Qualities Employers are Looking for in a Good Candidate

Beyond the technical skill and expertise that employers are advertising for, most job listings include personal qualities and traits that they are looking for in a good job candidate. These “soft skills” are often more highly desired than “hard” skills, but it can be difficult to sell them if you don’t know how to showcase them.

Let’s look at some of the top qualities employers are looking for in a good job candidate and how you can highlight them during the hiring process.

Top Employability Skills

Hiring managers and recruiters know that education and experience for a job are important, but a candidate’s ability to be an effective employee is just as essential. Core qualities and traits that demonstrate how an employee will handle conflict and frustration, as well as their abilities to communicate and work with others are all important factors that determine whether a candidate is suited to the job position.

Some of the most desirable of these soft skills include:

  • Communication Skills: writing, speaking, listening, negotiating
  • Leadership Skills: active listening, patience, dependability, giving and receiving feedback
  • Teamwork Skills: collaboration, communication, honesty, responsibility
  • Interpersonal Skills: empathy, flexibility, motivation
  • Self-management Skills: management, organization, self-motivation
  • Organizational Skills: critical thinking, attention to detail, conflict management, planning
  • Problem-solving Skills: decision-making, communication, research skills, diplomacy

A strong work ethic, open-mindedness, and adaptability are also valuable skills employers look for.

How to Showcase Your Soft Skills

You can shine a spotlight on your top employability skills in several ways, but the most important places to focus an employer’s attention are on your cover letter, resume, and during your interview.

Cover Letter

Mention two or three of your most relevant and marketable skills in your cover letter. Include them in the body of the letter and relate them to the job you’re applying for. Include an example for each one that describes how you used these skills in previous job experience.


This is the best place to highlight your soft skills. You can list them in a skills section and include a brief description or provide examples of how you used these skills during past employment. You could also incorporate them into your experience section.


The interview is another great time to discuss your soft skills and provide examples of how you used those skills. Try to mention skills you possess that were specifically mentioned in the job advertisement.

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