Top Interview Traits Your Future Boss Wants to See

topinterviewtraits_webIf you think outstanding references and years of education are the top traits employers are looking for during interviews, think again.

According to a new study by Express Employment Professionals, it turns out the most important thing you need to get where you want to be is a positive attitude. The recent survey found that attitude and integrity are the two top qualities your future bosses want to see. In fact, your attitude toward a future job and employer may be the most important trait to develop if you’re looking for a job.

Developing a Positive Attitude
So, what are some ways to give your attitude a positive boost before, during, and after a job interview? Here are some tips to help you keep your attitude in check:

  • Make eye contact. Engage yourself with the interviewer by smiling, relaxing, and showing emotion.
  • Be positive. Focus on what you can do and don’t cut yourself down. If the interview asks about your greatest weakness, try to show how it has strengthened you.
  • Never complain. Even if your former boss was the worst boss in history, don’t complain. Employers see a bright red flag if your interview is full of criticism, complaints, or excuses.

Showing Integrity and Work Ethic
Let’s assume you have a strong work ethic – how can you show your new, future boss that? These tips can help:

  • Be respectful. Show respect to past co-workers and describe positive relationships in your previous job.
  • Make a good impression. Show you have a strong work ethic by arriving to your interview on time and prepared.
  • Be honest. If you are lacking in certain areas, be honest about it, but stress that you are willing to learn and will go above and beyond to provide the skills the employer needs.

Other Important Interview Traits
These findings came from the 2014 edition of the “America Employed” survey of 115 Express franchises across the nation. The survey asked respondents to rate various traits on a scale of one to five based on how important they are when evaluating applicants.

While skills and job experience were certainly important, the traits respondents rated as most important were attitude (4.53 out of 5), work ethic and integrity (4.52 out of 5), and credible work history (4.07 out of 5). Other traits included:

  • Culture fit (4.02)
  • Skills (3.85)
  • Job experience (3.73)
  • References (3.45)
  • Education (2.67)

In your experience, did a positive attitude during a job interview result in a job offer? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.


  1. Paul Myers

    You can’t teach attitude…it is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. I’m happy to see that employers say they look at that as the #1 quality. It is possible to build a strong team built on their knowledge and skills…but without the attitude piece the team will struggle to work together toward a common goal.

  2. Bill Betz

    It may be true that “you can’t teach attitude.” However, one can “Learn” atttitude. In other words, with some effort, one can change their OWN attitude. I did. I worked as a replacement window salesman and I became VERY good at my job–one of the top salepersons in a multi-million $$ company. I learned thru experience that, the better, more positive my attitude, the greater my sales and the size of my paycheck.

    I also had a manager that had a voice mail message saying, “Remember, positive things happen to positive people.” I heard it hundreds of times and as I drove to my sales calls, I heard his voice in the back of my head. I became a believer and once a positve attitude becomes part of your everday life–part of YOU–it is difficult to go backwards.

    The next time you feel unmotivated, use any of these 50 positive thoughts to reenergize yourself. Really: They work!

    Thoughts are powerful, and negative thoughts can prevent you from achieving your goals. The flip side is that positive thoughts can be just as powerful.

    1. I can do anything. It’s a simple phrase, but it helps to remind yourself — you really can do anything you set your mind to.
    2. This is why I can. Instead of giving yourself reasons why you can’t do something, give yourself reasons why you can.
    3. I deserve more. You deserve a better life — whether that means a better job, a healthier body or more money. Work for it.
    4. It’s never too late. No matter how old you are or how many opportunities you’ve passed up before, it’s never too late to make a decision and get a fresh start.
    5. There will always be challenges. No matter what you do in life, there will always be challenges — don’t let one set get the better of you.
    6. There’s no “perfect” time. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment, forget about it — there’s no such thing.
    7. There’s no perfect plan. There are some definite flaws in your plan — but there are in every plan.
    8. Everybody starts somewhere. Nobody is born successful. Everyone starts somewhere, and usually from the bottom.
    9. One step at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Reduce it to baby steps.
    10. It can only get better. If it’s hard at first, it can only get easier.
    11. Failure is temporary. If you fail, you’re in good company — most successes come only after several rounds of failure.
    12. Mistakes are learning opportunities. If you mess up, you can only become better for it.
    13. Today is all I can control. Forget about what you did yesterday. Today is what matters.
    14. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Nothing worth doing is easy.
    15. “Someday” is today. If you’re like most people, you use the word “someday” to describe your goals and desires. Make today that someday.
    16. Negative thoughts can’t stop me. Your negative thoughts are just thoughts — nothing more.
    17. I’ve done harder things. Think back to a time when you succeeded against the odds.
    18. Everything has to be earned. You can’t get anything in this life unless you work hard for it.
    19. Action is a better regret than inaction. Making the wrong decision is always preferable to regretting never having done anything at all.
    20. I don’t need anyone’s permission. If people think you’re crazy, so be it.
    21. I’m in control of my own destiny. You can decide whom you want to become.
    22. There is no pass or fail. Nobody is grading you. You can’t objectively “fail” at life unless you never try anything.
    23. Boring decisions get boring results. Make an exciting decision.
    24. The risk is worth it. Know that risks are real, but the potential benefits are worth them.
    Related: The 10 Biggest Motivation Killers and How to Fix Them
    25. Discipline feels better than regret. Discipline is hard, but it’s easier to deal with than regret.
    26. Many good ideas seem crazy or impossible at first. Yours is no different.
    27. I’ve got support. Friends, family, colleagues — even if they think you’re crazy, you can always find support in networking groups, support groups and other community resources.
    28. Experience is always valuable. Even if your mission doesn’t turn out the way you’d expected, you’ll walk away with experience.
    29. Hard work is its own reward. You’ll feel good just for making the attempt.
    30. Every day counts. Today, tomorrow and the next day are all steps toward your end goal.
    31. What I see matters more than what others see. Forget about what others think — prioritize what you think.
    32. There is no problem that can’t be overcome. Everything can be solved or worked around.
    33. Ordinary actions make an ordinary life. Nobody wants to be ordinary. Don’t let yourself be.
    34. Everything can be improved. Even if you start out rough, you can always make improvements to your approach.
    35. I can learn whatever I need to know. Free resources are plentiful.
    36. I can master whatever I need to do. Practice can make you good at anything.
    37. Willpower is all in my head. You can have all the willpower you want — you just have to want it.
    38. I know what I want. Know what your end goals are, and visualize them.
    39. Feelings are the product of thoughts. If you’re scared or unsure, know that these are feelings generated by your thoughts; then you can control them.
    40. Trying and failing is better than doing nothing. This is universally true.
    41. I am whomever I want to be. There’s nothing stopping you from being whom you want to be.
    42. I can’t win unless I try. Effort is the only way to get results.
    43. My life is a product of my decisions. Make the ones that matter.
    44. I’m better than I was yesterday. You’re older, wiser and more experienced than you’ve ever been before.
    45. Nothing great happens overnight. Work and patience are your friends.
    46. Once I get started, it will be easier. You’ll feel more motivated once you get rolling.
    47. I’ll reward myself when I’m done. Even small rewards can be great motivators.
    48. I’m doing this for more than just me. Maybe it’s for your family or community — whatever “it” is, external motivation can be powerful.
    49. There are always more chances. If you screw up, you can always try again.
    50. If nothing else, this will make for a good story. You’ll walk away with great memories and interesting anecdotes.
    The power of positive thinking isn’t just an adage — it’s scientifically proven that positive thoughts (and the elimination of negative self-talk) can improve your mood, feelings, and performance. These thoughts should get you started doing whatever it is you need motivation to do. The rest is up to you.

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