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Top Ten Attributes Employers Look for a New Hire Heidi Luz, Resource & Information Specialist, Job Skills

About the Author

Heidi Luz is a Resource & Information Specialist with Job Skills - Employment and Business Programs and Supports. Heidi has an extensive background in working for post-secondary institutions providing academic, career guidance and job search support to students and clients. After nine years of working for a North American training corporation, Heidi decided to turn her passion for making a difference in her community into a professional career. In doing so, Heidi aims to assist clients by providing them the necessary job search tools and resources to attain their career related goals.

In a survey this Spring 77% of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said they were seeking candidates with soft skills and 16% of the respondents considered such qualities more crucial than hard skills. Soft skills refer to the way employees relate to and interact with other people.

Hard skills, on the other hand, are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify, such as a proficiency in a foreign language or computer programming. While hard skills might be developed on the job, employees should come to an organization already in possession of soft skills. When employees lack these basic soft skills, it can hurt the overall success of the organization.

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people skills are what open most of the doors to come. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.

No matter how many years you work, your employer(s) will want these attributes.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (, the top 10 characteristics that employers look for a new hire in order of importance are the following:

  1. Communication Skills
    The better you are able to communicate, both verbally and in writing, the more successful you will be. Having good communication skills saves time, reduces conflict, minimizes mistakes and facilitates change.

  2. Honesty and Integrity
    The time is NOW. Your ability to have people trust you will be a magnet for all sorts of opportunities. Donít ever make a mistake here.

  3. Teamwork Skills
    Your success will be based largely on your ability to work with others. Knowing how to get along with people and displaying a positive attitude are crucial for success.

  4. Interpersonal Skills
    Again, your ability to work well with people will be your key to success, so be open minded and flexible. Interpersonal skills are the life skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. People who have worked on developing strong interpersonal skills are usually more successful in both their professional and personal lives.

  5. Motivation/Initiative
    Taking positive action, especially if others are slow to do so, demonstrates leadership. Initiative has become increasingly important in today's workplace. Organizations want employees who can think on their feet and take action without waiting for someone to tell them what to do. It means going that extra mile.

  6. Strong Work Ethic
    Employers often cite a strong work ethic as the most desired characteristic in a new employee. Those with a strong work ethic place a positive value on doing a good job and describe work as having an intrinsic value of its own. Employers value a strong work ethic because of the economic benefits it provides to business.

  7. Analytical Skills
    Analytical skills are highly important in every aspect of every single job out there. If you donít understand the basic principles of the job, then it will make your job that much harder. It is your ability to logically approach a problem and arrive at valid solutions that is a great attribute in getting hired and advancing in your career.

  8. Flexibility and Adaptability
    By definition, flexibility is the capacity to bend, usually without breaking and adaptability is the ability to adjust oneself readily to different conditions. In a time of unrest and rapid change, these two skills are becoming increasingly valuable at work and home. Being flexible and adaptable increases your employability because employers know they can depend on you to be steady during turbulent times. It also demonstrates your ability to cope with new and changing responsibilities

  9. Computer Skills These
    skills reflect the basic desktop communication environment, using Microsoft Office as a minimum as well as functioning in a wireless environment.

  10. Self Confidence
    Your opinion will be respected more if you project confidence and that you really know what you are talking about.

Remember that these ten attributes are what employers say they want from new hires, and are exactly what they want from all their employees.

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