What Are the Top Skills and Values Employers Seek?

John Krautzel
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Don't neglect developing your soft skills, including your social abilities, values, character traits and emotional intelligence, when preparing for job interviews. In a 2016 TimesJobs survey, 60 percent of hiring managers weighted soft skills as essential when making hiring decisions, and 70 percent felt it was difficult to find candidates with great soft skills. Work on the following skills and values to improve your chances of getting hired.

Positive Attitude

No one wants to work with a naysayer, so bring your most positive attitude with you when you head to your next interview. Prepare by reflecting on your passion for the position and the company, and then let that enthusiasm shine as you walk through the door. Share a friendly smile with anyone you come across and avoid making complaints.

Professional Confidence

When you are sure of yourself and your ability to do your work, it shows. This is not the same as arrogance. A professional speaks assuredly as an equal with interviewers. When presented with a problem to solve or a sample task, approach it eagerly, asking any necessary questions without hesitation. Don't be afraid to assert yourself into the conversation, but be sure to be a good listener too, showing politeness and your best social skills.


Always be honest when composing your resume and cover letter, and while answering interview questions. Any hint at dishonesty reduces the hiring manager's trust in you. Show your promptness and share examples of your strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. Do you set goals and have the discipline to meet them?


Flexibility and adaptability are essential soft skills in today's ever-changing workplace. Avoid any appearance of being rigid during your interview process. Relax, and handle changes in location or minor delays with aplomb. Provide examples of times when you have successfully handled changing circumstances in the past. Are you patient when problems outside your control delay projects? Do you move smoothly between different types of tasks and work environments?

Drive to Learn

A passion to learn is another important soft skill as technological advancements keep changing the way things are done in nearly every industry. Show your enthusiasm for staying up to date in your field. Keep learning through online sources, industry publications and coursework when applicable. Ask about learning opportunities in the position for which you are applying.


Creativity is the ability to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. Employers want workers who develop creative solutions to problems they encounter in the workplace. This includes knowing how to work with others to heighten creative possibilities. Grow your creativity by questioning assumptions and using your imagination to come up with novel ways of doing things.

Although most job seekers focus primarily on meeting all the listed job requirements, soft skills and personal moral values are the extras that often put one qualified candidate ahead of another. Be sure to show your soft skills during job interviews by staying positive, communicating professionally and being flexible. Share stories about your personal creativity and willingness to learn to put your best foot forward and boost your chances of landing the position.

Photo courtesy of studio tdes at Flickr.com


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Robert Kukis thanks for your comment. It's so true and it's great advice.

  • Robert Kukis
    Robert Kukis

    Thank you for the soft skills information. Also as a friend " Charlie " who works at the Norwood Employment and Training Dept., a Massachusetts Career Center, told me; for a company to hire you, they must like you. You are invited to interview because the company already feels that you meet the job requirements, now they must actually like you before hiring. I will never forget that advice that Charlie gave me.

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