These five characteristics apply to the organizations that our candidates want to work for, to the candidates that our clients want to hire and to the way we work for our clients and candidates. We are all on a journey to achieve these characteristics. Over the last 20 years we have come to see that candidates and clients who exhibit these characteristics and who are driving to achieve them are the most effective in building successful careers and organizations.
1.Hard Working. You get the job done. There may be long hours, deadlines that have to met and working long and hard to find the right candidates to fill an urgently needed position. At the same time our clients realize that over time they have to allow time for their employees to balance work with family and community.
2.High Achieving. Need for Achievement (N-Ach) refers to an individual’s desire for significant accomplishment, mastering of skills, control, or high standards. The term was first used by Henry Murray in “Explorations in Personality” (1938) and associated with a range of actions. These include: “intense, prolonged and repeated efforts to accomplish something difficult. To work with singleness of purpose towards a high and distant goal. To have the determination to win” (p164). The concept of NAch was subsequently popularized by the psychologist David McClelland.
Need for Achievement is related to the difficulty of tasks people choose to undertake. Those with low N-Ach may choose very easy tasks, in order to minimize risk of failure, or highly difficult tasks, such that a failure would not be embarrassing.
People high in N-Ach are characterized by a tendency to seek challenges and a high degree of independence. Their most satisfying reward is the recognition of their achievements.
3.Humble. This is humility without weakness and transformed to fit the business world. It includes characteristics such as self-awareness, valuing others’ opinions, being willing to learn and change, sharing power, having the ability to hear the truth and admit mistakes, and working to create a culture of openness where dissent is encouraged in an environment of mutual trust and respect.
We believe humility is required to be active listeners, for both clients and candidates. Our clients see humility as a critical part of their cultures, key to teamwork and effective leadership. Our candidates are looking for companies that understand the value of this kind of humility in the workplace, where everyone is trying to help others get the job done.
4.Happy. Our idea of this H for Happy is twofold: you have Self-Confidence in who you are and Enthusiasm about what you do.
Self-confidence relates to self-assuredness in one’s personal judgment, ability, power, etc. Another definition is the belief of believing in you; to believe that one is able to accomplish what one sets out to do, to overcome obstacles and challenges (Peixe, 2009).
The second part of this H for Happy is the Enthusiasm that a candidate has for our client’s opportunity and the client’s enthusiasm for working with our candidate or consultant. Our promise to our clients and candidates is to make sure that our candidates and consultants and clients are excited about working together.
5.Honest. The first part of H for Honesty relates to a candidate’s Personal Integrity and to the client’s need for high integrity in all of its operations, especially in how it treats its employees, customers and shareholders. We look for personal integrity in our interview process and we promise our professional integrity to our clients and candidates.
The second part of this H for Honesty is Intellectual Integrity, a commitment by the candidates, the company and us to a culture of open and honest communication. Telling it like it is with an understanding that this characteristic is critical to success for all parties.
Companies and candidates with this H have a consciousness of the need to face and fairly address ideas, beliefs or viewpoints toward which we have strong negative emotions and to which we have not given a serious hearing. This courage is connected with the recognition that ideas considered dangerous or absurd are sometimes rationally justified (in whole or in part) and that conclusions and beliefs inculcated in us are sometimes false or misleading. To determine for ourselves, which is which, we must not passively and uncritically “accept” what we have “learned.”
Intellectual courage comes into play here, because inevitably we will come to see some truth in some ideas considered dangerous and absurd, and distortion or falsity in some ideas strongly held in our social group. We need courage to be true to our own thinking in such circumstances.