Good Personality Traits Can Get You Hired

April 15, 2014 ( – Employers aren't just looking for learned skills to perform job functions when scanning resumes, they are looking for clues about certain personality traits.

More than two-thirds (77%) of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said “soft skills,” such as a positive attitude, of a prospective employee are just as vital as “hard skills,” those an employee learned to perform a specific job function and can be measured, such as operating a computer program. Sixteen percent of employers say soft skills are actually more important than hard skills when evaluating candidates for a job.

The top soft skills employers say they look for include:

  • Candidate has a strong work ethic (73%);
  • Candidate is dependable (73%);
  • Candidate has a positive attitude (72%);
  • Candidate is self-motivated (66%);
  • Candidate is team-oriented (60%);
  • Candidate is organized and can manage multiple priorities (57%);
  • Candidate works well under pressure (57%);
  • Candidate is an effective communicator (56%);
  • Candidate is flexible (51%); and
  • Candidate is confident (46%).

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, based in Chicago, recommends prospective employees not just list soft skills on their resumes, but also provide tangible examples. “Saying you’re a team player is not enough,” she says. “You need to provide an example of how you worked on a team to accomplish a particular goal. Try to make the intangible tangible.”

In fact, “team player” was one of a number of resume catch phrases reported as a “turn-offs” by employers in a separate survey (see “Same Old Resume Catch Phrases Turn Employers Off”).

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, among 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government). The survey was carried out between February 10 and March 4.