Skip to Content

10 Traits That Every Hiring Manager Wants

If you’ve read many of my other posts, you know that the point I stress the most is for you to always present your skills, experience, and accomplishments in a way that directly relates to each job for which you interview.

This applies to your specific and unique characteristics. Beyond these, there are also more general traits that Hiring Managers consider desirable in every applicant they interview.

If you possess some, hopefully many, of these traits and can demonstrate them during your interview, you’ll have an edge over many other candidates. Some Hiring Managers will give just as much weight to these general traits as they do to experience or technical skills.

When you check out the list below, you’ll notice that many of these more general traits fall into the category of ‘soft skills’. The biggest thing about soft skills is that you pretty much either have them or you don’t.

Yes, they can be faked to an extent. They can also be developed to an extent with experience and training if – and this is a big if – you already have at least some aptitude and the capacity for change.

These traits are so highly regarded by many Hiring Managers that you should find a way to express them in some way during your interview. The more you can project them, the better your chances for getting a second or even a final interview.

Below is the list of what I consider to be the 10 traits that Hiring Managers look for the most. They are in no particular order because different Hiring Managers will rank them in their own order of importance.

For me, they are pretty much of equal importance. The more of these you can demonstrate to me in your interview, the better your chances of making it to the next round. If you want to know what kind of employees hiring managers look for, this list will tell you.

10 Traits All Hiring Managers Want In Applicants

  • Good writing skills
  • Good speaking skills; able to express yourself articulately
  • Ability to organize well
  • Good public speaking skills
  • Ability to successfully train others
  • Good leadership skills
  • Demonstrated loyalty to an employer
  • High level of initiative
  • A high degree of curiosity
  • Excellent work ethic

While some of these traits can be easily demonstrated, others are much more challenging.

For example, a well-written resume and cover letter go a long way towards showing you have good writing skills. How you perform in the interview can show whether or not you possess good speaking skills. An employment record showing long terms at your prior jobs can indicate company loyalty.

Some of the other more ‘soft’ skills, such as curiosity and work ethic, are more difficult to demonstrate. You’ll need to look for ways to bring these out in a convincing manner to the Hiring Manager.

For example, one way you can do this is by referring to some of your accomplishments (you’ve prepared examples of these in advance, right?). Let’s assume you’re a Project Manager and one of your accomplishments from a prior job was you took it upon yourself to obtain an additional project management certification. You then applied that knowledge to improve your performance.

This demonstrates both initiative and work ethic, two traits that all Hiring Managers like to see.

In addition, let’s assume you also created and conducted some training classes for more junior employees. Try to work that into one of your interview answers. If the training topics are related to some of the job requirements of the position for which you’re interviewing, that’s ideal but not critical. Any training experience is good.

Always make it a point to mention any experience you have in leading a team, even if it was only temporary. For example, you may have been the lead for some type of operational or technical project. Assuming the project was successful, be sure to quote facts or statistics that show that.

This shows you have leadership potential, even if you’re never held the title of manager or supervisor. Leadership experience is high on the list of desirable traits for most Hiring Managers because it makes their job easier.

The takeaway from all this is for you to thoroughly go through your resume and look for experience and accomplishments that you can use as examples of these 10 desirable traits. The more you can identify yourself with them, the better you will appear to the Hiring Manager.

Visit my extensive Q&A Section