Personality Traits That Will Get You Hired

Forbes Online recently published an article by Meghan Casserly that discussed the top five personality traits employers look for when hiring.  The top five traits to display during a job interview are:

  1. Professionalism –  A projection of preparedness and competence.
  2. High-energy – As it sounds. Game on.
  3. Confidence – Positive but not arrogant.
  4. Self-monitoring – Awareness of how you are perceived.
  5. Intellectual curiosity – Eagerness to explore new things.

With these traits or characteristics identified, let’s now discuss some tips to emphasize these traits during an interview.



  • Arrive early or at least on time
  • Know how to get to the interview site (get good directions)
  • Research the company, interviewer, and industry beforehand
  • Bring extra copies of your resume
  • Dress professionally and be neatly groomed
  • Have good posture
  • Keep your answers structured and to the point


  • Make negative comments about your past employers
  • Smoke a cigarette beforehand (you’ll smell)
  • Chew gum
  • Wear strong perfume or cologne
  • Wear jewelry or clothing with religious or political connotations
  • Find silence uncomfortable and ramble
  • Bring friends or relatives with you to the interview site
  • Comb your hair, fix makeup, or adjust clothing during the interview



  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Smile
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have a positive, energetic tone of voice
  • Talk about your professional goals
  • Give examples of going “above and beyond”


  • Go out partying or stay up late the night before
  • Go overboard with coffee or energy drinks (you’ll just appear nervous)
  • Be overly chatty or fidgety
  • Slouch, yawn, or demonstrate lethargic behavior



  • Watch your body language
  • Have a firm handshake (but not too firm)
  • Have good eye contact
  • Adjust your chair so you are comfortable
  • Wear comfortable, nice-looking clothes so you are relaxed and confident
  • Remember that you are qualified and well-suited for this position
  • Take time to appropriately respond to questions
  • Practice your interview skills with a  mirror or video camera
  • Talk about your accomplishments and skills


  • Blurt out whatever comes to mind in an attempt to fill the silence
  • Appear arrogant or apathetic (like you are just shopping around)
  • Brag or embellish your accomplishments



  • Demonstrate self-reflection and awareness when you talk about yourself
  • Be able to articulately identify your unique skills and values
  • Show that you are self-directed
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice
  • Be sensitive to social cues and nonverbal communication


  • Say you need constant feedback or step-by-step instructions
  • Look at your cell phone or watch during the interview
  • Make condescending comments about anyone or anything

Intellectual curiosity


  • Demonstrate willingness to learn new skills and integrate new technology
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm about the organization
  • Ask great questions about the company, position, and industry
  • Reference books/articles you’ve read that are related to the company


  • Say you don’t have any questions
  • Mention that you find new technology intimidating or frustrating

The trick here is balance.  Too confident, and you’ll appear arrogant.  Not confident enough, and you’ll seem insecure.  Keep these tips in mind and try them out in your everyday life to see what works for you.  Ask for feedback from friends and co-workers about how you are perceived in your daily interactions.  Be self-aware!

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship


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