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8 Attributes Employers Look for in Job Applicants

Updated on Jan 22, 2018 4247 views
8 Attributes Employers Look for in Job Applicants

With the constant rise in the number of people seeking for employment on a daily basis in Nigeria, it becomes increasingly difficult for many job-seekers to secure a choice job. However, a few job-seekers do take exceptions to this. This is because if you are good and have the core attributes that employers are seeking for, it becomes easy to be identified among the pool of applicants, thereby distinguishing yourself.

Virtually all employers want to see the results for their resources. If they are to spend so much on you in trainings and remuneration, then you definitely must prove to them that you are worth investing on. And the opportunities you have to show them that, is by displaying the following attributes to be discussed below during the application stages – on your CVs, Cover Letters, Assessment Centers, Interviews and other platforms you have to interact with the firm before an offer.

These skills and qualities are required by employers for all the applicants for employment, regardless of the position they are hiring for. Below, we have carefully selected the eight of these attributes employers are looking out for during job application stages;


1. Good Communication

The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and other staff is essential, no matter what industry you work in. Workers in the digital age must know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media. Good communication skills will help get hired, land promotions, and be a success throughout your career.

In getting a job, every employer or recruiter out there wants a candidate who can effectively articulate his or her intents to others in an understandable manner. Imagine two candidates for an interview. One was able to answer the questions asked with direct answers and points to buttress it. The other probably knows the answers too but cannot effectively communicate them to the interviewer. Who do you think will be taken? Your guess is probably as good as mine. Even if the one who could not effectively buttress his or her point well is more knowledgeable, tendencies are that the one who explained it better would be taken.

Some of the areas of communication to develop that employers are looking for are;

  • Ability to explain to others
  • Ability to listen to others
  • Ability to give feedback
  • Friendliness and
  • Profession Non-Verbal Cues (Such as Eye Contacts, Body Language and etc.)


2. Leadership Ability

Most job positions applied for in various firms are not permanent in nature. It’s either you are going to be promoted in the future to a higher level where you become responsible for people, or your job role gets enriched or enlarged. Whatever the case may be, tendencies are that you will have to lead others – at least one person.

Most organizations today even have “leadership” as part of their core values or principles they uphold. In that regards, your CV is expected to show leadership positions you have held, your cover letter should display leadership with your words, and your interviews should confirm to the interviewers that you have the ability to lead others.

It’s also important to state that employers desire candidates that they can train for executive or management positions. You don’t have to be in that position before you exhibit it, exhibit them now then you get there.


3. Interpersonal Skill

Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are related to the way individuals communicate and interact with people in the workplace. When employers are hiring, interpersonal skills are one of the top criteria used to evaluate candidates. No employer wants a candidate who will put a deadlock in a team. So when they are employing, they make sure they take note of the candidate ability to inter-relate with other candidates, the panel of interviewers or the single interviewer.


4. Ability to Work in a Team

Virtually all the companies you have applied for or intend applying to are made up of various sub-units, otherwise called teams. Some firms specifically chose candidates for offers because of this attribute. This is because the attitude of one group member can either make or mar a full team’s effort.

When looking for a job, take out time to sprinkle your teamwork abilities in your CV and cover letter. Explain how you have been able to work in previous teams successfully in the past. Most interviewers can also focus on this, and ask you real life examples of when you previously worked in a team.


5. Ability to Independently Take Initiative

Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Inc. once said “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people to tell us what to do”. This quote holds so true in for all employers. They want people who will be able to take self-initiative, work with little or no supervision and able to act or make decisions on behalf of their boss. Candidates who fail to display this attribute during any of the application stages is considered by some employers as unemployable.


6. Problem-Solving Skill

In nearly every sector, problem solving is one of the key skills that employers seek for in job applicants. It is hard to find an administrative, managerial, or professional position that doesn't require problem solving skills of some kind. Your job is made up of various tasks and those tasks comprises of so many problems waiting for you to provide solutions. That’s why this attribute becomes key in employers lists.

It’s also important to state that during interviews, you should be ready to describe situations you encountered in previous roles, the processes you followed to address the problems, the skills you applied, and the results of your actions. Potential employers are eager to hear a coherent narrative of the specific ways you have used your problem solving abilities. It should be practicalized not just a theory. 


7. Confidence

Fact! You will most likely not succeed in any interview you are not able to display a certain degree of confidence. Confidence in yourself and the things you say. Employers just like confident people. It shows you know what you are saying even if sometimes you might actually not. For example, you could be asked a question in an interview that you honestly know the answer. If you cannot confidently express the answer in a way that shows high level of confidence, your interviewer may take it as a guess. If you honestly do not know and you answer the little you do in a more confident manner, you might probably be taken more seriously.

Conclusion is, employers like confidence.



8. Technical Skill

When we talk about technical skill, we refer to the business line specifics of a particular profession. No matter how unfamiliar you may be to the job position you are applying for, you should have at least a little knowledge about what the position is about. That’s the technical aspect of the job. No matter how much of the other attributes that you may possess, the technical skill aspect must not be neglected.

For example, if you are applying for the position of a web developer and you have leadership abilities, team work spirit, confidence and all that but without knowledge of basic HTML, it’s tantamount to almost nothing. Employers also desire candidates with at least basic knowledge of what the job position or profession is about.



The glory of possessing some or all of these skills is in the ability to showcase and express them to your employer in any of the stages of application. This includes having them engraved in you CV and sprinkled in your cover letter. You should also display them practically whenever you have the chances to in assessment centers or during an interview. Remember, every employer needs results for their resources spent. Take actions today and land yourself in that dream job.

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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