In today’s highly competitive job market, professional success and industry experience are only part of what most recruiters and hiring managers wants to see. The unique personal traits that make you the right fit for the employer are increasingly becoming priorities—in spite of how difficult they are to identify on the day of a job interview. So, which traits will give you an edge over other interview candidates?

The strategist

Every business needs a strategic thinker. Every unique job role will demand that you apply strategic thinking to how you approach your tasks. It’s therefore critical for you to demonstrate that you have not only a vision for the future (no matter how short or long term it is), but also a plan on how to get there. For example if you had an interview for a sales manager role and the human resource manager asked you a question like,

“What are the key factors you take into consideration when building an action plan to increase sales?”

Candidates who approach this question superficially and mention the first answer that comes in mind, might appear not be prepared to think strategically when business problems occur; they come off as the type of people who don’t account for most variables or consequences when making choices.

A strategist’s response to this type of question would be something like, “I would consider factors like the company’s current client average sales cycle & lifetime value of each client; in the long-term, we would need to survive on monthly recurrent revenues while in the short term, we would do with high or mid-value traction on one-off sales but my priority would be on developing aggressive sales programs for monthly recurrent revenue contracts”

The decider

Majority of business leaders do not want to be involved in every minor decision. When it’s time to hire people, these leaders will be on the lookout for employees who can use their own judgment and take decisive action on small day to day matters.

A candidate who is not afraid to “pull the trigger” will always be desirable and your ability to act and take responsibility for the outcome is essential for anyone hoping to move into a management or leadership position in any company.

The independent thinker

Some employees go along with everything the boss says, without question and of course some “bosses” especially those who are egoistic would prefer it to stay that way. However, when it’s time for the company to grow or make big decisions, ambitious leaders need team members who will challenge the status quo if doing so would be better for the business. They want people who will not be afraid to stand up for what they think is right for the company.

The team player

Your ability to work pleasantly and effectively with others is a key part of any job in the world. Most jobs require some kind of collaboration, whether with a team of other employees, a group of clients or outside contractors. Employers in the new, competitive job market place higher value on candidates who are flexible enough to get along well with a variety of personalities and work styles.

So, during your next interview, remember to emphasize examples of your accomplishments while working on a team


Competitive Companies hold occasional team building engagements to enforce basic workplace values like team work because they are essential for all employees irrespective of skill or experience levels

The perfect cultural fit

Company culture refers to the personality of a company. Most companies in the modern age even have company culture manuals or handbooks which include a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals. Every company’s culture is slightly different, and each is founded on different core values. What matters most to employers is that the person they hire embodies those values in their everyday lives.

Different roles in the company may obviously call for different specifics, but all employees ultimately share those core motivations.

For the job seeker, it’s also important for you to position yourself for a job which also aligns with your personal preferences. This is important because it will affect how happy and driven you are on the job for example if you value integrity, you may not want to work for a company that accommodates unethical business practices like paying bribes and cut-backs to close deals, your conscience will be at war with your daily actions and you will never be happy.

There you have it! The 5 most sought after candidate traits in today’s job market. Now, as you submit your CV or apply for your next job, keep in mind that for the employer, knowing that someone has the experience and skills to be successful in a job is paramount, but when two candidates have similar capabilities, often these unique traits are why one person gets hired over another.

Fact is, they are difficult to demonstrate on a resume, so it’s essential to highlight them during the interview by sharing stories that demonstrate how you performed during an experience is extremely important. Provide a concrete instance of when you demonstrated these traits.

Which of these traits do you have? How do you present them in your resume and at job interviews? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below;