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Asked by Kaylie on September 13, 2017

Instead of focusing on educational/occupational background, what personal traits do employers look for in the "perfect candidate?"

Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on September 14, 2017

I think there are two traits that are always highly desired.  The first is a positive attitude. Having that "can-do" perspective on things builds your personal brand as someone who has skin in the game and really cares about the impact you're making. It also is extremely beneficial for team morale.  The second is being a good, investigative problem solver.  You should always ask questions and seek to understand first, followed by uncovering the challenges/problems and then work to solve them collaboratively.  This is an essential skill that can be used wherever you work.  It shows you can focus on a goal and work to achieve it with others. 

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Answered by Amy , Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on September 27, 2017

Hello!
There are many traits, or "soft skills" that employers value and seek out in potential candidates. Two important traits are being an effective communicator and being flexible. It very important to be able to clearly and concisely articulate your thoughts both verbally and nonverbally. Good communication not only helps to reduce confusion across departments and business units, but it also gets the job done more efficiently. Flexibility is similar to dealing with ambiguity. To an employer, that means that you can adapt to new situations and handle unforeseen events.

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Answered by Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics, on December 14, 2017

Aaaaah, the "perfect candidate." Where is that person? LOL By "perfect candidate," I hope you mean the candidate who fits that employer's specific environment. ;-)

But here are people skills that are valuable in just about every work environment:

  • Communication,
  • Problem solving (especially if you're creative),
  • Organization,
  • Collaboration (or team work), and
  • Leadership (helping colleagues with their performance, seeing a project/task through with others, getting colleagues to rally behind you, etc.).

I have yet to hear an employer say that these skills don't matter. Some employers may value some skills more than others but they don't mind having some combination of these.

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