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10 Qualities Employers Look for in Job Candidates

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As a global trade hub with a healthy domestic market, Singapore is a place where enterprises—big and small—create a dizzying array of job opportunities each day.

If you’re currently on the hunt for a new job in Singapore, it will help to know the types of workers local employers value. Here are 10 qualities most Singaporean employers look for in job candidates:

1. A Willingness to Improve

Generally speaking, employers tend to favour candidates who demonstrate initiative in improving their skill sets. Resume entries such as SkillsFuture credit courses and other adult education programmes are often seen as green flags by employers, as they indicate a candidate who isn’t resting on their laurels. SkillsFuture is the Singapore national learning programme that aims to Singapore citizens realise their full potential through lifelong learning. As a start, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive SGD 500 credit from the government to encourage them to take up courses that will help in their educational and professional endeavours. Engaging in such learning pursuits is sure to make your application more attractive to prospective employers.

If you’re currently on the hunt for a new job in Singapore, it will help to know the types of workers local employers value. Here are 10 qualities most Singaporean employers look for in job candidatesClick To Tweet

2. A Strong Work Ethic

All other things being equal, most employers prefer candidates with a strong work ethic compared to candidates that are merely technically skilled. Employers may try to screen for work ethic by asking candidates to describe how they tackled difficult projects in their previous jobs. They may also ask about what the candidate tends to do when workloads are light. Asking these and other questions will allow employers to look for signs of dedication to a job or career path.

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3. Communication Skills

Good communicators are surprisingly rare and are quite sought after by most employers. The ability to communicate well helps prevent confusion in the workplace, demonstrates leadership potential, builds trust and respect, and saves valuable time. By preparing for your interviews in advance, you may prove to your employer that you have the communication skills their organisation needs.

4. Cultural Sensitivity

Singapore is an incredibly diverse country. Not only does it have a core population composed of Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities, but it is also now home to people originating from every country on earth. Virtually every sizable organisation in Singapore is composed of people coming from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. What’s more, local businesses often serve global markets. This makes cultural sensitivity a non-negotiable trait for job candidates in Singapore.

5. Conscientiousness

Given Singapore’s current push to become an innovation hub, businesses are now more motivated to select candidates who display traits associated with conscientiousness. Candidates that show diligence, common sense, and self-control are much more likely to be selected for important positions than those who just follow orders.

6. Ambition

Many organisations are now looking to develop talents internally, rather than pay premiums to headhunters and recruiting agencies. As a result, a few employers may be more willing to look past minor deficiencies in qualification and experience if a candidate shows ambition and a capacity for improvement.

They may look for signs of ambition by asking candidates where they see themselves in the future. Additionally, they may also try to ascertain ambition based on how the candidate frames their answers to their interview questions.

7. Autonomy

The current trend in modern workplaces is smaller, more agile teams. This has been made possible with modern technologies that have allowed for better productivity than ever before.

This paradigm necessarily requires employees to exercise more ownership over their projects. Candidates that show initiative and entrepreneurial qualities are likely going to be preferred over those that need constant supervision.

8. Dependability

Hiring and keeping employees is a much bigger investment than many job candidates realise. In a lot of cases, salaries may even represent only a small part of the total cost of hiring after accounting for training expenses and recruitment fees.

Employers will also understandably want to maximise the productivity they could get out of each candidate. This means they may reject candidates who change jobs too often or have shown a history of unreliability at their previous jobs.

9. Honesty

If you’re looking for a job, resist the temptation to pad your resume or engage in white lies during your interview. If you’re applying at an established company, chances are the interviewer will have a very good instinct for spotting little fibs. While it’s often difficult for employers to tell if applicants are truly dishonest, the fact is they don’t need any solid proof to reject a candidate.

10. Digital Readiness

Businesses and other organisations are now under intense pressure to effectively adopt emergent technologies into their daily processes, as it is not only a requisite for competitiveness but it is also often a matter of legal compliance. For this reason, digital readiness is a requisite for virtually all jobs available today.

Digital readiness is more than just being able to browse the internet or handle basic work apps. It is the ability to understand the application and implications of digital and information management technology.

Thus, digitally ready candidates don’t just use contemporary tools but they also effectively leverage technology to the advantage of the organisation. Fortunately, various SkillsFuture credit courses are available to help candidates improve their digital readiness as well as more foundational work skills.

Do You Have What It Takes? 

Singapore’s culture and economy’s trajectory have caused local employers to desire a unique set of qualities in job candidates. While having these qualities will not guarantee that you will land the job you want, developing them is a surefire way to long-term professional success.


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