August 25, 2011
By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com
With almost 14 million Americans still unemployed, competition for available jobs is vigorous. Hiring managers and human resources departments often receive hundreds of resumes or applications for each position they’ve posted. Those that do not have the necessary skills to perform the job as outlined in the job listing quickly find their way to the circular file. Phone interviews are often used to further cull the applicants. Face-to-face job interviews are generally reserved for the top candidates.
When faced with several equally qualified professionals, employers look for the possession of certain traits to help them make a selection. These traits go beyond intelligence and communication skills and into the qualities that indicate you will be a great person to have on the team. In no particular order, here are the eight traits employers are really looking for.
1. Comfortable confidence.
Employers want to hire professionals who are comfortable with themselves. These professionals know who they are and what they want. They are confident, but never cocky. They are friendly, engaging and, as a result, a pleasure to be around.
2. Willingness to listen and learn.
Employers obviously want to hire professionals who have the skills necessary to do the job. However, that doesn’t mean there will never be anything they need to learn. Know-it-alls are rarely appreciated. Humility (and humanity) often is.
In some fields, a job is changing and evolving day by day. Employers want to hire adaptable professionals who can change with it. This may mean someone who can follow directions one day and figure out his or her own direction the next. Or perhaps someone who can spend some days behind their desk and other days in the field, equally productive in both environments.
Employers want to hire professions who are flexible. Those who are stuck in their ways tend to be more difficult to work with than those who can go with the flow. Flexibility goes hand in hand with adaptability.
Babies need not apply. Employers do not want to hire people who require handholding or constant praise in order to feel appreciated. They are looking for employees who can motivate themselves, figure out what needs to be done and then do it. Everyone appreciates a pat on the back from time to time, but it shouldn’t be required to do your job well.
You’ve heard it before, but there is no “I” in “TEAM.” Even those who are hired to fill individual positions may eventually find themselves working as part of a group. Employers are looking for those who can collaborate well with others, not behave like divas.
Employers want to hire professionals who will be there to do the job every day. They do not want to waste their time with someone who is going to use all of his or her sick days, demand vacation time during the busy season, or abuse a flexible schedule.
Once a liar, always a liar, or at least in the eyes of potential employers. It almost goes without saying, but if an employer discovers an “inaccuracy” or “exaggeration” on your resume (perhaps while conducting a reference check), you will quickly find yourself resuming your job search.
How do your qualities stack up against the list of traits employers are really looking for? An honest self-assessment will give you a good idea of what you need to work on. If you possess all eight traits, your chances of impressing during an interview and getting the job are very good.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.