14 Top Qualities Employers Look For in Job Candidates

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 25, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated May 25, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

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Throughout the interviewing process, candidates use work experience and accomplishments to show that they have the qualifications that employers seek. While hard skills (such as technical training and education) are important, employers also seek soft skills or interpersonal skills that directly influence what kind of employee each candidate will be.

In this article, we review 14 qualities that employers seek and we discuss ways for you to highlight these qualities during and after the hiring process.

Character Traits

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Positive character traits:
ambitious, creative, compassionate, patient, courageous, flexible, honest, humble, honorable, loyal, conscientious, persistent, resilient, disciplined

Qualities employers look for

You can consider highlighting these skills in your resume and interviews:

  • Communication skills

  • Honesty

  • Loyalty

  • Dependability

  • Teamwork

  • Flexibility

  • Self-reliance

  • Eagerness to learn

  • Confidence

  • Work ethic

  • Determination

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Positivity

  • Ambition

Communication skills

Employers understand the value of effective communication and actively look for this skill in potential employees. It’s important to show your competence in this area verbally, physically and through written communication. When corresponding via email, double-check the message before sending it to ensure that you are being clear and concise. Another key component to good communication is the ability to actively listen and provide thoughtful feedback, so be sure to stay engaged.


Honesty is a key quality that employers want in their staff. Some applicants are tempted to exaggerate their qualifications to secure a job, but this is inadvisable. Though it may help you progress through the hiring process, if your potential employer discovers your dishonesty you will never recover their trust. 

Honesty is also an important characteristic to have beyond the interviewing process. An employee that admits mistakes and learns from them is an asset to any company.


Honesty and loyalty are two traits that can’t be taught, which is why they are key attributes that employers look for. Prove yourself as trustworthy and committed to the success of the company, and you will be invaluable.


The ability to consistently follow through is an important work trait that employers seek, and one that you can prove you have throughout the interviewing process. Show a commitment to following deadlines by completing tasks as they’re assigned.


Though not every job requires collaboration, the ability to work effectively and harmoniously in a group is a strength that employers want their employees to have. In fact, they will likely ask you how you function in a team during the interview process, so come prepared with an anecdote that highlights your ability to compromise and collaborate.


The ability to adapt is an important quality that employers want. Prove to them you can tackle tasks and changes as they come. You can also show this skill by addressing improvements that need to be made and developing systems or solutions to the issues.


Being proactive is an important characteristic that employers look for and one that is easy to show. In the interviewing process, ask specific questions about the duties you’ll be performing in the job. This will show that you’ve given thoughtful consideration to the position. You can also prove you’re self-motivated by recognizing needs and taking initiative on projects.

Eagerness to learn

Employers value employees that actively seek to better themselves, so it’s important to communicate that you enjoy learning new things. Love for education demonstrates that you are dedicated and humble, recognizing that there is always more for you to learn. During the interviewing process, be sure to mention if you are an avid reader or continuing your education.


Being self-assured is a key characteristic that employers look for. They seek people to join their team that are confident in their abilities and that know what they want. Confident employees are friendly, engaging and have a clear (and honest) idea of what makes them a valuable asset.

A key component of confidence is having clear goals. Communicating your dreams to potential employers will prove that you are striving for something bigger, and not just looking for a job to pay your bills.

Work ethic

Another top quality that employers look for is a good work ethic. Employees that work hard are always on time and on target. Take pride in your work and others will take notice.

Work Ethic

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Ways to demonstrate work ethic:

  1. Put away distractions

  2. Ask for help to identify areas for improvement

  3. Spend your time wisely on tasks that align with goals

  4. Organize your notes, inbox and workspaces for increased focus, motivation and time management

  5. Take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout

  6. Identify motivators such as tasks, goals or colleagues

  7. Practice time management to complete quality, on-time work and be more present in meetings


Persistence is an important work trait, and employers often ask a question to gauge the determination of applicants in an interview. Be equipped with a story that shows how you overcame a challenge and highlight the tenacity that it took for you to accomplish your goal.

Problem-solving skills

Employers are looking for more than brainless drones to do their bidding. They want people on their team that can pinpoint a need and address it, so be sure to recount instances when you recognized an issue and developed an effective solution.


A work environment can be dramatically altered by one person’s attitude, which is why positivity is a quality that employers look for. Positive people create healthy work environments and are often valuable members of a team. A positive attitude usually signifies resilience, and an ability to overcome setbacks.


Ambition is a key trait that employers look for because of what it communicates about the worker. It means that they have something they’re working towards, and they are on a path of betterment for both themselves and their circumstances. Don’t be afraid to share your big dream with potential employers. They’ll likely find value in it, and it will positively impact your worth.

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