6 qualities that will get you hired, no matter the job

Viewed in Fast Company

Let’s begin by stipulating that there is no shortage of content available for candidates seeking to land jobs.

Coaching job candidates

Over the past few decades, books, white papers, articles, and blogs have been produced in abundance—and, for those who can afford it, there is an entire industry of consultants who coach candidates on how to go about securing the job they want.  

On-going changes

Some of this guidance has proven more valuable than others. In 2022, especially as the global workforce undergoes some dramatic changes in structure, expectations, organization, and culture, the remains an open one: What are the qualities that employers seek in a candidate?

Fast Company columnist Judith Humphrey has six answers to that important question—and, she argues, the six traits are in-demand regardless of the industry or functional role of the position a candidate is pursuing.

Keep it real

The first trait: Keep it real. Employers want to see and grasp that a candidate is a real person—and that they are credible. Be confident enough, Humphrey urges, to let a prospective employer see the real you. Don’t let answers come across as overly canned.

Positivity, confidence and passion

The second, third, and fourth traits get to heart of a candidate’s persona as it relates to their work—and they are three traits that are ultimately essential not just to securing a job but succeeding in it: positivity, confidence, and passion.

How are they evaluated?

But how does a prospective employer assess whether a candidate is or is not positive in the relatively brief interaction that is usually allowed in an interview? Word choice, and especially adjectives, matter most, Humphrey contends.

Words choice

Candidates should be sure to communicate a sense of positivity about both the position and the hiring organization. “No one wants to hire someone who is a complainer,” she writes.


 Hiring organizations also utilize interviews to assess a candidate’s confidence, and that means candidates should prepare sufficiently so that they feel comfortable exhibiting a sensible level of confidence. “Write down your talking points, polish them, rehearse them, and internalize them,” she writes.


Passion is typically assessed by a candidate’s word choice and presence during an interview; “…use words that convey passion and deep interest,” and “don’t turn away or slouch,” she writes.

The fifth and sixth traits: impact and gratitude.


Impact gets to the heart of a candidate’s qualifications and capabilities, and the successful candidate will be able to offer up tangible—and preferably measurable—examples of how he or her has contributed in ways that point to a candidate’s ability to succeed in the job for which they are interviewing.

Candidates want to give that careful consideration beforehand—and then communicate it without too many first-person pronouns. “Avoid to many ‘I’s”, “my’s”, and “me’s,” she writes.

Express gratitude

And, finally, don’t overlook gratitude. A prospective employer will appreciate, and even likely expect, a formal follow-up communication expressing gratitude for their time and the opportunity to be considered—and that also applies to those who may have assisted in any other ways.

Humphrey writes that she “would go out of her way to help anyone who has thanked me. But that is not everyone.” Be sure to be express gratitude.

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