Throughout your education and working life, you will have acquired skills that allow you to do your job to the best of your ability.  Some of these will have required learning…certifications, professional qualifications, and probably some time spent in further education.

However, some of the skills and personal characteristics that employers demand are innate. Perhaps we had them already, or perhaps we’ve had to work on them; fine-tuning these personal attributes and qualities making us truly valuable employees.

What are personal qualities?

Personal qualities are the traits we value and those behaviours we exhibit. They define who we are and how we behave.  They are crucial to how we fit into a company and how we work within it.

More and more, employers have grown to prioritise company “fit” over the academic qualifications of an applicant.

Of course, it’s still important that candidates have the necessary technical skills that enable them to do their job. However, in 2022, employers are looking for candidates that share the same values as the organisation and are aligned with their beliefs.

Every organisation has an individual and identifiable culture. It’s impossible to say definitively what every employer is looking for.  However, it is safe to say that there are some universal attributes that any aspirational and progressive employer will demand of its employees.

Here are some of the personal qualities that employers value in 2022.

Openminded.

Employers love open-minded employees. They are normally responsive to new ideas and change. This quality suggests adaptability, curiosity, and a positive approach.

Because of this, open-minded individuals tend to hit the ground running, eager to adopt new techniques, styles, and working practices.

In an interview

Demonstrate you are open-minded by showing that you have welcomed constructive feedback and used it in to enhance your work.

Reliable.

Reliability is critical for employers. Reliable people do what they say they are going to do. It demonstrates a commitment both to the task and the organisation. It allows the employer to trust its team to deliver.

In an interview

Demonstrate your reliability with an example of when you’ve had to complete a task or project that had a short deadline.

Flexible.

Being flexible is about changing your approach when it’s needed.  Employees that are willing to divert or pivot quickly are highly prized. A flexible team gives employers options and confidence that if things get tough, there will be a ‘all hands on deck’ approach across the board.

This is especially important in a small business or start-up where employees wear multiple hats to get the job done.

In an interview

Demonstrate your flexibility by giving an example of when you’ve had to change priorities in your day-to-day job to meet the needs of the business.

Solution focussed.

Being solution focussed means that you can apply your skills, knowledge, and experience to solve problems.

Being solution focussed also implies a host of other prized characteristics; logical thinking, resilience, and determination for example.

In an interview

Demonstrate your focus on finding a solution by describing how you approached solving a workplace issue and what the result was.

Interested to learn.

Having an interest in learning suggests you’ll always be eager to improve your skills and knowledge.  Employers value this as it secures them a team that is keen to grow alongside the business and progress with the company.

In an interview

Demonstrate your curiosity by outlining side projects or discussing any industry-related insights or developments you find interesting.

Responsible.

Being responsible is about being committed to your role and taking ownership of any mistakes or errors you make. This is particularly sought after if the job is either senior or managerial.

In an interview

Demonstrate your responsibility by providing an example of a workplace responsibility. Talk about how you approached it and what the outcome was.

Focused.

Focused individuals have a clear plan on how to achieve their goals and objectives.

People who are focused are valuable as they are committed to the task and to its outcome.  They are also less likely to be distracted by external factors.

In an interview

Demonstrate your focus by outlining a past goal and how you may have achieved it.

Confident.

Confident people are secure in their ability and knowledge. They are assertive and make effective leaders. Their self belief is reassuring and inspires others around them.

In an interview

Demonstrate your confidence by detailing changes you advocated in a past role and how your self-belief benefited the company.

Proactive.

Proactive people are forward thinkers. They can foresee problems and put in place solutions, plans and ideas that remedy a problem before it arises.  Almost always, proactive people can see a job that needs doing and they do it. They are big-picture thinkers, and as such, are critical for any business.

In an interview

Demonstrate big picture thinking by talking about tasks you have completed over and above your job description for the greater good of the organisation.

Team Spirited.

Team-spirited people are always highly valued by employers.   Successful team working allows collaboration, idea generation, and excellent communication.  Efficient teams are more productive and motivated…both of these are, of course, essential for business progression and long-term success.

In an interview

Demonstrate your team spirit by telling your interviewer about a time when you’ve had to work in a team. Explain your role and the value you brought to the project.

Communicative.

Being communicative requires excellent verbal and written communication skills.  It means you can communicate your ideas, thoughts, and feelings clearly and concisely whilst respecting the views of others.

It also requires you to be an engaged listener. Someone who values the input of others as well as your own.  This is an integral skill and something that underpins many of the other qualities we’ve discussed so far.

In an interview

Be yourself! The interview is a prime opportunity to demonstrate all these qualities. Listen carefully to the questions asked, and offer considered careful and eloquent answers.

A positive attitude.

A positive attitude is contagious, and who doesn’t want a team of positive and optimistic people? A positive attitude adds untold benefits. Positive people tend to be unfazed by challenges and are eager to give things a go.

In an interview

Demonstrate your positive attitude by talking about a time when you’ve had to overcome a challenge at work or in a volunteer setting.  How did you approach it, and what was the outcome?  How did your approach affect the mindset of others around you?

Honesty.

Being honest means that you speak and act with truth and integrity. In the workplace, this is vital when considering the relationship between management and their teams.  With trust, comes the ability to communicate openly and be free to “fail”; to try new things without the fear of ridicule or criticism. Innovation cannot happen without trust.

In an interview

Demonstrate your honesty by discussing a time when you failed at work. Talk about how you managed it and what you learned.

Compassionate.

In the workplace, compassion and empathy for others are critical to the culture of an organisation.  It is not only an essential quality for a leader but for colleagues to have toward each other.

In an interview

Show your compassion for others by talking about any volunteer work you have done, or how you may have mentored a more junior colleague.

Independent.

Independent and self-reliant people are confident in their ability to complete tasks assigned to them without direct supervision from others. There will be times when you have to make decisions based on your own judgement. For managers, these may be big, business decisions or for others they may be small – but no less important. For example, how to prioritise your workload for example.

In an interview

Demonstrate your ability to work independently by talking about a time when you have had to make a judgement call without direct supervision or support. What evidence did you use to make your decision and what impact did it have?

A man takes part in a remote interview at his laptop. He has on a headset and is holding some notes.

In summary, employers require individuals with a diverse range of personal qualities to enhance its teams.  Technical skills are important, but perhaps more so, are the personal attributes you can bring to the table.

Professional certifications can always be earned, but many of the qualities featured on the list above are intrinsic and can’t be taught. That’s what makes them, and those with them, so highly prized by employers across the globe.

Let us help you find your next tech, digital, or data job. Reach out to us today!

About the author: I manage the recruitment for a range of digital roles for my clients on both a retained and contingency basis. I specialise in senior and confidential appointments, always giving a first class representation of a client’s employer brand.

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