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Core Skills Hiring Managers Look for in Employees Across All Industries

COVID-19 has required the global workforce to endure some sudden and serious changes. With that also came the emergence of new practices and technologies for businesses and employees worldwide. The expanded remote work environment created a unique opportunity for hiring managers to find qualified candidates almost anywhere in the world.

That being said, hiring managers still expect certain foundational skills from their new hires. In this blog, we’ll go over the 5 skills hiring managers look for across all industries.

1. Problem-Solving

The leading skill that hiring managers seek is the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively. Hiring managers look to recruit problem solvers because they take initiative when a crisis arises instead of depending on others for a solution. A problem-solver is more efficient and helps set the tone for how others should be approaching their work and any issues that may occur.

Problem-solvers usually end up becoming good leaders as well. The best leaders are able to identify a problem, formulate a potential solution, and make adjustments based on the results. This means candidates should strive to have strong communication skills and the ability to handle problems effectively.

2. Teamwork

Even if a potential candidate is a good problem-solver, they can still be dismissed if they don’t work well with others. Teamwork is crucial to building a healthy, viable work culture. 

However, even the best communicators still need the right tools to stay in touch with teammates and collaborate on projects. This means hiring managers need to provide tools such as conferencing software, project management tools, and even the right equipment to facilitate communication amongst team members. 

In addition to recruiting team players, hiring managers also need to focus on building diverse teams. Teams consisting of different races, genders, and backgrounds will bring in different perspectives and ideas, leading to even more successful collaboration.

3. Self-Management

Since more and more businesses are recruiting for remote positions, hiring managers are looking for people who can self-manage and be productive while working from home.

Whether it’s from past remote work experiences or personal projects, hiring managers look for candidates who exhibit self-management skills. Employees with self-management skills have the ability to manage time, multiple projects, and potential job stress—which is why they make great leaders. Since these skills are sometimes hard to identify during interviews, many businesses prefer to hire their leadership internally.

4. Empathy & Emotional Intelligence

Empathy is the bridge that connects us to other people, while emotional intelligence is the ability to control and express your own emotions.

The presence of greater diversity in the modern workplace has created a more significant need for empathetic employees. The very nature of working with people from different backgrounds requires a certain level of understanding. If a team member can’t empathize with others’ views and feelings, they become almost “locked” in their own way of thinking. Once that occurs, the team can’t move forward, and everyone’s progress becomes stagnant. Empathy helps bridge the gap between race, experience, gender, background, and so much more.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that’s not explicitly requested on an application, but is one you need to have in order to be successful in any field. Successful employees are aware of emotional signals and their impact on other people. Empathy is one of the keys to emotional intelligence, and the two work hand-in-hand to create a more successful, creative, and cohesive team.


In our modern world, the competition is fiercer than ever. With millions of potential candidates across the globe, hiring managers have a much larger pool of talent to choose from than ever before. To ensure they’re choosing someone who can grow with the company and potentially into a leadership position, hiring managers look for core skills, like problem-solving, team work, independence, and empathy.

Want to learn more about hiring trends? Check out The Future of Hiring Using Big Data.

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