7 Personality Traits Hiring Managers Look For In New Hires

Linda Le Phan

If you’re lucky, your career goals might include advancing at your current company, building on your core skill-set and/or growing your professional network.

But if you’re among the some 7 million professionals today that are currently unemployed or looking for full-time work, your next goal may simply be to land a decent job. And while the job search process can vary wildly depending on the industry or job position you’re looking for, the toughest part about finding (and getting) a job by far is the interview process.

Most hiring managers will agree that they typically won’t interview applicants who at least have the core skills needed for the job that they are hiring for, however, many will also readily admit that once in the interview phase…

 

A candidate’s personality traits can matter just as much their technical skills in whether they get hired.


If you want to boost your chances of nailing your next job interview or if you just want some honest insight into the mind of a hiring manager, check out these top personality traits hiring managers look for when interviewing potential new hires.

Top Personality Traits Hiring Managers Look for:

1. Can play well with others

One of the most common personality traits hiring managers look for in new hires is the ability to “play well” with others. You may be a rockstar at the job itself, but if you can’t get along with others and don’t “jive” with their people then it doesn’t matter.

“Often times, technical skills can be taught far more easily than interpersonal skills,” says Marisa South, General Manager of Vet & Pet Jobs, a career website for employers and job seekers in the veterinary industry. “Is the candidate able to hold a conversation while smiling and positively interacting with other members of the team? Hiring managers are usually trying to find a way to assess how a candidate interacts with others” and most of them will make their hiring decisions with that at top-of-mind.

2. Has integrity

Integrity covers everything from not over-embellishing (ahem, lying!) on your resume, to knowing better than to steal someone else’s lunch from the fridge – which, by the way, is the absolute WORST isn’t it? 

“Just as everything else in life, trust (and integrity) plays an integral role in choosing a candidate,” says Deniz Sasal, Founder of The Career Mastery. And while real trust is something that needs to develop over time with anyone new, integrity is something hiring managers can and do screen for in an interview. “A candidate who tries to deceive the interviewer in a job interview will continue to do so once hired,” and while “you can always bring a new hire up to speed with training, it’s not that easy to instill integrity in someone” who doesn’t have it, Sasal adds.

3. Eagerness and capacity to learn 

In life, there’s no end to learning and same goes for your career. Realistic hiring managers take this into account, especially when the position(s) they’re looking to fill involve unique industry knowledge.

“We have a lot of client-facing employees who need to understand our prospective and current clients’ “pain” areas – what problems they’re facing and how we can help them solve those problems,” explains Carli Kozik, Corporate Recruiter at BizLibrary, a provider of employee training and learning solutions. “How can we accomplish this if an employee isn’t eager to learn about those companies?”

The actual capacity to learn is also crucial, says Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and Director of HR of Source Capital Funding, Inc., as “for most companies, beyond the basic requirements for a role, there are a lot of industry specific skills that many people may not have or been exposed to”. It’s okay for a candidate to have a lack of industry knowledge, as long as “the candidate demonstrates that he or she has the ability to quickly grasp new concepts.”

The proof is in the numbers.

Our own studies show that, particularly for companies worth working for, learning and continued growth matters:

  • Career development satisfaction is ranked significantly higher for top ranked companies on kununu (4.4 stars) compared to the overall average (2.63 stars).
  • Tuition assistance is also much more common among top companies; it’s twice more common for top ranked companies to offer it (21.7%) compared to lowest ranked companies (9.5%).

4. Persistence

Hiring managers love job candidates who don’t simply fill a need in their company, but ones who are also able to tackle challenges with persistence and dedication. This shows that you’re a “self-starter” and won’t need to be constantly pushed to perform.

“As a former employer who [has] hired several hundred employees…a word I loved to hear was persistent”, says Timothy G. Wiedman, a former Associate Prof. of Management and Human Resources at Doane University. A main reason for that being a “persistent employee keeps working toward a solution, even in difficult situations. When others might give up, a persistent employee will look at the problem from different angles” and even go the extra mile in many cases out of pure dedication to the task. 

5. Positive attitude

While strong technical skills and relevant industry experience are two extremely valuable “must-haves” as a job candidate, those things alone aren’t always enough. Hiring managers really seek out candidates who have the skill, experience AND who have an overall optimistic, positive attitude. 

“When evaluating a positive and optimistic outlook I listen for how they speak about prior employers and clients” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, a top-rated, values-based executive resume writing service for accomplished and emerging executives. “You can usually pick up on a negative attitude or pessimistic outlook by how they speak about previous employers. Speaking negatively about past bosses is a terrible mistake in a job interview for any candidate no matter what they’re doing!”

6. Enthusiasm for the role

Another personality trait hiring managers really keep an eye out for in job applicants is enthusiasm for both the role they’re seeking and for their company as a whole. 

“We want employees who are excited about what they do,” shares Sara Hetyonk, Talent Acquisition Manager at ONTRAPORT, a business automation software company. And since “people job hop much more frequently than they have in the past…hiring managers want to avoid wasting time and resources on candidates who keep one foot out the door. Candidates that are sincerely enthusiastic about their potential role within a company are valued because it’s believed that they are more likely to stick around,” adds Geoff Scott, Career Adviser and Resume Expert at Resume Companion.

Enthusiasm can also be translated into an eagerness to advance. “We have found that employees with career drive and an eager attitude to take on new projects often succeed in their roles and help improve processes of their department” says Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and Director of HR of Source Capital Funding, Inc.

7. Loyalty and commitment

In today’s job market more than ever before, hiring managers are interested in candidates who show a strong potential to stay loyal and committed to their company for the long-term. One big reason for this is that employers are very aware that job-hopping has become somewhat of a job industry norm, especially among millennials, but certainly for other reasons as well. 

“Someone with loyalty, commitment, and grit is likely to create more value for a company than someone who is brilliant”, says Steve Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps, a sales productivity and planning app for salespeople in the field. And in terms of loyalty in new hires in particular, Benson adds that “it’s important to hire people who are loyal and looking to be a part of something for the long term. An organization is made up of its people, and people who have been around for awhile are invaluable to the culture and success of an organization.”

 

Are you currently interviewing for a new position? Get more useful job search tips and information by following us @kununu_US or by checking out our thousands of honest company reviews.

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Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a company review platform built on transparency. When she isn’t focused on creating great content around the modern workplace, company culture, and workplace happiness, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.