Traits Hiring Managers expect from job seekers

| 6 min read

It is an undeniable fact that the desire of every young person, after years of studies is to have their dream job; to enable them face the future with confidence and some level of certainty. Notwithstanding this dream and desire, the truth and reality on the ground has always been different. You will agree with me that the search for a job in recent times could be likened to looking for needle in a haystack.

In our current dispensation, there are fewer job openings relative to the vast number of job seekers in the country; many of whom are graduates from the various universities. This situation has further been compounded by the mismatch between the supply (skills) and the demand in the labour market.

A conversation with Human Resource Managers and Recruiters, has always revealed that the skills and experience that they require have oftentimes been quite different from what job seekers possess. These in-demand soft skills have become very crucial in the light of how competitive the market place has become and companies want the creme de la creme of employees when filling roles.

While hiring managers and recruiters don’t expect job seekers to possess 100% of these traits when staffing, the closer you are to 99%, the better your odds become at receiving a job offer.

So apart from what is often learnt from the class room, what skill sets do Hiring Managers and Recruiters look out for? Outlined below are some of the salient traits.

Leadership Oriented

Most recruiting managers look out for job seekers who have a future with their organization. Most facets of leadership are learned, and thus the most efficient organizations want to mould progressive thinkers rather than have stagnant employees. They want and provide the enabling environment for each individual worker in their ranks to have room to progress and, in time, be able to formulate their own winning teams.


Ambitious employees are those who continually strive towards a better way of doing things. They embrace challenges and are able to overcome hurdles. These people are never satisfied with the status quo and work towards better solutions, consequently making an organization more competitive.

Ability to adapt

When staffing, recruiters and HR Managers often seek for job applicants who can change with the business environment. While many people love familiarity and patterns, most companies see job seekers who are ready to change things as and when it is a necessary for business growth.


Most successful companies flourish because of innovation and a consistent improvement on current internal processes. These companies are continually looking for prospects who cannot only work autonomously, but who also can formulate fresh ways to complete old tasks.

Team Oriented

Often for HR mangers, hiring people who “buy into the system” is of the utmost importance when recruiting. This is because they believe these people can work effectively in situations that require the cooperation of others, clearly fit into the confines of the firm’s corporate culture and bring a dynamism to meetings that welcomes debate and, ultimately, solves problems.


Hiring Managers in recent times are overworked and have little time to oversee day-to-day activities. Thus recruiting employees who can get the job done without being micromanaged is a significant priority these days. Competent job seekers can develop a return on investment for their employer while requiring minimal hand holding from the leadership team.


Resilient applicants are among the most sought-after by hiring managers. These are the individuals who view their problems in an optimistic manner and don’t view hurdles as insurmountable, pervasive or their fault. They can fail and, after a brief demoralization, get right back on their feet and continue producing for the company.


Highly successful companies believe in differentiating their top performers from the average employees. These firms recognize the worth of making clear distinctions regarding the output individuals produce when compared to that of their peers. They understand that the people who fare best in the office are those who want to succeed and who are consistently formulating creative, compelling and logical methods to beat competing firms.


Employers want to hire job seekers who always escalate their goals, yet still enjoy the journey along the way. They understand that money, power, status and possessions mean little without true passion for their job and, when recruiting, seek people who feel the same way.


Although all employees are driven by monetary gain, the most sought-after people are the ones who enjoy the work as much as they do the reward. Without passion, employees will utilize only a fraction of their intelligence, achieve only a percentage of what they’re able to and will inevitably burn out. Moreover, they will fail to positively impact both their lives and the lives of their co-workers, clients, managers and the firm’s leadership team.


Without integrity, the other 14 qualities listed here mean nothing. To be successful, companies need to have a culture that thrives on honesty and doing what is best for both the client and shareholders. Once trust is broken within a corporation, the rest of the positive aspects slowly unravel.


Companies love hiring employees who can make tough decisions. These are the people who can quickly and efficiently analyse the options, potential outcomes and pitfalls of a situation and make a firm call. They are the opposite of “wishy-washy.” HR managers know that indecisiveness can keep organizations from reaching a desired output and thus actively recruit what former GE CEO Jack Welch refers to as “edge.”

In addition to the above listed traits, qualities such as intelligence, vision, confidence, knowledge and persuasiveness are also vital qualities employers seek out for in job seekers.

Notwithstanding all these traits, HR managers and recruiters have always maintained that they also expect job seekers to know how to write a good Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Cover Letter.

So in addition to developing the soft skills which will make you competitive in the job market, don’t forget to learn or polish your CV and Cover letter writing skills.


Jide Otoki