Qualities Employers Seek in Employees

working in office

When you are looking for a job or thinking of getting a promotion, it would help if you could see yourself from the employer point of view. All employers look for certain qualities or personal attributes in addition to the skills that you are required to possess for that particular job. These skill sets and attributes can be grouped into three:

  1. Personal skill sets and attributes
  2. Professional skill sets and attributes
  3. Social skill sets and attributes

Personal skill sets and attributes

This is how you take care of yourself, as a person, as a social being and as an employee. Do you take care of your physical fitness? How you achieve a work/life balance is crucial for keeping you in good mental shape. Do you take care of your professional skill sets and social contacts? Do you relax and engage in recreation regularly so that you can give your best?

Professional skill sets and attributes

This is about your role as the employee and how you take care of that aspect. If other people can see you as being professional, it is easier for them to visualize your blending in with other professionals and systems.

Social skill sets and attributes

This is about how you adjust to other people, their ways of interacting, communicating, working together and being accepted by others.

The following skill sets and attributes are vital for getting a new job or a promotion to a new job.

  • Communication skills – You can be very brilliant and have tons of skills, but if you cannot communicate well, your chances of getting employed or promoted decrease significantly. Though this is a part of interpersonal skills, communicating about your job, about yourself and managing results and expectations are specialized areas of interpersonal skills. Countless surveys have shown this. Employers responding to the US National Association of Colleges and Employers or NACE’s Job Outlook 2007 survey specified communication skills as the job seeker’s most important skills and qualities, rated 4,7 on a 1 to 5 scale.
  • Motivation – This quality is absolutely vital. Motivation can be recognized in small details or from your attitude. Your motivation shows if you visited the company’s website and did your homework before coming to the job interview or, if you have found out what is required of you and acquired some skills through training to get the promotion you want. Passion for the job/work is a very strong factor in your favour. However, it should be apparent in your deeds and attitude and not in repeating like a parrot “I am passionate about this job”!
  • Updating your Skills and Experience – An employee, who constantly evaluates her/his skills set and updates or upgrades them through training or other methods is a gem of an employee. The employer sees immediately the benefit of acquiring an achiever, if there are no other negative factors like arrogance, rudeness, meanness that erode this confidence.
  • Resourcefulness – How do you cope when things go wrong? This is an important quality for many jobs though problem solving on your own may not be part of the job picture.
  • Work Ethics – Honesty and integrity are very valued qualities. Employers look for dependability. If the employer can picture your being consistently able to deliver as agreed, you have got the job. Sometimes personal values may conflict with company values. How you resolve this conflict is an important factor deciding your employability or promotion.
  • Diligence and Professionalism – No employer wants a lazy employee. So you need to prove that you are diligent. Professionalism varies across professions, but underlying it all is a desire to give your best in a recognizably competent fashion. You can be very lazy at times, recharging your batteries but overall you should come out as a diligent person. Having balanced and reasonable expectations about your employer is also a part of professionalism.
  • Compatibility with the Job

      – In addition to the matching of skill sets and experience, you also need to be able to work with other people and other systems. Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, experience etc are illegal but your employability suffers greatly if the employer can detect a mismatch between your personal qualities and job skills and those required on the job. Some of these could be personality issues like communication style, management style, professional qualifications or simply lack of experience in the industry.

  • Know-how about the industry and the job – This is what you are going to be hired for. Not only should you have evidence of your ability to do your job, but also that you see how your job fits the bigger picture in the organization or industry. Qualifications whether they are certificates, diplomas, degrees, or job experience all count as know-how and should be presented.
  • Personality and Cultural Compatibility – Your potential employer or boss would definitely evaluate your personality on the job. How do you manage with other types of personalities? How would the company’s customers or clients react to you? Evidence of your coping skills with different personalities would affect the decision of your potential employer or superior.
  • Management Style and Interpersonal Skills – How you manage other people, how you motivate others, convince others, and align people’s interests with those of the organization so that individuals can devote themselves and make even sacrifices for the greater good – this is the core of your management and interpersonal skills. It is beneficial for you to evaluate yourself if you fit in with the organization’s management systems.
  • Blame Handling – Employers take special note of how you handle blame. Be careful not to speak ill of your previous boss or employer. The interviewer would then think “She will speak of me like this some day”!
  • Interpersonal Skills – How you manage with other people from outside your immediate circle at work and make contacts, do you have hobbies, how you can convince others to help and to trust you – these are socialising skills that help you adapt to your social environment. If you cannot adapt successfully to your social environment, chances are that high that you will not succeed professionally.
  • Faith – The last but not the least quality is faith, faith in yourself, and faith in your values. Optimism is very contagious and if you are optimistic (in a balanced manner though), you stand a much better chance of being employed or getting the promotion.