How to answer "What do you think are the most important qualities for success in this role?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This Question

During a job interview, the interviewer wants to assess if you have the necessary skills and qualities that are required to excel in the role you are interviewing for. Asking about the important qualities for success in the role will help them know if you have a clear understanding of what the role entails and if you have the right mindset to succeed in the job. Additionally, your answer can give the interviewer a glimpse of what you can bring to the role and the organization as a whole.

Therefore, it is essential to approach the question thoughtfully and provide a response that aligns with the job description and company culture.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, focus on the most crucial qualities for success in the particular role you are interviewing for. Here are some tips:

  • Review the job description and research the company culture to get a good understanding of what qualities are necessary for success in the role.
  • Identify a few essential qualities and provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated these qualities in your previous roles, hobbies, or academic studies.
  • Be honest and authentic in your response. Give a genuine answer that highlights your strengths and shows how they align with the job requirements.
  • Avoid using clichés or generic answers such as "hardworking" or "team player." Be specific and give context and examples to back up your assertions.
  • When answering, always tie your response back to the role and company. This shows the interviewer that you have done your research and understand the job requirements and company culture.

Remember, the interviewer is looking for a candidate who has a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed in the role. If you provide a thoughtful, well-researched and specific answer, you will stand out as a strong candidate for the job.

Sample answers

Good Answer: In my opinion, the most important qualities for success in this role are strong communication skills, attention to detail, the ability to work well under pressure, and the willingness to learn new things. These qualities will help me effectively communicate with team members and stakeholders, ensure that projects are completed accurately and on time, handle unexpected challenges, and continuously improve my skills and knowledge.

Bad Answer: I don't know, I guess just showing up to work on time and doing what you're told.

Explanation: This answer shows a lack of effort and preparation on the part of the jobseeker. It does not demonstrate any understanding of the skills or qualities that are important for the role and therefore, will not impress the interviewer or show the job seeker in a positive light.

Good Answer: In my experience, the qualities that make for success in this role include a strong work ethic, the ability to think critically and solve problems, a desire to continually improve, and the ability to work effectively in a team. These qualities have been crucial in my past roles, and I am confident they will enable me to excel in this one as well.

Bad Answer: Well, I think the most important quality is probably just being a likable person. If people like you, they're more likely to give you what you want.

Explanation: This answer shows a lack of understanding of the role and what it requires. Being likeable is certainly beneficial in any work environment, but it is not typically one of the most important qualities for success in a given role. Additionally, this answer comes across as insincere and overly simplistic.

Good Answer: Based on my research and understanding of the role, the most important qualities for success would be strong problem-solving skills, the ability to work efficiently under pressure, excellent time-management skills, and the ability to collaborate with team members.

Bad Answer: Honestly, I have no idea what qualities are important for this role. I just thought it would be interesting to apply and see what happens.

Explanation: This answer demonstrates a lack of effort and preparation on the part of the jobseeker. It also shows a lack of understanding or interest in the role, suggesting that the candidate may not be fully committed to the position or the company.
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