Going into an interview, you should be prepared to demonstrate your positive qualities. Employers will often list desired characteristics in their job postings, so be sure to focus on the qualities that you have which that specific employer is seeking. However, communicating that you can meet more than just the basic job requirements can help if you want to rise above the pack.
In an interview, it’s better to “show” rather than “tell.” If your interviewer asks you if you consider yourself to be hardworking, for instance, the best answer is a brief anecdote that illustrates this characteristic. As an example, you might respond by saying, “When I attended my career training, I maintained As in most of my classes while working a full-time job, taking care of my family, and searching for future employment opportunities.”
Here are 10 attributes that employers may look for in good employees, and how you can show them.
Passion, ambition, drive. Whatever you decide to call it, employers may favor whoever has it. Those who are filled with passion are willing to go the extra mile. A passion that originates from within and comes from the true enjoyment of the actions being performed may make you a more memorable candidate.
If you can’t find anything to be passionate about in the job you’re going after, an interviewer will be able to tell. The candidates they remember most are the ones with fire in their eyes. To show that you’re passionate, make sure you’re pursuing a career that inspires you. Then express that passion in what you say about the potential job while in the interview.
Confident interviewees can stand out and inspire confidence in their interviewers.1 If you do not show confidence, your interviewer may be less likely to trust your abilities.1 At the same time, be careful because too much confidence can come across as arrogance. Be sure to tread the line between confidence and humility. Quietly own your strengths in the interview and talk about examples in which you demonstrated those strengths. Other ways to show confidence include making good eye contact, having a confident posture, and keeping your fidgeting to a minimum.
Being a Team player
Most jobs require you to work as part of a team. This quality is especially important in the healthcare field as providing quality patient care often involves collaboration among clinicians, patients, and their families.2 Be ready to handle yourself in a group — whether you’re leading or following. For a job interview, you should prepare to talk about at least one example of a time you enhanced a group or team’s abilities.
Good employees are reliable ones. Reliable employees can get the most opportunities from their employers, oftentimes getting promoted more quickly.3 In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that employers consider an employee’s reliability when conducting a performance appraisal, encouraging the employer to look at whether the worker is dependable and completes work properly as well as on time.3
One of the quickest ways to show your reliability is to simply show up on time for your interview and be prepared. Beyond that, it can be hard to prove yourself reliable, so make sure to provide references that can describe your success in this area. Encourage your future employer to contact these references and let them speak for you.
Supervisors like employees who can follow protocol, anticipate problems, and work to overcome them. The best way to showcase your preparedness abilities in the interview is to research the prospective employercompany beforehand. If you have a good understanding of what the company does and what its core values are, your interviewer will be able to tell you came prepared.
Other things to look for when doing your pre-interview research include:4
- The top players in the organization, reading what the company says about them in their bios as well as what the individuals themselves say on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter
- Any recent mentions of the company in the news
- The type of products and services the company offers, as well as who its clients are
- What other employees say about working for the company, which can be found on websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed (just search for “employee reviews” plus the company’s name)
Everyone has their own method of organization. A good supervisor understands this and can create systems that are supported and enhanced by a diverse team. However, it is important for you to be able to understand and communicate your methods of organization so you can demonstrate how they will complement the company’s methods. You probably won’t find information about the company’s organization habits on its website, so try asking questions about the way it organizes its office or facility. Then show times when you’ve worked in a similar fashion.
Employers will begin assessing your communication skills from the moment you submit your resume. Skills that can help you be a more preferred job candidate and stand out as a potential good employee include those related to speaking, writing, active listening, and negotiation.5
Until you become a part of the company culture, use traditional, formal tones and formats in your emails and phone calls, and be sure that you’re prepared for the interview. Try practicing your interview beforehand with a friend or family member. That way, you can form concise responses and avoid any unnecessary rambling or vocal ticks.
Unlike school, your employer won’t provide you with a syllabus and due dates once you get the job. Your responsibilities and deadlines can shift and change according to the day, and then switch again last-minute based on factors like patient load.
Because of this, healthcare employers sometimes place a high value on self-discipline in good employees. To show this trait in the interview, describe times when you’ve kept yourself on track to meet deadlines or other important milestones.
While we’re all hired to fill specific roles, sometimes our jobs require us to bend and shift according to employer needs. One example is how telehealth visits with Medicare patients increased almost sixty-fold in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic,6 forcing healthcare providers to change the way they provide patient services. Employers know this and often look for flexibility in an interviewee.
To show that you can be flexible, describe times in which you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone to help in a team situation. If you don’t have the professional experience to pull from, it can be a situation with a group project or even a sports team.
Many employers value team chemistry. Social intelligence in the workplace promotes good chemistry by reducing conflict, and improving communication.7 That’s why employers work to develop company culture and interpersonal relationships that give the group a sense of direction and shared goals. Any new employee should be aware of this and willing to help the team achieve these goals.
To prove you’re socially intelligent, ask questions about the shared culture of the work environment, then find ways to demonstrate that you fit into the flow. For example, if your employer tells you that everyone likes to get lunch together and chat, you can say, “I love getting to know the people around me and forming relationships with my coworkers. I can’t wait for our first group lunch.”
Throughout your education, every one of these qualities has most likely been tested. Now it's time to show your interviewer what makes you one of the best potential employees. Take some time to reflect on your strengths before you go into your interview and find ways to demonstrate these traits in a way that’s unique to you.
1 Indeed. How to Appear Confident in an Interview. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/appear-confident-in-an-interview
2 Rosen M, DiazGranados D, Dietz A, et al. Teamwork in Healthcare: Key Discoveries Enabling Safer, High-Quality Care. American Psychologist. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361117/
3 Serafimovska N. The Importance of Reliability at Work. CareerAddict. https://www.careeraddict.com/the-importance-of-reliability-at-work
4 Huhman H. 7 Things to Research Before Any Job Interview. Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/7-research-job-interview/
5 CareerBuilder. Tips to Build Up Your Communication in the Workplace. https://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/these-4-communication-skills-will-help-you-land-any-job
6 Suran M. Increased Use of Medicare Telehealth During the Pandemic. JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2788367
7 Indeed. 5 Steps for Improving Social Intelligence in the Workplace. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-improve-social-intelligence