Seven Characteristics of the Perfect Candidate

Behavioral CharacteristicsAre you looking to increase your marketability with employers; review these seven characteristics that recruiters look for in a candidate. Many of these behavioral attributes jump off your resume but some can only be revealed in the interview process. Using these psychology tactics,  you can better describe the “Who” in your story. 

Communication, with any candidate, begins with the written resume. Research, develop and write a resume to reflect your work history, while incorporating your personal qualities. Be sure to use the “King’s English” with proper punctuation and avoid embellishment, which is easy to spot. A 2017 HireRight survey established a new benchmark in resume embellishments with 85% of respondents seeing lies and misrepresentations on resumes and job applications, up 19% from 2012.

More importantly, excellent verbal communication is a vital characteristic which employers require. Being able to communicate, clearly and directly, to co-workers and customer alike, enhances the probability of success. Practicing your interview skills with a friend may calm your nerves and set you on the path to, the 2nd most important trait that recruiters are looking for, positivity.

Positivity is hard to fake; it tends to manifest itself as soon as you open your mouth. Candidates who do their homework, before an interview, will come off as being more relaxed and motivated with a genuine interest in the job. Being transparent and open will go a long way in keeping you positive. In addition, exhibiting curiosity about the position can boost your positive check-marks and extend the conversation.


Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose.  On a resume, ambition can be demonstrated by goals that have been achieved or surpassed and leadership positions attained. It can also be expressed through preparation and interest in the new job.

Reliability begins with good ethics; so say what you mean and mean (& do) what you say. Being part of a team requires this characteristic; otherwise, the team breaks down. Unfortunately, a typical No-call/No-show, from Generation Z, has become an expectation of informed HR Managers because of their itinerant nature.  Step up and show up.

Integrity‘s ethics and honesty are hard to evaluate on a resume or in an interview, except for candidates with solid backgrounds. Longevity of service to previous employers speaks volumes to a recruiter. Being moral, ethical, and honest are earned characteristics and generally reserved for the loyal employees who are in it for the long haul.

Leadership generally coincides with experience but can be somewhat predicted from a candidate’s background. Positive career progression leads to increased responsibilities and leadership roles. A good leader will have all 5 of the previous characteristics as well as self-awareness and influence. A self-starter who leads the company’s agenda with confidence. Leadership is defined by respect from others and the ability to delegate fairly.

Lastly, Teamwork is essential to the success of any company and being a team player should be approached with humility. It is never about you, someone else helped you get to this point in your career and collaboration is required for you to get to the next level. Teamwork improves efficiency and productivity, as well as strong working relationships. Teamwork can lead to innovative solutions that result in a stronger bottom line for the company.

As a final thought, we suggest a re-write of your resume at least twice a year. By improving your writing ability and adding new employment skills and responsibilities to your resume, you will greatly enhance your marketability to employers. Proofread, improve, re-write and repeat to bring your character to the forefront.



Develop your personal characteristics at Ohio State.


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