Qualities and Skills Employers Look For


Employer Expectation Standards

Personal Qualities

  • Come to work every day and on time
  • Stay at work until the workday is over
  • Come to work sober and don’t use illegal drugs o Wear clothes appropriate to the job
  • Do your job and complete work as instructed
  • Follow all company rules
  • Keep workplace clean and neat

Social Skills

  • Be respectful and helpful
  • Use self-control, especially in difficult situations
  • Be willing to risk making a mistake
  • Be able to accept constructive criticism and learn from your mistakes
  • Pay attention to cleanliness and personal hygiene
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Take pride in your work
  • Respect other people’s ideas and beliefs
  • Be inclusive others race, gender, religions, and nationalities
  • Understand the nature of prejudice
  • Be cooperative and maintain a positive attitude
  • Pay attention to cleanliness and personal hygiene

Thinking Skills

  • Know what you are expected to do and when you are expected to do it o Know how to adapt and solve simple problems
  • Be able to prioritize tasks
  • Be able to anticipate problems and take preventative action
  • Be able to suggest improved ways of doing your job

Listening Skills

  • Be present and listen when others are speaking before you respond
  • Maintain eye contact and remove distractions
  • Follow basic oral instructions involving multiple steps
  • Interpret complex information

Oral/Written Communication Skills

  • Communicate facts and arrange ideas in a logical sequence
  • Be professional and communicate with proper grammar
  • Use oral communication for a variety of purposes: to inform, to persuade, to motivate
  • Be able to translate complex technical information

Computer Skills/Knowledge

  • Accept the computer as a necessary tool in today’s workplace
  • Use the computer in place of paper forms
  • Access and use a variety of computer programs: Excel, PowerPoint, Word
  • Identify the need for new programs or for adjustments to existing programs

Leadership Skills

  • Provide positive input to the team
  • Facilitate team to work together to accomplish goal/mission/vision
  • Know your job within the team and promptly complete tasks
  • Influence positively all people with whom you come in contact

Five Things Employers Look For When Hiring

Relevant experience

Twenty-three percent of hiring managers say the candidate's ability to relate their experience to the job at hand is the most important factor in the hiring decision. Unfortunately, new graduates often underestimate the experience they have through internships, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities, but 63 percent of hiring managers say they view volunteer activities as relevant experience.

Fit within the company culture

Just because you look good on paper doesn't mean you’ve secured the job. To 21 percent of employers, the trait they most want to see in a candidate is the ability to fit in with co-workers and the company. This can also be evaluated by that "unimportant" small talk at the beginning of an interview or non-job-related questions like "What was the last book you read?"

Educational background

Nineteen percent of hiring managers place the most emphasis on your educational background: the institution you attended, major, minor and degree earned. Be sure to also include courses taken and completed projects if relevant to the job. With grade point average, it's tricky. A good rule of thumb is to omit it unless it is 3.0 or higher and denote if it's your overall or major GPA.


Passion for the job is the top characteristic that 19 percent of employers look for in a candidate. Employees who are passionate about their jobs tend to be more productive workers. The answer to "Why do you want to work here?" should always focus on the strengths of the company and the challenge of the position, not the perks.


Eight percent of hiring managers say the ideas you bring to the table and the questions you ask carry the most significance. Come prepared to discuss how your qualifications can specifically contribute to the success of the company. Put yourself in that role and explain how you would perform your work and ways to improve it.

Source: Pocket Book of Job Search Data & Tips by JIST


Three key things at an Interview

Negative impressions are hard to change, so pay particular attention to your dress and grooming (hair, nails, teeth, breath, and so on)

Unless you convince an employer that you will be reliable, you will not get the job. Give examples of your good attendance record or how you stay late to get things done on time.

You must prove to the employer that you can do the job well. Mention related training and experiences that indicate that you can do the job or that you can learn it quickly


Department of Student Engagement
931.540.2862 or 931.540.2583