7 Personal Attributes To Mention in Your Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 5 August 2022 | Published 20 May 2021

Updated 5 August 2022

Published 20 May 2021

While educational qualifications, vocational qualifications and experience are the three most essential criteria in the job selection process, employers are increasingly giving importance to an applicant's personal attributes. Personal attributes describe who you are and reflect your personality. Possessing certain attributes can make you a more competitive candidate than others. In this article, we will learn about what personal attributes are, examples of attributes to mention in your interview.

What are personal attributes?

Personal attributes are traits that define your personality and describe your approach to work or a situation. These personal attributes help in determining whether you're the best fit for the job or not. Coupled with skills you gained through your experience, these attributes make you a competitive applicant. For example, you can use your inherently optimistic nature and couple it with your learned negotiation skills to stand out as a salesperson.

Someone with the same educational qualification and work experience may not excel as easily if they are withdrawn or negative as a part of their personality.

Examples of personal attributes to mention in your interview

In a competitive environment, employers search for personal attributes as it helps employee excel at work. A single attribute has the power to shift the scale in your favour when the employer is deciding between two similar applicants. Here are some examples of personal attributes you can mention in your interview:


Initiative is the ability to start actions and grab opportunities when they occur before someone else does. Employees who possess this personal attribute never hesitate or think twice before grabbing the opportunity. Employers prefer hiring employees who take initiatives because they don't require micromanagement and they're likely to come up with alternative solutions and new ideas for potential problems.

For example, you may have created a Microsoft Excel macro after noticing that your colleagues spend way too much time doing a repetitive task that could otherwise be automated. Quoting such examples during your interview helps the employer understand that you can work independently and require little guidance from seniors.

Employees with this personal attribute lead from the front and ensure business reach their goal. Also, these employees have strong analytical and decision-making skills because they recognise and seize opportunities when they come. For this reason, initiative is a critical leadership skill and employees prefer people who love to take initiatives.

Related: Top 9 Leadership Skills to Develop


Regardless of the situation or work pressure, the best employees remain positive. Such optimistic employees find good in every situation and look at things from a positive perspective. Even when these people encounter failure, they take every failure as a learning opportunity instead of focusing on the negatives. Optimism is the most-sought after personal attribute which employers look for in candidates. This is because an optimistic employee can turn a potentially negative outcome into a positive one.

You're optimistic if you:

  • Express gratitude

  • Surround yourself with positive people

  • Focus on self-motivation and discipline

  • Ignore naysayers

  • Forgive others

  • Remain happy and smiling


Apart from your educational skills and experience, one personal attribute that distinguishes between an achiever and a non-achiever is confidence. If you second-guess your ability, employers won't be sure of you either. Unconfident employees always make an excuse, fail to meet managerial expectations and blame others for mistakes they make. Therefore, employers look for confident people.

You're confident if you are:

  • Always positive and hardworking

  • Ready to take risks

  • Aware of your strengths and weaknesses

  • Easily adjustable to changes

  • Ready to face challenges

  • Ready to receive criticism

During interviews, demonstrate your confidence by maintaining eye contact and giving examples of how your confident attitude helped you excel at a job. Remember, it's not just what you say that matters, it's how you say it that helps you get a job offer.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview


Adaptability is a personal attribute that showcases your ability to respond to changes. These changes could be a change in job role, work culture or working environment. Adaptable employees are often known as ‘flexible' because they mould themselves based on the situation. When you're adaptable, you can switch from one task or location to another with ease. On the other hand, less adaptable people take time to feel comfortable with changing requirements.

You're adaptable if you are:

  • Flexible and available to adjust to changes

  • Curious and versatile

  • Seek opportunities above obstacles

  • Team player

  • Emotionally intelligent

For example, at your previous job, you may have used to-do-lists to manage projects, but you may have to adapt to a new project management software in a new role. During an interview, the employer is likely to select applicants who are adaptable to this change and ready to learn the software. It's fine to face some resistance during a change, but employers want people who can keep up with changes.

Related: 10 Valuable Soft Skills That You Need to Succeed in Your Career


Motivation is an internal desire or readiness to achieve a designated goal. It's the motivation that drives employees to keep going even after facing failures and achieve their professional goals irrespective of the working conditions.

Employers consider motivation as an essential personal attribute because it contributes to an employee's desire to stay interested and committed in a position or goal. Motivation helps in steering your career to success.

You're motivated if you are:

  • Willing to take calculated risks

  • Persistent and determined

  • Committed to goals

  • Optimistic and resilient

  • Visionary thinker

For example, as an HR manager, you may scan approximately 200 CV that applicants upload on job portals. Over time, the job may become monotonous and you may start losing interest. Instead of leaving the job, you give rewards to yourself on completing every 50 CV. It helps you accomplish goals without compromising on productivity and efficiency. Mentioning such real-life instances helps an employer understand your personality better.

Related: Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

Willingness to learn

Willingness to learn is a personal attribute that triggers your desire to learn new things and improve yourself continually. To move forward in your career, it's imperative to train and develop skills. In the fast-changing digital landscape, employers prefer coachable people that are willing to learn a new skill set. Nobody joins a job already knowing how to do it. Employees are trained to discover their ways around the company and understand how to do their work.

For example, you may have previously worked in a retail store's marketing department, but you recently joined as a marketer for an aviation company. To excel at your job, you require knowledge of the aviation sector. You might gather information, hold a meeting with critical stakeholders and learn about the company to effectively utilise your skills. Quoting this example in your job interview showcases your ability to learn and tells employers you're ready to take an extra step to achieve your goals. Such examples make you a competitive applicant.

Employers prefer this attribute because such employees require less supervision and can support other employees in their learning process. Employers want to understand that the people they're hiring will absorb and develop the skills necessary to grow their business. It indicates how serious an employee is regarding their personal development.

Related: What Is Aptitude? (and How to Highlight it)


Resilience is the ability to push through difficult situations at work. It gives employees the strength to cope with stress. Resilient employees remain calm in difficult situations, whereas non-resilient employees come under great stress. Often, resilient employees use all their skills and strengths to convert a negative outcome to a positive one. They are ready to face difficulties with less distress and grief than others.

You're a resilient employee if you:

  • Possess problem solving skills

  • Keep calm under stress

  • Have self-control and empathy

  • Are motivated, realistic and optimistic

  • Can handle emotions

  • Trust yourself

For example, two hours before the client's presentation, you realise that the removable disk on which you stored the presentation gets corrupted. It was the only copy. Employees with poor resilience are likely to come under stress and may not find a solution. A resilient employee will utilise the two hours to create a presentation from scratch. Though they may get frustrated at restarting, their frustration is short-lived. Instead of complaining and blaming others, they channel their energy towards finding an outcome.

Employers prefer applicants who can showcase their resilient nature because working life is not always going to go smoothly. You will face challenges and developing resiliency will help you achieve your goals and advance your career. A resilient employee learns from their failures, grows from their experience and can overcome any obstacle that blocks their path.

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