It is a well-known fact: you have to do your best at the interview. But for a short time that interview offers,  it is quite tricky to produce your best, so we need to focus on demand, i.e.


  • to find out what do recruiters look for in a candidate
  • what qualities must we put forward in an interview


The recent survey by with 500 respondents addressed these questions as well as question often raised by the recruiter:


  • What qualities do you generally deem as the most important in a candidate when making recruitment decisions at work?



Top traits sought after by employers

According to the survey, the most important trait for an employee is Competence (38.6%) followed by a 'strong work ethic' representing 28.2% of the votes. Being a good 'team player' was close behind the second quality and represented 27.2% of voters. The next vital qualities were 'dependability', 'willingness to learn', and 'honesty' with 23.8%, 21% and 20% respectively. As per employer's viewpoint these qualities show the candidate's ability to adapt and fit within organisational eco-system and culture, encouraging togetherness and teamwork. Communication is also considered the vital quality for new-comers, and 'dependability' and 'honesty' set the correct path.

Top qualities of candidates


Least qualities sought after by employers

While revealing the qualities employers are less interested in, or are not considered at all, the interesting conclusion was made. Since ‘competitiveness’ (0.80%) and ‘ ambition’ (2%) are more individualistic qualities, employers do not review those as important traits in recruitment process. ‘Decisiveness’ (1.4%) was also considered as solo quality that do not require teamwork and, therefore, reward individualism.


Comparing the two approaches, it is possible to establish a link between employment, team players ad individual traits. It is obvious that employers favour individuals that pull together and fit within organisational culture. Although these results might vary depending on the industry and different career levels. The geolocation of respondents did not affect the result as well, as almost all the candidate selections in the North West and London mirrored one another in both the highest selected qualities and the lowest selected qualities. 45.59% of participants in the North West thought competence was the most important trait in the a candidate as well. There are couple of candidate qualities that show a disparity between young and old employers. Considering the age group of employers, those between 18-24 found the quality of 'effective communication' as an essential trait of a candidate, while this trait was not crucial for employers in the 55 age group. Only 6.98% of this group considered 'effective communicator' as an essential candidate trait.

Survey results

Another candidate's quality that revealed striking difference was 'ambition'. 23.08% of 18-24 year olds viewed this trait as an essential one, while just 3.49% of 55's and over considered as important quality.


As a result of this survey and with consideration of all revelations, that comprised different age group and geolocation of respondents, it is possible to conclude that being a good 'team player' is the most important trait for a candidate. Competence remains the most important quality, closely followed by communicative, team building traits.