees you as a poor fit for the team, you might just not be selected.

What you can do: Should you not be chosen because of fit, do not be disheartened – it may not be on you. But above all, do remember to stay gracious, professional, and positive! Many industries are small and leaving a good impression can help you land other opportunities in future.



What employers value:  Not overselling yourself. Employers often have tools and strategies to assess the accuracy of what you say. Even psychometric tests have questions built in to assess the consistency of your responses.

What you can do: Be your best, be yourself and be honest! Your career is a journey, not a single destination stop. While winning the job is important, it should not be at the expense of losing your credibility and long-term employability. 

Do you know what employers look for?

Thank you for your vote!