20 Top Qualities that Determine a Great Employee

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When looking for the ideal employees to add to your existing workforce, remember that though knowledge is an asset, it can be taught. With respect to a person’s basic character, things are not so easy. No need to put the whole emphasis on personality but do give it a heavy weight when picking the best from the pack. In this article, we give you an in-depth look at 20 qualities of a great employee.


Here we discuss 20 qualities to look for whatever the age or sex of the candidate, the industry you’re in or the expected pay. If you want to learn about leadership qualities that are in high demand right now, then check out this article.

1. Ambitious

Ambitious employees are willing to go the extra mile whether to achieve company goals or make their way up the corporate ladder. They will not shirk from putting in their best because they set goals and high expectations for themselves. They also strongly yearn to progress in their career. Ambition triggers openness, creative ideas, and a go-getter attitude – all of which are good for your company. However, your ambitious candidate should have a sensible amount of emotional intelligence within him. This is so that he does not alienate most of his co-workers in the march towards his ambition.

2. Confident

As a manager or a CxO in your startup, you would obviously be happier handing a project over to someone who’s confident over someone who’s hesitant and unsure of himself. A confident employee is also more willing to take risks or go for challenges that an uncertain counterpart would shy from. Great outcomes come from people who have faith in their abilities and talents. If the candidate is someone who you would want to interact directly with a client(s), the latter too will be impressed by the person’s self-assuredness and therefore feel like continuing the business relationship with him/her and your company.

3. Humble

Nobody likes someone who boasts or brags about their accomplishments. The more preferred candidate for a future employee is someone who would prove their value through their hard and commendable work rather than through words, whether they are true or exaggerated. A productive workplace should not have arrogant employees.

4. Committed/Passionate

All employers love a person who’s willing to do more than what’s required from him (even things that don’t fall into his line of duty), is constantly exceeding expectations and happily accepts any task or project, however difficult it may be. In addition, a person who is passionate about his job will not feel like he is working. Thus, he will naturally put in his best because he loves what he does. He also derives happiness from the time spent with his co-workers and superiors. Though money is a motivator to work, people who work for you should also appear like they enjoy what they’re doing to get that money in their hands.

Two questions you can ask at the interview to identify a passionate person are given below with how they help:

i. What was it about your work that made you most satisfied at your last place of employment?

The answer to the above question will let you know whether the person is really looking to put his passion into practice by working at a particular job or instead, looking for comfort with a specific work style or culture.

ii. How do you keep up-to-date with your industry?

If the candidate is unable to cite any personal or professional development he’s done of late, it is definitely a red flag as far as passion is concerned. Those who are really passionate about what they do, spend extra time outside working hours to better their skills and develop their knowledge. The genuinely enthusiastic would probably smile and have a spark in their eye when answering this question.

5. Reliable

What could be more irritating than an employee who does not follow instructions? Either he is not as serious as he should be or did not listen attentively when the instructions were given. Either way, the result is mistakes, faulty products and the missing of important deadlines not to forget unhappy, disappointed customers and/or clients. An employee who does not listen to the whole thing but likes to budge in between presents a picture of lack of respect for his boss. Following instructions shows that the employee takes his responsibilities seriously and is capable of shouldering additional responsibility. Reliable also means showing up for work on time, informing the concerned authorities when he cannot make it, and keeping to deadlines. A dependable worker has a greater likelihood of remaining on the payroll.

6. Positive

Generally, people don’t like being around those who are pessimistic, negative or just plain unhappy. Just like the co-workers, an employer would love to see someone who comes to work with a smile on his face and is always optimistic, whatever the situation. Positive and happy behavior is contagious. It practically lights up the workplace. However tedious or menial the task, a positive person goes about his work happily and efficiently. In addition, problems call for solutions and employers desire workers who can recognize problems and assist in suggesting, devising and executing solutions. The more problems they help solve, the more precious they become to your organization. The ideal employee is willing to accept responsibility for all that he does.

Optimistic people are a recipe for better teams and better culture. In short, it is really great to have a positive employee to realize your organization’s bigger goals.

A wonderful way to identify positive candidates during the interview process is to ask questions such as:

Can you give me one or two examples of things you’re really optimistic about in life?

7. Culturally fit

Finding a candidate suitable for your office culture is easier said than done. First, make sure that you have a clear idea of what your company culture is about. Think along the lines of the characteristics and values that you and your existing staff hold important. Your hiring team should be well-versed with your company culture. Decision-making, language, and daily workplace practices also show workplace culture.

Some examples of interview questions that can help you find an employee suitable for your office culture are given below:

  • Name 3 of your key work-related values. Share examples of situations where you demonstrated these values.
  • Did you ever commit a mistake at work? If yes, how did you fix the problem?

When you do find someone who is a cultural fit, you should be prepared to attract him to things like great compensation packages, inspiring leadership or opportunities to have a direct role in projects.

Employees who are not a match to the company’s environment usually leave in favor of a work culture or environment that is in harmony with their beliefs and values.

Here’s an example of what it means to be culturally fit. An employee who likes to work in a team and welcomes feedback from all kinds of people is prone to be efficient in an organization where teams are vital for daily operation. On the other hand, an employee who is not comfortable with a team wouldn’t be a suitable fit for a workplace with team culture.

8. Driven or self-motivated

Self-motivated individuals don’t need to be pushed to get work done. They possess the stamina to perform outstanding work and usually, work hard consistently. You don’t have to worry about slack or lost hours when there’s a self-motivated employee working for you. They also fix a pace and model that others can and want to follow. The return on investment for such individuals is very high because with respect to cost, they don’t need additional rewards.

Self-motivated people know what their purpose is in life, and they live it. They rise above adversity, problems, momentary failure and loss. They believe in others and themselves too. They epitomize humility and can laugh at themselves, take criticism and admit vulnerabilities. They are persistent and try to keep updating their knowledge on a regular basis.

9. Enthusiastic/eager

People who arrive for work energetic and enthusiastic every day, have an edge over their counterparts who are not as enthusiastic and also, easily burn out. Eager and upbeat employees are always happy to learn new things and to strive for greater success. They help to build a working environment that triggers new ideas and is unique and enjoyable to their co-workers too.

10. Hard-working

Nothing can replace the benefits of hard work. There are some people who work hard for a few years and then lose pace. Also, people who are particular about working only from 9 to 5 even when urgent projects need to be completed, cannot be considered as as hardworking as one who is willing to put in extra time and effort. The basis of an effective organization lies in how capable it is of hiring result-oriented and industrious workers who execute.

Ideal employees keep reminding themselves of how essential it is to themselves and the company they work for to keep the hard work going.

11. Team Spirit

Plenty of companies have teams. It is not only essential to perform well as individuals but also as a member of the team. To do well in a team requires patience, tolerance, and good social skills. Team efforts are associated with many advantages: work gets done faster and is more likely to get done when more people are involved, relations among employees improve, and members of the team learn from each other’s characters, feedback and contributions to the team.

12. Self-managed

Every boss loves someone who doesn’t have to be told what is expected of him and is even willing to do more. In addition to being aware of his roles and duties, the self-managed employee strives to improve himself, reduce his weaknesses and play up his strengths. If the self-managed employee is self-disciplined, even better. He will not waste his employer’s precious money and time on distractions such as the cellphone or casual internet browsing. He is also punctual, doesn’t procrastinate or take unnecessary breaks and is conscientious.

13. Proactive

There are two kinds of kinds of employees – reactive and proactive. The former wait till they are told to do something while the latter take initiative in discovering inventive methods of being productive so that their company gains from it in the process. The latter thinks ahead and implements without expecting a request – he is a rock star. A proactive worker truly stands out, and any manager would favor him for advancement.

Further, hire those people who are willing to take action and chances. Of course, chances could lead to failures but then, failures are the stepping stone to success. Failures help to build up confidence while encouraging the birth of new ideas. Action-oriented and not stagnant employees are the ones who are going to make money for your company.

14. Marketable

Marketable means the employee should be presentable to clients. He should be someone who can represent your business in a way that conveys a good impression of it to the client. So in addition to being well-groomed, he should be professional and have a favorable personality.

15. Detail-oriented

It is essential to pay attention to details. Even the slightest of mistakes could create major issues. Employees who take detail seriously are also ones who delight in their work. They put in the extra effort for minor details that many others possibly take for granted. In simple language, this means crossing the t’s or dotting the i’s.

16. Autonomous

Employee autonomy means that they have freedom and discretion with respect to how to schedule their work and coming out with their way to carry it out. Being a boss, you have multiple tasks to look after. So, when you delegate a project to the individual you’re appointing, you wouldn’t be happy if he kept asking you questions. You would prefer execution.

An autonomous employee is capable of managing his time well enough to get monster tasks done quickly and productively.

17. Creative

Businesses need people with great ideas to really grow and prosper. Your employees should be ones who are willing to experiment with new things and think out-of-the-box that in itself will help reduce the redundancy and mundaneness of the daily routine. In addition, it will help improve employee and company productivity.

18. Honest

Whatever and how many other qualities an employee may have, he is incomplete without authenticity and integrity. Employees who are not forthright and honest would lead to clients being out off and consequently, trouble for your company.

Honesty and transparency are two sides of the same coin. So, an honest employee will be transparent at all times. Transparency improves the office culture and environment and makes people feel happy within the walls of the workplace.

Honest and humble people, especially when they are in the higher ranks of the company, are greatly appreciated.

19. Communicator

Employers are happy to hire employees who can communicate in a lucid manner and well, whether when speaking or writing. Inappropriate or inaccurate employee-employee communication can lead to many issues within the company and with clients as well.

20. Has leadership qualities

Leadership starts with self-confidence and is strengthened by repetitive success and positive reinforcement. If you have a person with leadership qualities working for you, you can consider possibilities of giving him a key leadership role in your company.

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I think that all 20 qualities of great employees was is what every employee should have.Because if they don't have them they will never keep a job.I've had bacically everyone of these qualities in order to hold a job done.


euhhhh i like


duhh good job i think its good and fun and smart


I thinkWhen hiring for any size business, it's not what the candidates know today. Information can always be taught. The most intelligent companies hire on future success and heavily weigh personality when determining the most apt employees.

Regardless of industry, pay, age or sex, all ideal employees share some common traits. These include, but are not limited to individuals who can be described as or possess the following:

1. Action-oriented - Hire employees who take action and take chances. While chances may lead to failure, they will more often lead to success and mold confidence while generating new ideas. Stagnant employees won't make your company money; action-oriented employees will.

2. Intelligent - Intelligence is not the only thing, but it's a strong foundation for success. While there are many variables you can be flexible on when hiring, intelligence is a must or you're going to be spending an abundance of time proofing work, micromanaging and dealing with heightened stress levels.

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3. Ambitious - Employees can only help your company if they want to help themselves have a better career. Ambition is what makes a company innovative, it's what spawns creative ideas and what generates candor and openness amongst employees.

4. Autonomous - You are hiring an employee who can get the job done without extensive hand-holding. As the owner of the company, you have your own tasks to take care of and, when you delegate activities to the individual whom you're hiring, you don't want 20 questions, rather you want execution.

5. Display Leadership - Do you see this individual being a significant part of your company and leading future employees of the firm? Leadership begins with self-confidence, is molded by positive reinforcement and repetitive success.

6. Cultural Fit - Are you going to enjoy working with this individual on a daily basis? Are your employees going to enjoy working with this individual? When recruiting, personality can mean the difference between an employee who doesn't stay long and fails to produce vs. an all-star who is going to significantly increase your competitive advantage.

7. Upbeat - Employees who come into work fresh and energetic everyday are going to outproduce workers who think negatively and easily burn-out when they encounter defeat. Upbeat and optimistic employees create a working environment that is unique, spawns new ideas and, just as important is enjoyable for the other people involved.

8. Confident - Confidence produces results and encourages employees to take on challenges that others shy away from. The best companies are highly confident in their abilities to provide a superior product or service and this belief spawns a culture of improvement and client confidence.

9. Successful - One of the most effective ways to predict future success in a candidate is their past success at other firms. Have they remained at companies for a prolonged period? Have they met company goals? What achievements have these individuals accomplished? If one looks closely, a lot can be deciphered from a resume.

10. Honest - An employee can have all the talent in the world, but without integrity and authenticity, nothing great will be accomplished. If nothing else, you want honest, forthright employees at your organization, otherwise your company will turn off clients and, ultimately won't survive.

11. Detail Oriented - Attention to detail is crucial or mistakes will be made within your company. Detail-oriented employees take pride in their work. They dot the "i's", cross the "t's" and get the job done.

12. Modest - The most sought after employees shout their value not through their words, but rather through their work. They are humble, don't need to pump themselves up in front of others and quietly outproduce those who do.

13. Hard working - Nothing great is accomplished easily. Nothing great is accomplished via hiring 9 - 5 employees. Rather, the foundation of an effective organization lies in its ability to recruit results oriented, hard working employees who execute.

14. Marketable - By marketable, I mean presentable to clients. Business is not a fashion contest nor do looks dictate success, however most successful applicants are well put together and, when dealing with clients are going to represent your organization as professional and organized.

15. Passionate - Employees who are passionate about their job never work a day in their life. While money should be a motivator in all individuals whom you hire, make sure that they enjoy the journey when pursuing that end-goal.

In the End

You can train on an employee on your product or service, but you can't train someone to have integrity, resiliency, self-confidence and work ethic. The smaller the business, the more crucial any hire is. Be flexible on background requirements, but continue to be stringent on personality traits.

Martin Luenendonk

Totally agree! Awesome insights. Cheers, Martin


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