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6 Top Intangible Traits That Make a Good Candidate a Truly Great Hire

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

Every Animal Health and Veterinary employer looking to hire wants a candidate that has the right skills and experience. And when I say skills, I’m talking primarily about hard (or technical) skills.

However, hard skills and experience is not all that makes a truly great hire that turns into an exceptional employee. Soft skills are also a factor, skills such as communication, collaboration, time management, etc. But sometimes, an employer must go even beyond that to find great hires. What’s beyond that? Intangible traits or characteristics, things that are not readily apparent on a resume or even during a face-to-face interview.

These intangible traits or characteristics are very valuable to employers, whether they can detect them or not in candidates during the hiring process. It’s a case of “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What you DO know is that if you had an employee with these traits, you would recognize the value of that employee and what they bring to the organization.

The “exceptional candidate lottery”

The key is to recognize those same traits in the candidates that you interview. If you’re able to do that, then you can turn what seems to be a good candidate into a truly great hire. And then that truly great hire can turn into a truly phenomenal employee.

With all of this in mind, below are six top intangible traits that make a good candidate a truly great hire.

#1— They have no ego (or they have firm control over it).

Having confidence is good. Being cocky is rarely good. A great candidate should have confidence, but not be cocky. Unfortunately, an ego can sometimes get in the way of that dynamic. While an ego can be a catalyst for achievement, it should not be considered more important than the work the person is doing or the people with whom they’re doing said work.

#2—They hold themselves accountable.

This is related to #1 on our list. If a professional has firm control over their ego, then they should have no problem holding themselves accountable and taking responsibility for things that are their fault. It’s when a professional allows their ego to take precedence that they start blaming others for things that go wrong. Accountability is a crucial trait for top candidates and for great employees.

#3— They’re not easily satisfied (if ever).

National Basketball Association legend Larry Bird once said that he was only satisfied for three weeks during his entire career. And that was one week following each of his three NBA championships. It’s the same for these candidates. They’re rarely, if ever, satisfied because they’re always striving to grow and evolve. They want to become better in as many areas as they possibly can. They never rest on their laurels or “coast.” Instead, they’re driven to succeed.

#4—They can manage/defuse conflict.

First of all, these candidates do not create conflict. It’s not their nature. However, they take it one step further by not avoiding it, either. They recognize and understand the value of defusing conflict, especially in a collaborative situation in which there is a common goal. Even if someone personally attacks them, they’re able to avoid internalizing the conflict and continue on the correct course of action. This intangible (and rare) trait makes up for almost any other deficiency in their candidacy.

#5—They do not let fear rule their decisions.

I have written about fear on many occasions. The rule is simple: those professionals who do not allow fear to rule their decisions are more successful in their jobs and in their careers than those who do allow fear to rule their decisions. This applies to everyone, too, from the entry-level employee to the CEO or practice owner. If you have a candidate who has a history of being fearless, then you should seriously consider hiring that candidate.

#6—They’re problem solvers.

I’ve also written about this on many occasions. Candidates who can solve problems are incredibly attractive and valuable to employers. That’s because there are plenty of problem creators and a lack of problem solvers overall in the marketplace, and that includes within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Specifically, employers want candidates who can overcome obstacles, challenges, and adversity and still find a way to solve problems. If you find such a candidate, then once again, you should seriously consider hiring them in some capacity.

In fact, if you find a professional who possesses not one, but all of these traits, then that’s the equivalent of winning the “exceptional candidate lottery.” This is a person who can make a tremendously positive impact on your organization in multiple ways.

The difference a search consultant makes

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, skills and experience are important, but they’re not everything. They don’t ultimately determine the value or potential value of a job seeker or candidate. In a best-case scenario, you would find a professional who possesses both the skills and experience and also the intangible traits and characteristics that we just discussed. However, considering the current state of the market, you can’t bank on finding and hiring such a candidate.

This is where partnering with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can help. A recruiter or executive search consultant has the expertise necessary to source not only qualified candidates for your open positions, but also the perfect candidates. An experienced search consultant has formed relationships with the top candidates in the marketplace. They know what these professionals want in their careers and they know what would prompt them to make a move for another opportunity.

In this current market, it’s all about the right talent—finding the right talent, recruiting the right talent, and hiring the right talent. If you’re not doing those things, then you can bet your competition is. Consistently hiring top candidates with the right combination of skills, experience, and intangible traits is the best way to give your organization a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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