What Characteristics Employers Look for in Applicants

Employers look for candidates who can solve complex business problems.
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Employers look for many characteristics in employees, but some are more important than others when considering job candidates. Your objective is to communicate these desired traits through your cover letter and resume. When you get an interview, demonstrate these skills or traits by discussing projects and responsibilities you have had in previous jobs. Keep these characteristics in mind the next time you meet with a human resources or hiring manager.


    Honesty is one of the most important value characteristics employers seek in employees, according to Quintessential Careers. Employers expect their workers to be honest whether they are handling financial transactions or protecting sensitive data. Employers may run criminal background checks to verify your honesty. You may also be asked to take a polygraph or lie detector test to verify if you've ever stolen money from an employer. Honesty is not always guaranteed in the days of Ponzi schemes and disreputable financing deals. The best way of demonstrating honesty during an interview is sharing examples when you were entrusted with money or held responsible for proprietary documents.

Relevant Work Experience

    Relevant work experience is another important characteristic employers seek in applicants. Employers want to hire those who can make immediate contributions, according to CNN Living. This limits the amount of time spent in the proverbial "learning curve," which is the time period before you become proficient on the job. Demonstrate your relevant work experience by relating what you've done compared to responsibilities of the open position. Create SAR stories -- situation, action and result -- from past projects, advises Quintessential Careers. For example, you may have faced aggressive marketing tactics from competitors as a product manager (the situation). You took action by countering competitive marketing with new product features and advertising (action). And your company saw a 10 percent increase in sales during that period (result).

Problem-Solving Skills

    Many small business owners base the premise of their companies on problems. Management consultants help manufacturers solve problems of inefficiency, such as wasting raw material resources. Caretakers do things for older people to help with chores. Additionally, you need problem-solving skills for any job you perform. You may need to reduce the budget, discipline a problem employee or determine why fewer customers are buying your products. On an interview, provide examples of when you solved problems for companies and include these examples on your resume.

Team Players

    Team players are those who work well in a team environment. Companies in many industries use teams to complete projects. Executives of consumer product companies use teams to introduce new products. Marketing research, research and development, and advertising departments must collaborate to get new products to the market. If you are asked if you ever worked on a team, tell the interviewer the role you had: managed the budget or shared customer surveys with others. Subsequently, discuss how your role helped make the project a success.

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