While every employer needs a unique set of qualifications and experiences for a given position, they also expect a general set of personal characteristics that are often times considered even more important than your professional and educational background. Not only do the personal traits you convey affect the chances of receiving a job offer, but they eventually play a factor in how much you get paid for what you do. While there are many positive qualities that come together to make a valuable employee, some are in more demand than others.
Topping the list of desired traits is intelligence. This factor is so important because most of the productivity and potential contributions an employee with make to an organization over his or her career are governed by level of intelligence. Intelligence is a blanket term encompassing such skills as planning, organization, problem solving, and priority setting abilities. Other factors generally referred as part of an individual’s intelligence are psychological flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, common sense, level of curiosity, and drive to ask useful questions.
Leadership ability is another highly sought-after characteristic involving willingness to take charge of, and manage, a group of individuals with diverse personalities, abilities, and skill sets, and to accept responsibility for the actions of a greater whole without making excuses. A related quality that employers look for is integrity. An individual’s level of integrity describes his or her honesty and loyalty to those working with or around that individual and to the employer.
Employers want likable people. Teamwork is a foundational construct for any organization and vital for business success. Working well with others, persuasiveness, charm, sense of humor, and empathy all contribute to how likable you are. In order to become a desirable candidate, an employer must see that you can work well with others.
Somewhat related to intelligence, competence is a must in any job. Employers want employees who can simply get the job done; no excuses, no hassles, no procrastinations. Competence utilizes one’s ability to set priorities and concentrate only on relevant tasks while he or she focuses single-mindedly one a job until its completion.
More abstract traits such as bravery, determination, self-motivation, inner strength, perseverance, and boldness are also qualities employers want in their workers. Uncertainty and the potential for failure are regular occurrences in life, both professional and personal. However, the willingness to take calculated risks and accept challenges in the face of this reality means you can be relied upon to stick your neck out and go the extra mile for your company under risky circumstances. And even when things don’t go as planned, you remain persistent, consistent, and calm under pressure.