What Are Employers Looking for? (With Skills to Develop)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Besides training and formal education, employers often look for specific skills that may benefit the company. Try mentioning information that is not in your resume to help an interviewer get an overall idea of your job performance. As employers look for people with fresh ideas and perspectives, finding your unique skills can help you attract attention. In this article, we discuss the 12 qualities employers look for, learn how to develop them and offer suggestions on how to demonstrate them in interviews.

What are employers looking for in employees?

It may be helpful to your career progression to answer the question 'what are employers looking for?' What employers are looking for in a candidate may depend on the industry you wish to enter or currently operate. A few impressive qualities may improve your employability. You may develop your abilities by focusing on one skill at a time. Consider listing ways you can show these attributes during interviews and in the position. Here are skills that may appeal to an employer:

Communication skills

Employers often value team members with practical communication skills. It may be beneficial to practise great verbal, physical and written communication skills by socialising online and face-to-face regularly.

Interviewers often ask questions about your communication-style to evaluate whether you could represent the company positively. They may also want to determine whether you can provide constructive feedback and state your opinions concisely. When communicating with your interviewer and peers, ensure to listen carefully, comprehend the information, offer feedback and engage in an interesting conversation. This may help you create an excellent impression and maintain effective communication. When corresponding with email or other written communication channels, proofread your message to ensure it's concise and straight-to-the-point.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Honesty

Honesty is one of the most crucial traits an employee can possess. Honesty is valuable for many companies, as it helps maintain a cohesive and healthy work environment. Try to improve your honesty by taking accountability for your actions and staying committed. You can do this by completing projects on time, accepting honest feedback and being punctual.

To show honesty during interviews, try being authentic about your areas of improvement and mention what you're doing to become a better version of yourself. Try to remain honest in–and after–your interview to help you maintain their trust.

Teamwork

Teamwork is an essential skill that many employers look for in a new team member. Excellent team working skills can help you share information, delegate tasks and manage projects simultaneously. You can enhance your teamwork skills by updating your team on the status of your projects and encouraging them to take part in team brainstorming sessions.

Interviewers may ask questions relating to teamwork to determine whether you can collaborate with others effectively. During interviews, you can show teamwork skills by referring to previous occasions where you exhibited this skill and the results your actions yielded. For example, you may mention a system you created at your previous job to cut down bureaucratic communication inefficiencies, which led to an increase in employee productivity.

Confidence

Having self-confidence is a quality that most employers value. This personality trait also shows that you understand what makes you a valuable asset to the company. Confident employees show confidence by engaging in conversations, being friendly and providing a clear idea of their abilities. You may improve your confidence by being well prepared for interviews and meetings.

Hiring managers often ask questions to discover whether you can become a good role model and motivator to others. Try to have a firm idea of the purpose behind your interview and have information ready before communicating with your interviewer. You can also show confidence through the outfit you wear for an interview. Aim to dress professionally in smart clothing or match the company's culture.

Work ethic

Highly disciplined employees often have a strong work ethic and are on target with goals. Interviews may ask questions to find out whether you can handle responsibilities effectively. Try to refine your work ethic by eliminating distractions and showing key characteristics like integrity and honesty. Your employer may ask you about your working procedures to understand your work ethic.

Try to show your work ethic by answering behavioural interview questions and mentioning what would you do in particular circumstances. Communicating your response clearly and staying genuine throughout the interview may help you show this skill to your employer.

Time management

Managing time is an essential skill that most employers appreciate, especially one's working in agencies. Time management related questions can be common for interviewers to ask to discern whether you can meet deadlines. Staying efficient with your time means streamlining your daily operations, prioritising your tasks and having excellent multitasking skills. Employees with exceptional time management skills remain highly productive at work and offer more value in less time.

You may improve your time management skills by scheduling your days in advance, setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goals and giving yourself breaks to boost energy. Try to show your time management skills by talking about the occasions where you completed multiple projects simultaneously, provide steps on how you handled it and state the result of your actions.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

Digital literacy

The demand for digital literature is present, even for careers that go beyond the technology industries. Most employers prefer team members who are comfortable sending emails, researching online, conducting online meetings, understanding industry-specific software and doing basic data entry for the job.

You may try to improve your digital literacy by staying aware of the latest industry trends, enrolling in courses and reading program manuals to understand the fundamentals of any software. You can display your digital literacy skills in an interview by mentioning specific names of the software you've mastered and how you utilise it. Try to refer to software specified in the jobs requirements to show you're equipped for the role.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills help you effectively assess a situation and suggest solutions to move ahead. Employers often ask questions that assess your problem-solving skills and see the way you offer innovative ideas. Aim to discuss a challenge you faced in a previous role and how you overcame it.

You may enhance your critical thinking skills by examining your professional career's major successes and identifying areas you could improve. You can do this by asking yourself strategic questions like 'What changes have I made in the last year that led to this success?' or 'Am I doing my best at this job.'

Initiative

Employers often look for candidates with a fresh point of view to improve their company. Employees who take initiative are self-motivated and do what they can to improve the company's current position. You can improve this skill by signing up to industry newsletters, reading newspapers, attending summits and researching the industry.

You may show your ability to take initiative by mentioning ideas you generated for your last employers, how you came up with them and your success rate. During interviews, you can show innovative skills by using the STAR (situation, task, action and result) method to help you structure your story effectively.

Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

Flexibility

You may appeal to an employer if you're open to any kind of work. Employers may ask questions about this skill to determine whether your work style is adaptable. A great way to enhance your flexibility skills is by understanding a situation from various viewpoints. You can improve your flexibility by immediately tackling issues that arise and being a reliable team member. For example, if you're launching a product, consider how people with different segments would react to the product and tailor your efforts towards the highest performing segment.

It's also a good idea to respond positively to your employer if they ask you to work urgently. Exceeding expectations may lead to bonuses or improved recognition in the future. Try to show flexibility in your interviews by talking about your availability options, great research skills and moments where you addressed conflicts with a positive attitude.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills complement great communication and teamwork. These skills showcase your ability to interact with people from different backgrounds. You can develop interpersonal skills and cultivate trust among the surrounding people by showing interest in others, practising empathy and acknowledging new ideas.

Employers may ask you questions about your interpersonal skills so they can assess your attitude towards your peers and customers. You may show interpersonal skills by responding positively to behavioural interview questions. For example, your interviewer may ask how to manage conflict. In your response, you may display your ability to solve problems and connect with others fairly.

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