Episode #86 – Traits and Characteristics of the BEST Candidates and Employees

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, animal health and veterinary recruiter and executive search consultant, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the traits and characteristics of the best candidates and employees. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, in our previous podcast, we talked about the way in which Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can gain an edge in the marketplace by offering value other than just their talent and their experience. Today’s podcast actually dovetails quite well with that one, wouldn’t you say?

Stacy: I would definitely say that’s the case. But today, we’re looking at the issue from the point of view of employers.

Samantha: Can’t job seekers and candidates also benefit from today’s topic?

Stacy: They absolutely can! In fact, I encourage them to listen to today’s podcast and write down what they hear about the traits and characteristics of A-level candidates and employees. If they want to advance and grow their careers, then they should know about these traits. Better yet, they should exemplify them.

Samantha: Why is this topic particularly important for employers?

Stacy: Because we’re in a candidates’ job market and top talent is scarce right now. Since that’s the case, employers and hiring managers need to find those “diamond in the rough” candidates who maybe don’t have all of the skills and experience the employer wants, but who do have some other desirable traits and characteristics.

Samantha: So that way, the organization can hire them and they can grow into the position?

Stacy: That’s right.

Samantha: So what’s the first characteristic on our list?

Stacy: Our first characteristic deals with ego . . . or more specifically, the lack of an ego. For A-level candidates and employees, their ego is NOT their priority. Now, don’t get me wrong. Everyone has an ego, to one extent or another. What’s important is how much of an emphasis a person places on their ego.

If a person makes their ego a top priority, it can get in the way of solving problems and providing value to their employer. On the other hand, if they’re able to keep their ego in check and put other, more important priorities ahead of it, then they can make much better decisions. A talented individual who can control their ego is more valuable than a talented individual who can’t.

Samantha: Stacy, I’ve heard that employers are okay with hiring employees who have a bit of an ego. Is that the case?

Stacy: What employers want is to hire candidates who are confident and who will be confident employees once they are hired. It’s true that people who place a priority on their ego come across as confident. However, I can tell you that an employer would rather have an employee who is truly confident and who does NOT have a big ego that gets in their way.

Samantha: That makes sense. What’s the next item on our list?

Stacy: A-level candidates and employees do not let fear rule their decisions. I’ve talked about this before on our podcast in terms of not being fearful when deciding whether or not to explore new employment opportunities. In this context, though, we’re talking about within the workplace setting.

These types of employees don’t panic. They’re also willing to take chances, even if there’s a measure of risk involved. People who are willing to take risks are more successful than those who are not willing to do so. Those who allow fear to rule their decisions can become “paralyzed” and unable to make the tough choices that are often necessary for success.

And the ability to make tough choices leads us to our next characteristic.

Samantha: Which one is that?

Stacy: The ability to diffuse difficult people and difficult situations. Everyone listening to this podcast has met difficult people, either in their personal life, their professional life, or both. I’d be willing to bet that it’s both. It’s almost impossible to avoid difficult people and difficult situations.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Adversity is unavoidable, and since it’s unavoidable, how you react to adversity will ultimately determine how successful you are in life.”

It goes without saying that some people are easier to work with than others. That’s why candidates and employees who can successfully navigate difficult situations are so valuable. Those who excel in this area are good candidates for management positions.

The next item on our list has to do with motivation.

Samantha: I would imagine that A-level candidates and employees are very highly motivated.

Stacy: They are! However, it goes even beyond that. There’s a good chance that members of our listening audience know about NBA basketball star Larry Bird. Larry is retired now, but he once said that he was only satisfied for a period of three weeks during his Hall of Fame career. Those three weeks consisted of one week following each of the three league championships that his team won.

A-level candidates and great employees are a lot like Larry Bird. They are never satisfied. They’re always looking for ways to get better and for ways to achieve more. They view success as a reason to exert more effort, not less effort. That explains why they excel when other people fall short.

Samantha: I can see why you said these characteristics are also the characteristics of good leaders. These are the types of people that an organization could move into management.

Stacy: Yes, that is definitely the case. And the next trait on our list illustrates that, as well. That trait is holding themselves accountable.

In other words, these types of candidates and employees don’t make excuses or blame other people when things go wrong. Instead, they take responsibility for what they’ve done—or what they haven’t done, if that’s the case. They even take it a step farther. When they’re working in a group or they’re the leader of a group, they sometimes take responsibility for things that ultimately isn’t even their fault. They put the well-being and success of the group ahead of how they’re viewed.

Samantha: That falls in line with what we discussed earlier about how they don’t place a priority on their ego.

Stacy: That’s exactly right. A-level candidates and employees believe that the success of others is more important than their ego or what other people think about them. This is the trait of a true leader.

Another trait of a true leader is the last A-level characteristic on our list, and it’s also something that we’ve discussed before. That something is being a problem solver.

Samantha: That’s right, Stacy. We’ve talked about that in terms of personal branding. If I remember correctly, you said on a previous episode that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals should strive to brand themselves as problem solvers.

Stacy: That’s right. Solving problems is the bottom line for organizations. That’s why employers hire employees in the first place. Because they believe a certain candidate can solve a problem that the organization has. A-level candidates and employees are the types of people who are able to analyze a situation and solve problems. They can even prevent problems from occurring in the first place. And that is the kind of value that employers want the most.

Samantha: Stacy, once again, this is great information for both job seekers and also for employers, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, this is great information for any professional working within the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hiring manager or if you’re a veterinarian. It doesn’t matter if you want to hire these types of candidates, you want to be one of these candidates, or both.

As we’ve said before, everything comes down to value. How much value do you offer as a professional? How much value do the candidates that you’re considering for your open positions offer to your organization? What are the types of value that you offer or that are being offered to you?

Samantha: Stacy, this seems like a place where a recruiter or a search consultant can be of help to job seekers or candidates and also to employers. Would you say that’s a fair assessment?

Stacy: Yes, I would absolutely say that’s a fair assessment.

On the employer side, partnering with an experienced search consultant can help to improve the quality of your hires. On the job seeker or candidate side, partnering with a good recruiter can help to improve your chances to grow your career the way that you want to grow it. This includes by increasing both the types of value that you can offer to employers and also the amount of value that you can offer.

Once again, talent and experience are important components. However, they are NOT the only components. There are other things involved, including the traits and characteristics that we’ve discussed today.

If you’re an employer, hire with all of these characteristics in mind. If you’re a job seeker or candidate, strive to possess as many of these traits as you possibly can. If you’re able to do that, then you almost can’t go wrong, no matter who you are.

Samantha: Stacy, once again, thank you for this great information! I’m sure our listeners found it to be interesting.

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. I look forward to our next podcast!