Employee Traits That Employers Look For, Part 2

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Career Advice

In Part 1 of this article, we listed communications skills, attention to detail and leadership ability as among the important character traits employers are looking for in new hires. In addition to a standard level of expertise in specific fields - programs for programmers, management for managers and so on - today's employers are looking to hire certain "attitudes and aptitudes" rather than just "resumes and references." The work ethic and integrity Employers would love it if every job applicant loved what they did, because people who do will work diligently and keep at the task until they succeed. The fact is, you may not love everything you have to do on a job, but having what is called "the old-fashioned work ethic" means that you consider every job important, and work hard in every area, whether it's your "favorite thing" or not. The work ethic is closely related to principles of honesty, and studies consistently show that honesty and integrity are valued more than most anything else by employers. It is clear that many other capacities and capabilities issue from this one character trait, and both leadership and relationship building are correlated with it. In this era of serial corporate scandal, this quality is once again rising in prominence. Both confident and passionate People who don't believe in themselves will have a hard time getting anyone else to believe in them. You need to be confident in your unique mixture of innate talents, acquired skills and general education, because these are what comprise the "total package" that you are, in effect, selling to potential employers. The value of teamwork is balanced with your ability, with these qualities, to do as the famous personnel department phrase says, which is "work with little or no supervision." Candidates who get hired and employees who get promoted have any number of things in common, but prime among them are ambition and passion. These are positive mental attitudes, actually, and are recognized in the enthusiasm and energy you inject into your speech and actions. An "upbeat" attitude and a love for what you do go a long way in expressing your value as an employee. Professional and organized Beyond knowing how to speak, act and dress in your particular work environment, you must also know how to act with responsibility and appropriateness in all situations. If you are mature and levelheaded, or working hard at it like most of us, you will find it increasingly difficult to be inappropriate or petty in your actions, on or off the job. You need to be able to envision the work ahead, "map it out" for yourself and your staff and get things done on time, on budget and on target. Various other skills and character traits can be brought to bear on planning and organizational matters, including your ability to set, define and achieve goals. Personnel recruiters call good organizers "results-driven" and "task-oriented," qualities that need to be balanced with the foregoing ones of flexibility and professionalism. Personal and cultural sensitivity There is no bigger buzzword in the workplace today than "diversity." Jobseekers must be able to demonstrate both sensitivity to and awareness of different people and cultures. The fact is that if you can build consensus with a group of employees who may see more differences than similarities among themselves, you have a very valuable ability, one that will take you far in today's rapidly globalizing workplace. Finally, there are any number of other traits, abilities and skills with which we could bulk up this list. There is loyalty, patience, insight, foreign-language skills and so on - as well as innumerable technical and psychological considerations that can make a prospective employee more or less desirable in a particular position. In the end, the person who makes the hiring decision has to weigh all the evidence and decide based on a set of considerations unique to the position and workplace. The process of selecting employees with very special skills, as a matter of fact, is a job that takes a number of very special skills itself! After founding his first security firm in 1990, Scott McQuarrie built several security-related companies into regional and national powerhouses over the ensuing years. Since 2000 he has focused his sales and marketing efforts on the Internet, which opened up a virtually unlimited, international market for his flagship product line, EZWatch Pro. The EZWatch Pro brand has come to stand for world-class expertise in electronic security, video surveillance and the myriad technologies involved in both fields. From small houses to gigantic international airports, there is an EZWatch Pro solution to meet any and every residential, business, commercial and government security challenge.

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  • Lyddy
    Touchdown! That's a really cool way of putting it!
  • Chucki
    I see people every day who have been HIRED by someone who apparently doesn't notice that the employee doesn't want to work, doesn't know how to treat customers, and doesn't care about the company that hired them. Do you have to be a rude, unqualified moron to get a job? It looks that way. I would be a much better choice, yet all my job applications are ignored. Is there a hiring manager somewhere who has enough brains to hire me? Speak up! I can speak proper English and even spell! Can the people you've hired say the same?
  • Susan E. Laughlin-Dean
    Susan E. Laughlin-Dean
    I was encouraged to see that employers still value "old fashioned" ideals like a good work ethic and honesty. I pride myself on these qualities and bring genuine love for my work with me wherever I go. It is my hope that these qualities are "infectious" and motivate others.

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