Insights / Employers

Five Qualities of a Great Employee – Interviewing Tips

A great employee is someone who can provide a unique perspective and has a positive influence on other employees. So, how can you find them? In this blog, we'll share the key traits you should be looking out for in an interview.

Five Qualities of a Great Employee – Interviewing Tips


Tech Talent Engine


With the average person spending around 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime, your environment, and the people you spend your time with are incredibly important. Organisations play a key role in selecting a diverse range of candidates that reflect the values of the organisation so that the business can continue to move in the right direction.

When employers select the wrong type of people, it can often have a negative ripple effect on organisations. However, it’s not always easy to spot them during the interview.

So, how do you make sure you select the right people for your business?

What makes a great employee?

A great employee combines a unique blend of skills, attitude and dedication that contributes to the success and morale of the workplace. Whether they can provide a unique perspective, contribute to the conversation, or engage with others, a great employee means something different for every organisation.

Whilst it’s important that employers hire people with similar values, hiring a diverse range of colleagues is equally as important as it brings a wider range of perspectives. Ultimately, this contributes far more to your success.

That said, here are five great qualities to watch out for your next employee and how to spot them in the interview:


Let’s be honest – we all make mistakes from time to time. In a work environment, being accountable is an extremely overrated skill that many employers place a high value on. When individuals take accountability for their actions and outcomes, it fosters a culture of reliability and trust within a team or organisation.

Accountable employees demonstrate a commitment to meeting deadlines, fulfilling their duties, and achieving goals which ultimately contributes to the overall success of the company.

This trait goes hand-in-hand with integrity, as accountable individuals are more likely to admit mistakes, learn from them and actively seek solutions to rectify any issues. From an employer perspective, accountable employees not only enhance team cohesion but also contribute to a positive work environment.

Ultimately, it’s important to hire employees who reflect your core values as their attitudes inspire others to always perform optimally.

One study, The Contagion of Bad Behaviour by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, proves the contagious nature of negative conduct in the workplace. This study highlights the importance of addressing and preventing negative behaviours in the workplace and the impact colleagues play as role models to others.

You can spot accountability in someone by promoting them with the following questions:

  • Can you share one of your weaknesses?
  • Can you provide an example of a situation where you took ownership of a project or task from start to finish?
  • Have you ever made a mistake at work? If so, how did you address it, and what steps did you take to prevent similar errors in the future?
  • Tell me about a time when you had conflicting priorities or demands on your time. How did you manage these competing demands, and what was the outcome?

These questions can help you assess a candidate's ability to take responsibility for their actions, handle challenges and learn from their mistakes.

Continuous learner

The rate at which technology is improving is quicker than ever before. Regardless of your background or previous experience, being a continuous learner is a trait many employers should embrace. Whether you work in IT, Marketing or Sales, it’s imperative to cultivate a mindset of continuous learning and proactively engage in professional development.

Embracing emerging technologies, attending relevant workshops, and participating in industry conferences are just a few examples of ways you can embrace learning. Jill McKinney, Director of Delivery, said:

A desire for self-improvement and a willingness to learn new things is essential. Good employees seek growth opportunities, whether through further education, training programmes or learning from their experiences on the job.

So, how can you spot a continuous learner?

Whilst it’s not always easy to notice this trait in an interview, there are a few questions you can ask to prompt an answer. For example, what hobbies and interests do they have outside of work and what do they do in their spare time?

It could be that they work in IT but outside of work, they are learning programming languages such as JavaScript and Python. Alternatively, they may be an avid sports person and take part in outside hobbies such as running or football.

An interest in pursuits outside of work shows a commitment to personal growth and learning that extends beyond the immediate professional atmosphere.

#### Reliability

You could hire the most experienced candidate there is, but if they can’t be relied on to consistently deliver quality work and meet deadlines, their experience may not translate into success. Ultimately, reliability is the cornerstone of a productive and efficient workplace. It ensures that projects progress smoothly, tasks are completed on time and team members can depend on one another.

Without reliability, the expertise of even the most seasoned professional may be overshadowed by missed deadlines, inconsistent performance, and a lack of trust among team members.

In contrast, a consistently reliable employee, even if they are less experienced, can contribute significantly to the overall success of the team.

Employers can do a background check on employees before they enter the organisation to ensure reliability. This can include requesting references or previous examples of work to demonstrate capability.

This proactive approach helps in identifying candidates who not only possess the necessary skills and experience but also have a proven track record of reliability. By prioritising reliability in the hiring process, organisations can build a workforce that is well-known for the results it delivers.

Effective communication

The ability to communicate clearly and openly is vital in a team setting. Good employees listen actively, express themselves clearly and are open to feedback.

Communication is essential to every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s communicating a deadline, understanding someone’s point of view, or developing a rapport with a client, communication helps to facilitate meaningful interactions.

In the context of the workplace, communication ensures clarity regarding expectations, timelines, and project requirements, fostering a work environment where tasks are completed efficiently and collaboratively.

How many times have you come across delays and errors in projects due to poor miscommunication?

Whether it’s an unclear deadline, objectives or time frame, small hurdles can have a huge impact on workplaces. On the other hand, when communication is clear concise and consistent, it acts as a catalyst for seamless collaboration, innovation, and success in achieving goals.

As such, fostering a culture of effective communication is not just an aspiration but a necessity for the smooth functioning and success of any workplace. Here are some signs of a great communicator:

  • Active listener – they show a genuine interest in what others are saying, ask relevant questions and provide feedback that demonstrates understanding.
  • Body language – they use positive body language.
  • Openness to feedback – they take it on the chin.

By paying attention to these indicators, you can access whether someone possesses the qualities of a good communicator.


If there’s one trait employers should be looking out for in the interview - it’s adaptability.

In a fast-paced and dynamic setting, conditions can shift rapidly, and an adaptable employee can easily navigate through such changes. This trait is closely linked to effective problem-solving skills, enabling individuals to assess situations quickly, identify alternative solutions and implement the best course of action.

Adaptability fosters innovation by encouraging a mindset that embraces change and values continuous improvement. Those who have this skill tend to be quick learners, staying relevant in an evolving workplace and contributing to a culture of growth.

Additionally, adaptability is often associated with resilience – the capacity to bounce back from setbacks, persevere in the face of challenges and emerge stronger. If you work in the tech sector, then you’ll appreciate how quickly circumstances can change.

To assess a candidate's adaptability, you can ask about past experiences. For example, “Can you share an example of when you had to quickly adjust your approach to meet a changing deadline?”

You can also test someone’s character by how committed they are to continuous learning. A willingness to learn and adapt to new information is always a positive sign.

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