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4 Employee Personality Traits Favored by Hiring Managers

Which personality traits are managers or bosses looking for in an employee? This is a vital question if you are looking for new job in this hard economy, trying to gain a promotion in your current job, or plainly seeking the respect you think you deserve. Through my research online (and asking the Quality Logo Products® owners and managers), I was able to come up with a list of 4 personality traits that seem to be the most common. Hopefully, this will help you as you better yourself at your current job or as a future hire!

1. Self-Motivation


Are you a self-starter, or do you require constant supervision?

What does self-motivation really mean to a boss? The definition of motivate is to give somebody a reason or incentive to do something. Through this definition, one can conclude that for an employee to be motivated they must feel like they are making a difference at work. Employees want to be assured that success within the office will lead to other career advances. For an employee to be motivated, he or she must feel one of these things. Now that we understand what makes employees motivated, we can take a better look at why motivation is so essential to the “perfect employee.”

It doesn’t matter if the boss is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a manager of a McDonald’s: he or she is looking for employees that do not have to be micro-managed. Ideal employees should be able to take on a job or task and figure out a solution without having to be harassed by the manager throughout the entire day. This takes a “get it done” type of personality in which they are not afraid to help out with things without being asked or constantly nagged. Bosses want to be confident that things are getting done when they turn their back on employees, because if their team is made up of motivated people then they know that tasks will be completed.

2. Positive Attitude

Positive Attitude

Who would you rather have on your team?

I don’t think I need to recite a definition of a positive attitude. We have all worked with people who complain and disrupt other employees, and also with people who always have something nice to say and can boost your mood when you’re having a bad day. Which personality you would rather work with?

I’m going to take a wild guess and say the latter employee or co-worker: the person with a positive attitude and enthusiasm. Managers know that these types of people will be able to boost spirits when the team is falling apart, or in case issues arise. Smiles and a friendly attitude can also go a long way in an interview, because it conveys that you would be pleasant to work with. What’s the most important thing to take away from trait number two? If you can’t be positive and happy all the time, then it is important to remember that bad attitudes bring down the team! So, even if your day is not going perfectly, try to refrain from taking it out on others and find another outlet. Let’s face it — attitudes are contagious. Positivity is not just beneficial to the boss– it’s also beneficial to colleagues who’d rather not work alongside a “Debbie Downer”!

3. Organization


Stay organized and you’ll be amply rewarded.

I am referring to multiple organizational skills when I say that employees should be organized. This trait means being able to organize work but also able to organize thoughts, people, and time. What do I mean by organizing people? A superior employee is able to work and get along with other employees in teams while figuring out what each individual is able to do. Time management is one of the biggest problems that employees face. Overcoming the obstacle will give you needed points with a boss, because an efficient employee is a productive employee. And what kind of boss wouldn’t want that?

I have one more suggestion for those of you wondering if you could be more productive for your boss; keep a journal of all your activities during the day. You will most likely be astounded at the amount of time you spend surfing the web, talking to coworkers, or texting (if not, then you have nothing to worry about). Being organized comes down to being as efficient and productive at your job as you can and reaching those deadlines with plenty of time to spare.

4. Confidence


Be confident in your abilities!

The interview is the first time a future employer will really be able to see this part of you. An interview can be very overwhelming and sometimes feel like a firing squad of questions, which the interviewee needs to answer quickly. The best advice I can give to someone going into an interview is to be PREPARED. Go over some general questions in your head before an interview so that you feel comfortable with your answers beforehand. If you are confident in the interview, your potential employer will be more likely to feel they can trust you with anything the position would entail.

If you’re already in a secure position and wonder how you can show your boss just how confident you really are, I would recommend displaying it through your work. Don’t be scared to stand up for your accomplishments. I guarantee an employer would rather you stand by what you did, even if it is wrong, than slither away at the first criticism. Other personality traits can be easily improved upon, but lack of confidence in yourself and your work is had to overcome!

After writing and researching this topic, I was able to take a good long look at myself and what types of things that I can do to be a superior employee. I hope that you are able to do the same! Don’t be afraid to ask your manager what he or she thinks you can do to improve.

What are some things that you think make you or someone else a superior employee? If you’re a hiring manager, which other personality traits do you favor in employees or potential hires?


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Mandy Kilinskis

    Excellent first post, Ellyn! And welcome to the Blog Squad!

    These are definitely great traits for any prospective employee to have. I think another great one is a willingness to learn. You can fold this into the positive attitude, but I think it also stands on its own. If you want to learn about your company, coworkers, and projects, you won’t just be a great employee, you’ll be a star employee.

    Also to answer the caption question “Who would you rather have on your team?” my answer is: someone with an actual face. 🙂

    • Ellyn Gilmore

      I agree, Mandy, that willingness to learn is another really good trait to have, because if you are not willing to learn then you are never able to work your way up the “career ladder”. Which is unfortunate for you and your boss.

  2. Amy Swanson

    What a great first post as a true Blog Squad member 🙂 Welcome, Ellyn!

    Your traits here are spot-on! I’m not in the position to hire anyone, but I feel that having happy people is great to an organization. During the work week you spend more time at work then you do awake at home, so why make it horrible and unbearable to go to? I’ve worked with people in the past who were always negative, made for some long days. Yuck, definitely potential hires to avoid!

  3. Jill Tooley

    All of these are CRUCIAL traits! Nice list.

    Self-motivation is a tricky one because many employees find it hard to keep going throughout the day. I’ve worked with people (not here at QLP) who constantly made others pick up the slack until the boss stopped by to check on things…and then all of a sudden they were conveniently “working hard.” They never hesitated to take all of the credit, either, but that’s an entirely different story! 😉

    Confidence is probably the hardest one on your list, especially for “shy types” like you or me. It takes a lot of work to be proud of your accomplishments and to convey that to a stranger in an interview without sounding pompous!

    Oh, and don’t get me started on the importance of a positive attitude. I’m definitely not brimming with glee every second of the day, but I always have a smile for people and try to look on the bright side of situations! You’re right, no one wants to partner up with a Debbie Downer in the workplace…especially when there’s a lot of work to be done.

    Great first post, Ellyn!

    • Ellyn Gilmore

      Confidence is definitely something I needed to work on, because I tend to be so shy but once I’ve been with a company or in a position for a long period of time I find that the confidence to stand up for what I believe in grows. So watch out QLPers!!! 🙂

  4. Joseph Giorgi

    Excellent debut post!

    I think that each of the traits you mentioned here are crucial. I’d go as far as to say that #1 is the most vital, though. People who are self-motivated (and have the “get it done” personality type) are valuable in a way that bosses and managers can’t help but appreciate. Knowing that an employee is doing his or her job well without having to be told to do so is invaluable.

    Of course, positivity is always a useful trait as well, and I’d imagine that it sort of factors into an employee’s confidence. I’m sure that optimistic employees are generally ten times more confident than pessimistic ones.

    Again, great post, Ellyn! Welcome to the squad! 🙂

  5. JPorretto

    Great first post Ellyn! I’m so proud (tear)!

    I’d have to say that other than some specific traits I look for in employees, I also look for that all important un-quantifiable “gut feeling.” This has to be some sort of combination of confidence, positive attitude, and other things you mentioned. But they have to be the RIGHT combination of those things.

  6. Jen

    Awesome first post Ellyn!!!

    What a great topic! Competition for a good job is tough right now, and it’s important to put your best foot forward, and show your interviewer/boss what a great employee you can be. I think having a positive attitude is the most important quality a person can have in a work environment.

    Welcome to the Blog Squad!!! 🙂

  7. Amanda

    Great post Ellyn! You nailed it with these qualities. =) Positive thinking makes the world a happier, more productive place! And of course, welcome to the blogsquad!

  8. Phil

    Great tips. A lot of hiring managers or those working in recruitment can benefit from this.

  9. PartTimer

    Thanks for sharing your insights.
    I learned a lot from your article.
    I am planning to apply for a job soon, this would really help me.

  10. Jujama

    Wel… consider yourself added to my blogroll. I have like six other blogs I read on a weekly basis, guess that number just increased to seven! Keep writing!

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