9 Key Traits Employers Look for in Job Applicants

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Job interviews are the prime opportunity to prove that you are the exact candidate that is fit for the position that is being offered. So during a one-on-one meeting with an employer, you must showcase all your talents, skills, and experiences.

That said, technical skills are not the only things that hiring managers look for in applicants. Equally—or maybe even more—important are one’s work ethics and characteristics. These are key in deciding whether or not the candidate is fit for the team and the company.

Here are nine key traits that employers look for in job applicants. If you are confident that you have them, make sure to grab any chance to show them during a job application process. If you need a little polishing in some traits, make sure to practice them before making promises to an employer. 

Ability to Work with a Team

Being team-oriented, or having the ability to work with a team, is one of the most sought-after traits in any job applicant. Even if your job is primarily done alone, there will always be times when every employee will need to work with others. This can range from asking another co-worker for help in a project or working with several people to accomplish a specific task. So it is essential for employers to know that you will be able to get along with other people in the company and work with others professionally to achieve a common goal.

People who have no issues working with others are also the best prospects for management and leadership positions in the future since those need you to deal with several different people, including those above you.

During your job interview, prove to your boss that you can work with a team by sharing your experiences working with others. You can also show your interest in learning about your future co-workers by asking about company culture and who you may potentially work with should you get the job.


Managers value employees who they can trust to deliver consistently up-to-standard outputs. It is a waste of time and effort to hire someone who will need constant looking after. Bosses look for people to who they can assign tasks, then leave them to do their work with the confidence that it will be done efficiently, effectively, and correctly.

Dependability is an essential trait in an employee because it shows that they care about their job, co-workers, and company. So during job interviews, employers look for key factors to show that a potential hire can be dependable. These can be based on their experience (i.e., the frequency of outputs they can churn out in a week), their responsiveness to e-mails or tasks asked of them during the hiring process and the feedback from their references.


Work can sometimes become demanding and stressful; that is a given. But it is essential for people to be resilient—to look at problems in an optimistic manner. Resilient people are valuable employees because they can solve problems without feeling defeated. They learn from their mistakes, take feedback with grace, and use all that new knowledge to improve. They are not afraid to fail, and they can pick themselves right back up to fulfill their responsibilities even after down moments.

During your job interview, share a moment that shows your resilience. It can summarize a low point in your previous job that you transformed into a learning experience.

Eagerness to Learn

Hiring managers often look for applicants who are eager to learn during job interviews. This trait is important because it tells your employer that you are humble enough to acknowledge that you do not know everything and actively look for ways to improve yourself.

Once hired, employees who are eager to learn are often rewarded with raises and promotions more quickly. This is because one’s eagerness to learn usually leads people to obtain more knowledge about their job and even the work of people around them. It also shows that an employee is eager to advance in their career in the company.


It takes a lot of resources to hire and train new employees. There are talent hunts, job interviews, negotiations, training, and more. So when companies do it, they look for applicants who are in it for the long haul—people who will not likely to leave the team high and dry in just a few months to have to start the hiring process all over again.

Loyalty also goes beyond just working in a company for a long time. It also means that you are willing to dedicate your time and efforts to work for the company’s success. Loyalty, then, includes being loyal to your boss, your co-workers, and the work you do day-in and day-out.


Many people confuse ambition as a bad thing. But ambition in the workplace is valuable for employers because it proves that a person has a path of betterment that they have set for themselves—goals that they are working to achieve. This purpose will drive an employee to do their work in the best way possible. Ambitious people will take all the steps to get a job done, from taking extra time, learning new skills, or taking on more responsibility.

During your job interview, do not be afraid to share your goals and dreams with your employer, especially if they are in line with the job that you are applying for. This helps the hiring manager visualize a path to take in the company for the long term.


Being knowledgeable about your field is nothing if you are not competent about putting what you know into action. Competence is an essential trait because it gives your bosses the assurance that you can bring value to the company through your skills, guidance, and technical know-how.

One’s competence extends beyond just the specific field that you are working in. It also includes competence in day-to-day work-related actions such as replying to e-mails, using word processors or spreadsheets, and the like. Before your interview, polish all your skills and include all relevant ones in your resume.


The work environment is ever-changing. That is why adaptability is vital trait employers look for in job applicants. They need to be sure that you can adapt to different jobs and environments; that you are open to making needed changes for the betterment of your job and the company. Adaptability is essential in start-up environments where processes are not yet set in stone.

Flexibility is another trait that goes hand-in-hand with adaptability. A flexible person is extra valuable to employers because it shows that an applicant is willing to work on tasks outside of their job description if needed. Flexible employees also often have better compromising skills, which can be helpful when making deals or dealing with customers. 


Employers often seek applicants who are self-reliant. These are people who do not depend on others for their successes; people you can trust do an excellent job on the work assigned to them. People who are self-reliant know their strengths and confidently put them into action in their work. They are self-motivated, encouraged to do better by their own goals.

Self-reliant individuals are also proactive. They take the initiative in solving problems or adding value to work.

Show potential bosses that you are self-reliant by proactively asking specific questions about the job and the company. This shows that you took the first step in looking into what they do, that you are eager to know more, and thoughtful about your decision.

The ability to communicate is another key trait that employers look for in job applicants. LingualBox is an English tutoring platform that can help you improve your English language skills through one-on-one classes with our professional English tutors. Book a class today to learn more!

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Jica Simpas is a writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She has over two years of writing experience in producing travel and food-related content. She is currently exploring new writing ventures to expand her practice.