Though some jobs call for an endless combination of skills from a candidate, the most sought-after employee qualities are often general, whether you’re a chemical engineer, banker, sales associate, or mailroom worker. So what are these greatly desired good qualities?
“Someone who is ambitious comes prepared to the interview and expresses lots of interest in the position. A candidate who wants to grow their career with the company can be an investment for the long term. Candidates can demonstrate ambition by listing achievements that include exceeding goals or working in a leadership position, even while at school or in a volunteer capacity.” —Jeanine Hamilton, founder and president of Hire Partnership, a staffing firm in Boston.
“Curiosity can leap off a resume and cover letter through the addition of varied experiences within a person’s industry of choice. It comes through during interviews when a candidate asks intelligent questions about the client company’s background and culture, as well as the role itself. Research the industry and company before your interview so you can progress to a broader discussion, indicating your interest and commitment to proactively gathering information and solutions.” —Karen Finan, president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, in Covington, Kentucky.
“Humility goes a long way when it comes to driving good teamwork. It’s important to celebrate as a team but also to personally take responsibility for shortcomings. The best way to demonstrate this is during an interview. We look for individuals who emphasize ‘we’ versus ‘I,’ and we also dig in to 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?” —Heather Germain, director of human resources at Professional Staffing Group, a full-service staffing firm in Boston
“Hustle doesn’t stem from talent; it is more about effort, ethics, attitude, and passion. If a candidate is prepared, willing to be coached, and want to go above and beyond, then he/she has hustle. You understand that you can create success and have the energy to go for it.” —Chris McCaffrey, former account manager at Betts Recruiting, a tech recruiting firm in San Francisco
“If a candidate doesn’t have a positive and upbeat demeanor, it’s a deal-breaker. To clarify, I’m not talking about a Pollyanna attitude, but rather someone who has a great attitude, smile, energy, and optimism that others feel when they interact with them. Moreover, someone that when ‘stuff’ happens, they have a striking 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 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“A perceptive interviewer quickly picks up on the fast-talking, withholding, misleading, or less-than-honest interviewee. Be open and forthcoming. It’s OK to admit being terminated because of a difference of opinion with your boss, or a culture mismatch, or a mistake with a lesson learned, as examples. It happens, and it will come out in the reference checks. Always maintain confidentiality [agreements] and be respectful of a former employer, but admit that there was an issue. Transparency always wins.” —Donna Friedman, executive at Tower Consultants Search Group, an executive recruitment consultancy, based in Fort Pierce, Florida
Does your resume reflect your awesomeness?
Now that you know which good qualities recruiters are looking for, you need to know how to demonstrate to them that you have these skills. The best way to do that is on your resume (after all, it’s the first thing they’re likely to look at when considering your candidacy).
Follow us on Twitter for job vacancy updates @wallstreet_rec