6 Top Personality Traits That Impress Employers Most

In today's job market, companies are looking for employees who have more than just the right skill sets. They're also looking for those who bring more to the table with their personalities. In fact, more than three-quarters of hiring managers say a candidate's personality matters just as much as their technical skills, and 16 percent of employers say they value personality over technical skills. The following discusses personality traits that are most popular with employers and explores how you can showcase these traits during an interview.


Man and woman shaking hands

Image via Flickr by COD Newsroom

When Universum, a Stockholm-based branding company interviewed over 400,000 professionals and students from around the world to find out which personality traits were most sought after, 86 percent responded with professionalism. This is a trait that interviewers will look for as soon as a candidate walks into the room. The best way to present yourself as a professional is to make sure you're dressed appropriately for the interview, approach with a smile, and offer a firm handshake.

Additionally, during the interview, make sure you're ready to answer questions about a time when you went out of your way to help someone else when you were at work, or a time when you saw actions that hurt another coworker and what you did about it.

Interpersonal Skills

In today's workplace, it's very rare to find a job that is completely separated from the rest of the company and not have any contact with your coworkers. This is just one reason employers are looking for candidates who can show excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with others. It's an absolute must to show on your résumé that you're a team player and that you have the proper communication skills.

Before your interview, brush up on how you would answer questions about a time you dealt with a challenging coworker or customer. Also, decide how you would discuss what types of people you get along with and why. Finally, you should also be prepared for interviewers who aren't only interested in how you deal with someone you don't like, but how you would deal with coworkers who don't like each other.


With 58 percent of companies responding to the Universum poll saying they're looking for self-motivated employees, this trait is another important one to showcase. In fact, if you're interviewing for a sales position, self-motivation is one of the key traits for which employers will be looking. A sales person who is self-motivated to get out there and work hard will bring in more money than an employee who's just coasting by. Plus, since most of the wages that a sales person earns are based on commission from what they sell, it's vital to their livelihood to show self-motivation. 

If you have experience in sales, discuss a time when you took it upon yourself to go above and beyond what your previous employer asked you to do. Also, be ready to answer questions about a time when you proposed a new and better way of doing something and what the result was, or a time when you turned a weakness into a strength.


While some people find adapting to change hard, it's important in today's society to show that you're flexible. Many companies acknowledge the only constant in this world is change, and they need to make sure they're hiring employees who are eager to make those changes with them. Slapping the word "flexible" on your résumé isn't enough to show you have this trait. It's actually one of the most over-used clichés that appear on résumés today. It's so lacking in specifics that hiring managers often read over it and move on to the next person.

Instead, include specific examples when you dealt with the unpredictable aspects of a job. Examples could include a time when you worked on a large project with multiple personalities, or a time a client unexpectedly changed their mind while you were working on a project. Also, be prepared to answer interview questions about a time of major change introduced at your workplace and how you responded.

Intellectual Curiosity

Universum also discovered that 57 percent of companies are looking for candidates who have intellectual curiosity. Employers want to make sure their hired employees are passionate to learn new things and can keep up with changing technology and trends. Candidates need to make sure the hobbies and interests section of their résumé is tightly edited. This is an ideal spot to show how you plan to keep learning in this ever-changing world.

During the interview, employers may ask how you plan to keep on learning and growing. This is a good time to bring up any continuing education courses you've taken. Or they may ask you to talk about a time when you were required to change the way you did something at a previous job and how you handled the change.

Mentoring Abilities

More and more companies understand the advantages of having mentors within the workplace, and they're looking for employees who can grow into the role of mentor. For the employee, mentors use their experience to help them solve problems and feel less isolated at work. In turn, this helps the employer because employees make fewer mistakes on the job and have greater job satisfaction.

To see if you're interested and capable of mentoring employees, an interviewer may ask you to describe a time when you were mentored and what you found most helpful from the experience. Additionally, they may ask if you've ever had to manage an underperforming coworker and how you resolved the issue.

While many of the interview questions discussed above don't have a single correct answer, they do offer the interviewer a chance to see how your personality would fit into the culture of the workplace. If you're trying to stand out from the pack in your job search, make sure you have a plan to showcase these six personality traits on your résumé and during your interview. 

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Hale

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