What character traits of applicants employers pay special attention to?

For employers there exist few things are more frustrating than a talented employee who is unreliable and not consistently good. His successes are like flashes of lightning – impressive, but rare. The brighter the flash, the darker the calm between them. Levi King, CEO and founder of Nav, believes that constant excellence is better than random genius. It is not achieved quickly, but comes as a result of patient effort and the acquisition of a variety of skills. So what personality traits do employers seek in applicants?

Many HR agents say that employers benefit much more from a reliable employee that shows stable result instead of a talented yet unorganized and unreliable employee who can fail in an important situation. This way, employers and HR agents look for stable and reliable workers. And they found a list of character traits that describe reliable performers. Employees who are reliable and able to consistently achieve success usually have these six qualities:

  1. Discipline in everything

There are people who hang out all night, and the next day they return to the office and seem to work productively for at least a few hours. But, in the end, this behavior goes badly for them. Bad habits and personal weaknesses eventually begin to negatively affect work.

It is difficult to imagine a person who completely loses control of himself at home, and then, as if on command, turns off this function, returning to the office. This is a fundamental contradiction that prevents a person from staying stable and professional. Serious addiction to idleness, TV, video games or thoughtless internet surfing in your spare time can hurt your productivity. Discipline is not a working quality, but a character trait. A disciplined person is always disciplined both at home and at work.

a reliable employee

  1. Ability to limit yourself

The most powerful people are masters at doing what they don’t want to do. It takes firmness and courage, because you have to deprive yourself of what you want in order to do what is necessary. This habit of a person has a positive effect on all areas of life, including career. This is one of the most important character traits needed by employers.

The American poet Henry Longfellow wrote “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” Those who prefer to work instead of lying in a warm and cozy bed have almost limitless potential.

  1. Personal development and learning

If you really want to develop, you should devote a significant portion of your free time to reading. Read books about business, history, philosophy, science – everything that can inspire new ideas, open unexpected perspectives and significantly expand the horizons, understanding and knowledge of the world as a whole.

New knowledge can lead to moments of insight that sometimes completely change the way of thinking and attitudes. But usually learning is a slow process, and a person becomes smarter without realizing it. This practice shapes the personality, who you are, how you think, how you interact with others, and allows you to gradually grow both at work and outside of it.

reliable employee

  1. Continuous improvement

Employees who are truly exceptional have at least one thing in common: they are obsessed with striving for the best. It’s as natural for them as breathing.

They are obsessed with getting better and better in their role. It’s about making their department better. And most importantly, their company do better and better.

Constant progress is the key to staying on top. You’ve probably heard the quote from Andy Grove, former CEO and co-founder of Intel, that “only the paranoid survive.” One must believe in these words to such an extent that they become a mantra. You can behave as if a provocateur agent entered the company with the intention of destroying it.

The only way to defeat this mysterious enemy is to control your behavior. You can’t change what you don’t know, but you can focus on what you know.

  1. Development of others

However, it is not enough to focus only on yourself and your aspirations for self-improvement. Genuine achievers develop those around them.

People who feel threatened when an ambitious colleague takes on a new project or responsibility are worse than just a weak employee. Because they drain the organization and their zero-emission prospects are bleak and ultimately destructive.

personal traits

The company doesn’t have to be like a pizza with a limited number of slices, where everyone greedily fights for their slice. A colleague’s success is not the equivalent of another missing piece that will force you to struggle even harder to get your share. Rather, the success of the other increases the size of the pizza itself, which improves the prospects for the team as a whole.

An ambitious and talented colleague should motivate you, not frighten you. Develop yourself by helping others develop.

  1. Emotional stability

If you work hard on the qualities listed above, then this trait will appear on its own. There is no point in turning your work into a soap opera in which you star. This toxic behavior wreaks havoc on the prospects of the company, which is the only dream of the competitors.

Don’t get involved in personal conflicts, office politics, strange plans, or undercover games. Build a reputation as a stable professional who cannot be manipulated or dragged into office games.

This will help open the door to many possibilities. Be the kind of person you would like to work with yourself, and colleagues will gladly start doing it.

How employers find the applicants who possess these qualities?

Just 10 or 15 years ago the only way for employers to check personal traits of applicants is to conduct a long interview with each of them. Indeed, this is a good way to learn more about candidates, but every job interview takes hours. Job interviews are expensive for employers. They require a lot of time and effort.


But a new solution has arrived when assessment companies like SHL, Talent Q, Hogan, Kenexa and others came with situational judgement tests and personality questionnaires. These automated solutions enable employers and HR agents to assess hundreds of applicants quick and easily. Situational judgement tests and personality questionnaires are especially good to learn about personality traits of candidates just like we described above. SJTs assess candidates’ character traits like optimism, openness, emotional intelligence, emotional stability, orientation on result, focus on development and many others. Each test session generates a personality report of the applicant that can tell a lot for the employer.

shl personality test repor

If you are looking for a job in a big company, we recommend you seeing examples of situational judgement tests and personality questionnaires in advance. This will help you to understand the requirements of employers and the values that seek for.

At you can find about 300 situational judgement tests for managers, office staff, customer support and sales positions. Spare 4-5 days for your practice of aptitude tests and situational judgement tests and you will be able to score high and get the job of your dream.

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