What are the Most Important Qualities Hiring Managers Look for During an Interview?

what interviewers look for

Have you landed an interview recently? Congratulations! You should feel special because only 20% of people who apply for a job actually get called for an interview.

But landing an interview is only half the battle. You still have to impress your potential employer during the interview.

One way to make yourself stand out from the competition is by letting your interviewer know that you possess certain qualities above and beyond what’s stated in your resume.

12 Qualities Employers Want to See in Potential Employees 

During your interview, show the hiring manager that you possess these 12 highly sought after qualities.

1. Preparedness

How you show up for your interview is an indicator of how you’ll show up for the job, if hired. So be prepared. Bring copies of your winning resume, reference letters, and portfolio of work if needed. Have a pen and notebook handy. Also, silence your phone. There’s nothing worse than a piercing ringtone to interrupt the flow of an awesome interview.

2. Leadership

Many employers believe there will be a shortage of leadership skills in the near future. So, you can expect that your interviewer will want to see that you have leadership qualities, even if you’ve never been a leader of people.

Be prepared to talk about a time you’ve you led a successful project, or stepped up to lead a team initiative. And remember, you don’t have to limit your examples to work experiences. If you’re a leader in your community, church, or volunteer organization, then mention all of that as well.

3. Passion

what interviewers look for

Every employer wants someone who will be passionate and excited about their work. Share your enthusiasm about the role. Be energetic when speaking. Talk about what you are looking forward to most about the role and what excites you about the industry you’re in.

4. Curiosity

A recent survey from Deloitte revealed that 72% of employers consider curiosity a “very valued” trait among employees. That’s why you need to show your interviewer that you have a curious mind.

Asking smart questions indicates to your interviewer that you are curious and have a genuine interest in making an impact if hired. Try asking questions such as:

  • Why is this role needed at this time?
  • If hired, how will I know I’m succeeding after 3 months, 6 months, or a year?
  • What are the immediate challenges I’ll be facing in this role?
  • How does this role contribute to the company’s overall success?
  • Will I have a high degree of autonomy in this role?


5. Thoughtfulness

You may be tempted to answer questions quickly in an effort to impress your potential employer. That may, at times, make you appear to robotic or rehearsed. We recommend giving measured, thoughtful answers to questions to make yourself a more memorable candidate.

After you’ve been asked a question, don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts before starting your response. You can nod your head or break eye contact for a few seconds to indicate that you’re thinking. Then, clearly and confidently provide your answer.

If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer for clarification so you can give the best answer possible. This indicates that you are truly thinking about what you’re being asked and not just responding with what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

6. Honesty

what interviewers look for

Employers want you to be honest in interviews. By all means put your best foot forward and emphasize your best traits, but don’t ever lie or exaggerate your experience.

For example, let’s say you’re asked if you have experience with a certain software that you’ve never encountered. Your response can be something like this:

I’ve never used that particular software before, but I am adept at using similar types of software. I’m confident I can get up to speed quickly. In fact, I’ll look up some online tutorials later today to get familiar with the program.

7. Commitment

It takes a huge investment of time and money for a company to on-board a new employee. They want to know that they’re getting their money’s worth. Let the interviewer know that you’re planning to be with the company long term. Once you’re hired, however, be sure to not stay so long that it actually starts to hurt your career.

8. Motivation

Employers want to know that the person they hire is self-motivated. Tell your interviewer that you are ready to hit the ground running. Ask if there’s anything you can do to prepare yourself for the role should you get hired. Are there articles you should read? Is there company literature you should dive into?

9. Self-direction

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? We all dread that question, but having a solid answer will show your potential employer that you have career goals and a long-term vision. Let the interviewer know that you are ready to be an active participant in your career growth. Tell them that you see yourself growing with the company and providing more value as you develop professionally.

10. Problem-solving

what interviewers look for

Employers don’t want people who can only identify problems, they want people who can offer solutions as well. In fact, problem-solving is one of the top skills that employers want to see in potential new hires. Be ready to offer examples of your problem-solving abilities in interviews.

For example, you could talk about a time when you identified and removed an obstacle to workflow, helped resolve interpersonal conflicts, or delivered results when up against time or budget constraints.

11. Cooperativeness

Your interview is the ideal time to let the hiring manager know that you are a team player and will fit in with the company culture. Express your eagerness to work with others. Let the hiring manager know that you are ready to step outside your role when needed to achieve successful outcomes.

12. Potential

Think of your interview not as a question-and-answer session, but a collaborative discussion with the hiring manager. Demonstrate that you have the potential to be successful in the role. Speak to the interviewer as if you’re already doing the job. Talk about how you would use your skillset to help further the company’s goals.

Nail Your Next Interview 

Your resume is the first impression you’ll make with a potential employer and will determine if you’ll be invited in for an interview or not. Don’t try to do it yourself and don’t even think about using ChatGPT.

Contact Empire Resume for an attention-grabbing resume that will have employers excited to talk to you. And don’t forget to check out our blog for advice on interviewing, resumes, job searching and more.

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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