Pandemic Shifting What Companies Now Look for in Job Candidates, Survey Finds

April 6, 2021

“Ability to work independently” tops the list of qualities hiring managers most want to see, PeopleScout survey reveals

CHICAGO, Ill.—April 6, 2021—Over the past year, the pandemic has changed so many facets of the job market—but there is one area where job seekers may want to pay particular attention: what companies are looking for in job candidates. According to a survey out today from leading global RPO provider, PeopleScout, the overwhelming majority of hiring managers say the pandemic has changed what qualities they want to see in potential new hires. The most important quality they’re hoping to see? A job candidate’s ability to work independently.  

In the survey, 71% of hiring managers say the pandemic has impacted the qualities they look for in job candidates, with the vast majority noting “ability to work independently” (94%) as an essential quality. Meanwhile, 68% of hiring managers say they are having a hard time finding qualified candidates for their open positions.

“The job market has changed substantially over the past year, and so have the qualities that matter most to those who are hiring. We want to help people who are looking for work better understand those changes so that they can put their best foot forward on their resumes and in job interviews,” said PeopleScout President Brannon Lacey. “PeopleScout works with companies across the U.S. and around the globe to help them find the best job candidates, and job seekers can use these insights to stay up to date on what employers are looking for in a quickly changing job market to help them stand out.”

Since the pandemic’s onset, the most critical qualities that hiring managers will be looking for in job candidates, in order of importance, are:

  1. Ability to work independently.
  2. Ability to handle stress.
  3. Flexibility.
  4. Communication.
  5. Being self-guided.

About the survey: the PeopleScout survey of hiring managers was conducted between Dec. 19, 2020 and Jan. 2, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 4%.

About PeopleScout
PeopleScout, a TrueBlue company, is a leading RPO provider managing talent solutions that span the global economy, with end-to-end MSP and talent advisory capabilities supporting total workforce needs. PeopleScout boasts 97% client retention managing the most complex programs in the industry. The company’s thousands of forward-looking talent professionals provide clients with the edge in the people business by consistently delivering now while anticipating what’s next. Affinix™, PeopleScout’s proprietary talent acquisition platform, empowers faster engagement with the best talent through an AI-driven, consumer-like candidate experience with one-point ATS and VMS integration and single sign-on. Leveraging the power of data gleaned from engaging millions of candidates and contingent associates every year, PeopleScout enhances talent intelligence for clients across more than 70 countries with headquarters in Chicago, Sydney and London and global delivery centers in Toronto, Montreal, Charlotte, Bristol, Krakow, Gurgaon and Bangalore. For more information, please visit

Press Contact:
Sarah Katz Candelario
Director of Marketing & Communications