Lesson 4: Qualities of an Employee

Activity: Personal Qualities Employers Seek in Employees

Key Considerations

In addition to skills, employers of teens and young adults often look for basic qualities in job candidates especially if the candidate has never held a job. Think about your responsibilities as they are associated with either you being a student at school, being a member of your family, holding a job as a member of a club, or even your responsibilities as a friend.


As you consider your responsibilities in those roles, complete the checklist to determine if you have the basic qualities a potential employer is looking for. When you interview with a potential employer and are asked what personal qualities you have, your answer will be more solid if you give an example to validate or prove you have the quality. For instance, you might share with an employer your perfect attendance record during the past school year demonstrates you are reliable. Therefore, if you indicate yes on the checklist, provide evidence to support you have the quality. Be sure to take time to ask other people about your qualities. If your network of friends and family members do not agree with you about having a quality, you may need to truly work on developing the quality. Simply put, if you are the only person in your network who agrees you are self-motivated, it is likely you need to work on further developing this personal quality about yourself.

WELL GROOMEDYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I keep my nails trimmed and clean.   
My hair is trimmed and/or styled so that it is out of my face and eyes.   
My facial and body hair is shaved.   
I wear deodorant.   
I brush my teeth daily and take precautions not to have bad breath.   
I wear clean and ironed clothes.   
Overall, my appearance is tidy   

RELIABLEYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I show up and follow through with commitments I make.   
Others can trust and count on me to come through for them when I make promises.   
I do what others expect me to do; I am cooperative.   
I am punctual.   
Overall, I am dependable.   
COURTEOUSYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I am polite.   
I am considerate.   
I have and use manners by saying please and thank you.   
I do not interrupt others when they are talking.   
I am respectful towards others and their perspectives.   
Overall, I am considered a respectful person.   
TRUSTWORTHYYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I am considered believable by others.   
I can be trusted in any situation.   
I am responsible.   
Overall, others consider me an honest person.   
SELF-MOTIVATEDYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I undertake tasks without supervision or prodding.   
I do not give up easily.   
I go the extra mile to get things done.   
I am willing to learn new things.   
Overall, I am not considered lazy by others.   

AMBITIOUSYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I am enthusiastic, energetic, and upbeat.   
I meet the goals I set for myself.   
Overall, I want to succeed and others know this about me.   

SELF-CONFIDENTYesNoEvidence supporting “Yes”:
I trust in my abilities.   
I take on challenges others may not.   
Overall, I am not arrogant, but I believe in myself.   


  1. Which qualities did you identify you are lacking in or need to improve upon?
  2. Which qualities did others identify for you to improve upon?
  3. For each quality you need to work on, list two things you will do to improve your personal skills in that area.