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The 4 qualities hiring managers are really looking for

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As Ireland nears closer and closer to full employment employers are putting a greater focus on employees who are a good “culture fit”, and who will stay in the company for years to come.

It’s no longer enough to be qualified. Soft skills, such as resilience and adaptability, are just as important.

If you have the aptitude hard skills can be trained, whereas soft skills are more ingrained in your character and much more difficult to pick up on the job.

If you have been interviewing with little success, the below might give you an insight into why. As advised by a selection of managers and directors within the Cpl Group, these are some of the most sought-after qualities hiring managers look for:

Strong alignment with a company’s values

The culture and values of a business signify the overall personality of a company. If you are going to succeed, it’s important your values align with that of the company.

Cpl HR Manager Niamh O’Connor explains… “I like to see an individual’s personal values align to that of our business. For example, some of Cpl’s core values are Accountability, Respect and Customer Focus. When I am hiring, I really like to see that those values are important to the candidate.”

Niamh continues… “If the values don’t align, there is confusion and conflict. When the values do align there is greater engagement and commitment for everyone. It’s a win-win for both.”

When interviewing or considering a job application, research the values of that company and see if they’re a good fit with your own beliefs. If they are it’s likely you will have a much better chance at the interview stage.

A good attitude & sense of humour

A good attitude will get you far in most situations. When asked about what qualities she looks for when hiring, Cpl MD Lisa Holt explained… “people with a great sense of humour who know how to have a laugh even at the most difficult times.”

Lisa elaborated… “Compassion and kindness, whilst always having the company growth to the forefront of their mind…Finally, I look out for really good listeners – they tend to be the most intuitive people.”

While Lauren Redmond, Director of the Cpl Office Support Temp division adds… “Having a positive, proactive and hardworking attitude is key. If you have this, you are more likely to love your job and if you love your job you will always make it a success. If nothing else, it’s easier to get up in the morning too!”

If you’re preparing for an interview, always include some examples that show your ability to get on well with people and a positive, can-do attitude. These soft skills will speak volumes in any interview, no matter what sector you’re working in.


The importance of resilience comes up again and again in business. Cpl Director Deborah Crilly explains… “Without resilience and the determination that comes with resilience, it’s difficult to perform. When I meet with recruiters or trainee recruiters, I am looking for the experience in their career, or from their personal lives, that demonstrates to me that they have that resilience.”

Whether you’d like to be a recruiter or are working in another sector, the importance of resilience remains.

Lisa Broderick, Cpl Cork Director, confirms… “People need to drive on and overcome obstacles to make it in recruitment and any other fast-paced industry. It’s important to be able to show you won’t just give up when the going gets tough.”

Again, when prepping for an interview prepare some examples of times when you’ve overcome obstacles and be ready to show your aptitude for resilience.

Passion & a desire to succeed

Finally, when interviewing passion and a sense of drive are two of the top things Cpl managers mentioned when asked about the top qualities they look for when hiring.

David Martins, Senior Manager of the Cpl Cash to Invoice team explains “The main qualities I seek when hiring for my team, are passion and ambition… I want to hear how much you love your job. You can learn most things, but you can’t learn passion and ambition.”

Ciaran Bergin, Associate Director of Cpl Technology adds… “The key thing I admire most is a proven desire to succeed. If a candidate can show strong examples of where they have previously set ambitious targets and put in the hard work to deliver on their goals that’s usually a strong base for a recruiter, or any professional, to build a skillset out from.”

Overall, if you’re thinking of looking for a new job asking yourself these questions before diving into job applications might save you a lot of time:

  • Do you share the same values as the company?
  • Are you passionate about the job?
  • Do you embrace challenges and change?

Prepare some examples that show these traits and you will have a great basis to demonstrate both your soft and more technical skills. Not only that, but you’ll be confident that if you do get the job, you’ll have shown your true self and be a great match for the company.

If you’re looking for more interview advice you can download our free Interview Handbook, or if you’re interested in joining the Cpl team please get in touch.