Personality is something that many job seekers and sometimes even employers automatically assume is subservient to technical competency. If the person can use the programs and speak the technical language, everything should fall into place naturally. Personality, however, is often more important than previous job or educational experience. Below are some of the most important personality traits to look for in a candidate. 


Curiosity is a defining quality and personality trait in a person and an employee. It is a good proxy for how eager to self-educate and learn more about the position and the company and, on the level of interpersonal skills, its clients and their coworkers. Candidates with a proclivity for curiosity are likely going to be better informed than their peers on the industry, the company, its history, key executives, the products and services offered by the company and life in general. 

Curious people are less likely to become bored with a role because they are always receptive to finding new things intriguing or stimulating. They are also likely to be more open to learning and development opportunities and learning about what their coworkers and other departments do, making them a vital asset when there are human capital shortages. 


Integrity is regarded as one of the essential qualities by people and cultures around the world and remains one of the most predictive qualities for leaders. Integrity is defined as having strong moral or ethical beliefs and entails being truthful, acting decently, and treating people with respect. Integrity among employees and at the leadership level is integral to a prosocial organizational culture.

People with integrity keep their word, show up on time, are honest with others and themselves and, perhaps above all, are accountable.


Employers value flexibility, whether that means a willingness to work on assignments from several locations or modify working hours as needed. When employees are willing to work outside of their job description, they have more to offer to companies and management. They are better able to pick up the slack for coworkers who are sick or on leave and don’t mind staying late or coming in early when there is extra work to be done.

Employees who are adaptable are also more effective with coworkers and clients. When dealing with a difficult client, a salesperson’s approach may vary. If their role changes or needs to change, they are willing to change along with it. Flexibility is a personality trait that helps people and companies thrive in an unpredictable and constantly changing world. 


Optimism is an important quality to look for in a candidate for a number of reasons. In addition to having a positive influence on the people around them (especially those more disposed to cynicism and pessimism), optimists tend to engage in healthier behaviours and use more productive coping methods when facing adversity or emotional turmoil. This attitude is timeless, but it is particularly important given the current strain people are under as the workplace continues to grapple with the effects of a global pandemic and new ways of commuting and working. 


Ambition, like resolve, demonstrates that an employee will go above and beyond to complete a task. They will put in the extra effort to acquire new skills and abilities, and, importantly, they have a vision for the future that involves higher-paying jobs and increased responsibilities. When they start a new project or work, they create a goal for themselves that motivates them to succeed. Ambitious people prefer to do jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to create good results.

Ambition, however, needs to be kept in check in order for it to remain an asset. Overly ambitious people who make it clear during the interview process that they are hell-bent on climbing the corporate ladder and have unrealistic goals and timelines for themselves at the company may be potential problems. In their quest for fast success, they may irritate coworkers and clients and end up being a poor fit for the corporate culture. 


Employees who are responsible–closely related to conscientious–are more likely to succeed at whatever they do. As a responsible employee, they are more likely to arrive on time, execute their responsibilities according to instructions, speak with management when issues arise and stay committed to something until it’s done. When problems do arise during a task or they make a mistake, they accept full responsibility and can take feedback and criticism and learn from their mistakes. 


Diplomacy is an important quality in the modern workplace because of how much more collaborative they have become. The objective of much of the enterprise software and collaboration platforms currently on the market is to make it easier for people to put their minds together and meet whenever and wherever in the world they may be. Terms like “interdepartmental” and “knowledge sharing” are commonly used to describe the way we work, and being able to tactfully, graciously and empathetically work with others is fundamental for success in the modern workplace. 


The cost of hiring the wrong person can be catastrophic, depending on the level at which the hiring is taking place and the role and responsibility of the person within the organization. Training involves substantial time and money, and a bad fit can demoralize a team, distract and frustrate a manager and rub clients the wrong way. Keep the above personality traits in mind before and during the hiring process and ensure that you are hiring the right personality for the role and organizational culture.