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9 Behaviors Job Applicants Should Always Exhibit

When you’re looking for a job or you’ve gone a step further and landed an interview, your behavior will say a lot about how you conduct yourself and how you handle tasks. Here are nine behavioral traits you’ll want to exhibit if you’re looking for a position.

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1. Punctuality

Being on time is a basic part of making a good first impression. It’s rare that someone who shows up late to an interview would advance to the next round unless their skills were exceptional and they stood out beyond others in their field.

It isn’t just an interview that shows punctuality, however. An applicant can be punctual about turning in an application, attending a zoom call, or following up after an interview. There can be several opportunities to demonstrate punctuality with an employer during the typical job search process, allowing you to demonstrate a consistent pattern of conducting yourself in a timely manner.

2. Personability

Most people, including interviewers, are drawn to a person that’s personable. This means they’re relaxed, easy to talk to, and relatable. Personability involves a general friendliness and shows you’re easy to get along with. 

Employers want to work with people they like and respect, who they sense have good interpersonal skills, and who can get along with others. Being personable during your interactions with the hiring team will help you get a job just as much as your technical skills. 

3. Neatness in Dress and Grooming

As an employee, you represent your company. You’ll often need to interact with others inside or outside your company in professional ways. It’s important to demonstrate during an interview that you can dress neatly and professionally and groom yourself so the employer is assured you’ll represent the company well as needed. 

For jobs that don’t require business attire, it’s recommended to dress as such for an interview unless you’re asked not to. Even then, having your hair and makeup (for women) neatly done, being freshly showered, and trimming your fingernails can show you’re well-groomed and neat no matter what clothes you wear.

4. Transparency

Companies value honesty and transparency, so it’s important to demonstrate this trait during the job search. Lying on a resume could get you fired and make it hard to get another job, so you should never do it no matter how qualified you may be. 

If there’s something negative in your job or personal history, it’s best to deal with this proactively rather than let the employer discover it later. Bringing up the negative item before they do shows you can be transparent. It also shows resiliency because you’ve bounced back from the negative situation.


5. Enthusiasm

Many studies discussed in Psychology Today show that most U.S. employers want to see enthusiasm in candidates. They often favor this trait over someone who’s just calm. If a candidate can’t show enthusiasm before they start a job, they won’t be able to maintain their attitude over longer periods, and their work may become more monotonous. 

Enthusiasm is also contagious, so it’s an attractive quality in an employee. Seeding the workplace with just a few enthusiastic new hires could lead to a more positive outlook and excitement for the job among other employees.

6. Confidence

Employers want to see confidence because it’s associated with success. People who believe they can accomplish something are more likely to do so because what we believe about ourselves is powerful. 

It’s important, however, that confidence be linked to reality. Believing you can be the CEO when you’ve only had experience as a receptionist will come across as delusional and not get you hired. By contrast, believing you can do the next-higher job than what you’ve done before and confidently expressing that to an interviewer could be what the company is looking for.

7. Flexibility

Employees are often called upon to be flexible when doing jobs because even the most carefully planned tasks can sometimes go off in different directions than what was expected. Flexibility means going with the flow while still looking to meet goals and objectives. 

Finding the right balance between structure and flexibility is hard, but not impossible. If you can demonstrate your ability to do this in an interview, a hiring team will see it as a positive trait.

8. Curiosity

Not all employers like curiosity, but most employers view it as a positive because curious workers often teach themselves new skills. They also have good ideas for how to improve workplaces, which can be implemented for everyone’s benefit. 

If you’re a naturally curious person, it’s best not to hide this from an employer because you won’t be happy working somewhere that doesn’t appreciate and reward curiosity. Sometimes, it’s not about the job offer. Rather, it’s about a good match between the employee and employer. 

9. Loyalty

The expectation of loyalty to an employer is much less now than it was a few decades ago when an employee might stay with a company for most or all of their career and job changes were less frequent. Still, companies want to know you won’t just turn on them if the opportunity to do so comes along. 

These days, loyalty may be more about respecting company data and keeping it private or acting in the best interest of the employer rather than acting only out of self-interest. These can be important behaviors, making loyalty an important trait to demonstrate.


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