Top 9 Things Hiring Managers Look For in Candidates

Regardless of what position you may be angling for, often the attributes that recruiters and hiring managers are looking for are universal. It doesn’t matter if you’re in sales or programming; some traits are simply desired for any type of position.

According to the experts, here are the qualities that will make any candidate a lot more attractive in any position:


In this day and age when spinning the truth seems SOP and politicians don’t let facts get in the way of their rhetoric, honesty is still a valued trait in the workplace. So if you come across as dishonest, it doesn’t look good for you.

This means that you don’t tell lies, you don’t give misleading statements, and you don’t withhold crucial information. You have to be transparent. So if you’re asked about your previous employment, be open about the cause. You need to admit whether it was a culture mismatch, you had disagreements with your superior, or if you simply screwed up. While you still need to be respectful of your former boss, you should still admit that there was an issue.


Just as a car is ultimately worthless if it often breaks down or can’t be relied on to start, so can a worker can be considered useless if they’re not reliable. You need to demonstrate that your potential employers can depend on you, especially when you make promises. So be on time for any scheduled meeting, and be prepared by bringing any possible documentation that the interviewer may ask for.

Positive Outlook

If you’re cynical and grim, you’re hardly the ideal candidate (unless it’s for a grim job like corrections officer). In general, hiring managers like people with an upbeat attitude, a reasonable level of optimism, and a great smile. The people with positive energy are the ones who tend to look for solutions to problems, while the cynical are quicker to lose hope.


Future bosses like it if you can show that you can accomplish tasks even when you’re faced with unexpected hurdles. So if you’ve managed to complete a project a month ahead of schedule, don’t forget to mention if there were limitations on resources.


You can hint at your wide curiosity by mentioning your different interests within your industry in your cover letter and resume. Be interested in the company you’re also trying to join by asking smart questions about the goals of the company and the expected responsibilities of the job.


This may be incompatible with the trait of humility, but you can possess both. Having ambition is about wanting to improve yourself. So if you ask about career advancement opportunities then you’re telling your future boss that you’re considering making a long-term commitment with their company.

Ability to Learn

Interviewers like to ask questions about both your successes and your failures. They may also ask how you “learned the ropes” at your old job. More specifically, potential employers want to find out what you’ve learned from these challenges. They want to see that you’ve improved yourself by learning your lessons.


Employers don’t just want employees who do the bare minimum for the company and who need to be given specific orders each time. They’d rather have those who possess the energy and the hustle to go above and beyond what’s expected so that projects and tasks can be accomplished.


At the very least, you don’t want to appear arrogant. This can be difficult when you wish to speak of your talents and successes but emphasize your team successes. Talk about what “we” did, not what about “I” did.

Possess all these traits and you’re the ideal candidate for any job!

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