Posted March 14, 2014 by

8 Critical Characteristics Interviewers Are Looking for in Applicants

Job candidate talking to an interviewer

Job candidate talking to an interviewer. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When you are applying for a job and submitting a resume it is helpful to know what hiring managers and interviewers are looking for. If you have that information, you can make sure that those characteristics show up on your resume and address them in an interview. Here are eight of the most critical characteristics that interviewers are looking for.

Critical Characteristics

1.   Honesty and Integrity: This is one of the most important characteristics most interviewers are looking for even though it is hard to judge at this phase. There are personality tests that the employer can give in an attempt to assess this. These tests usually have a question or two that ask you to respond to situations in which you have an honest option and a dishonest option and an ambiguous option. The interviewer is hoping you choose only the honest answer.

Some companies will do background checks to see if there is any reason not to trust you.

Avoid making any dishonest statements in the interview including exaggeration. Be as straightforward and direct as you can possibly be.

2.   Communications

Everyone wants an employee with strong communication skills. Like the honesty and integrity characteristic this is hard to get on a resume, however unlike honesty and integrity, it is not hard to demonstrate in an interview. Listen well to the interviewer, their questions and what they do not say. What is being asked between the lines?

In almost every line of work and at every level communication is an essential skill. Management has to know how to communicate with managers and staff. Managers have to know how to communicate with staff and staff has to know how to communicate with customers.

How you interview is critical to expressing your communication skills. Can you make yourself easily understood? Do you make eye contact throughout the interview? Can you answer the questions appropriately and professionally?

3.   Pride and Work Ethic

Another characteristic that you cannot show on a resume and it is hard to demonstrate it in an interview. You can and should say yes to whatever is asked in the interview and you should say you have a strong work ethic and take pride in how you do your job. But you can’t prove it.

Some things you can share that would demonstrate pride and a work ethic include: Show that you have worked a second job at any time; show work related activities during down time; any awards like top salesman or best manager; what is attendance record? Lack of concern about number of hours required; Career goals.

4.   Professional Appearance

This is an easy one to be judged by the interviewer and to be met by the interviewee. No matter what type of position you are applying for, it is important that you dress professionally. Do not wear jeans, t-shirt, tank top, shorts. Men should at the very least wear a business shirt and a tie. Women should wear presentable work clothes if not a business suit.

5.   Emotional Maturity

Like most of these characteristics this is easier to see over time than in an interview or on a resume. Some ways to judge this are the way the candidate is able to deal with the questions, how they relate to the interviewer, and other intangibles. How the candidate follows-up after the interview is another indication.

6.   Loyalty

One indication of loyalty is whether the candidate has changed jobs very often. Someone who changes every year shows no loyalty where someone with 10 years or even as few as 3 years displays some loyalty to the company. Expressing a belief in or excitement about the interviewer’s company mission and guiding principles could show loyalty.

7.   Reliability and Diligence

Here your attendance record and no gaps in employment are good indications, along with not job hopping. Does the candidate show up on time for the interview? Does the candidate send a thank you or any other follow-up information? References might be helpful in this regard as well.

8.   Sense of Humor

A sense of humor goes a long way in stressful work environments and is highly valued by most companies.  The interviewer is not looking for a comic. In fact that would turn the interviewer off, but rather an authentic sense of humor.

There are many traits, experience and characteristics that an interviewer looks for. Finding the best way to demonstrate these specific traits in the interview, would be a major plus for any candidate.

Author Bio –

Gerald Buck is the editor of, a website offering free downloadable job application forms, career information, job interview and resume tips, as well as much more. He can be reached via email at

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