Five Personality Traits That Impress Me

laughing in the interview

By Phil Gerard

Have I mentioned before that I meet with a lot of people? For me it’s one of the highlights of my work. I have met so many great individuals and I thought I would celebrate that by highlighting some personality traits that always impress me.


Being punctual is a must but being there at the exact time is impressive to me – and not more than five minutes early.  Everything earlier is too much and can be awkward. The person you are meeting might still be in a meeting with someone or otherwise occupied.

On the same note, sometimes things happen and we run late. It happens. As much as we try to plan for an early arrival. If that happens, a quick text or phone call will often smooth things over.


People will never say, what a jerk, he sent me a thank you message.

Whether you are meeting with someone for an interview or casual get-to-know-you coffee, a thank you is just basic courtesy. Hardcopy thank you cards may have a special touch but they arrive late and can get lost. A thoughtful email will do the trick and is immediate. What is impressive is a thoughtful thank you that makes the recipient feel that the person invested some time into crafting the message and remembered something that was said during the meeting.

Authenticity and Transparency

Sometimes I can feel right away that what you see is what you get. There is no show. I love that. With authentic people there are no surprises. I have had tricky situations in my searches. In the same type of situation one person was completely transparent and upfront from the start while the other person played the cards too close to the chest.  In the first case everything worked out beautifully because there was transparency and authenticity from the beginning.


There are many ways to demonstrate respect but one example I want to highlight is respecting the process in a search. What I mean by that is following the rules of engagement laid out. In postings it often says no phone calls and yet some people do make that call. Or when it says ‘we will get back to you’ let them do just that.


Talented people often have a dash of humility. They are confident in their abilities and with who they are. Checking one’s ego at the door comes across to me as a strength. Name dropping and egos don’t impress me.

In this context I also always appreciate it when candidates are professional about their current and previous employers. Being gracious, even if you have or had the most awful job, makes you look good.

Humility also means not thinking you know everything better and coming to a meeting or interview with a plethora of suggestions on how the organization could do a better job.

Nobody is perfect of course, I often analyze afterwards how a meeting went  and how I did.  Everyone has good days and not so good ones. But it is always refreshing when a meeting is enjoyable and you leave in a great mood.

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