If by now you’ve been in this “work game” for 25+ years or longer, you’ve probably had a few different “careers”. (Also, give yourself a pat on the back and don’t dwell on the number of years any further 😩…).

Fresh out of graduate school, my first adult job was teaching high school history. For many of us, if we take a minute to look back on our various career iterations, the view becomes a patchwork quilt of layers, experiences, people, learnings, successes, and stepping stones. If you’re lucky, as I consider myself to be, your network has continued to expand, and those you’ve worked with in a “former life” still count you as a valuable member of their network today.

Take a quick second to think about your career iterations. How have they led you to where you are today? What skills, phrases, and philosophies, that you picked up when you were another version of yourself, are you still utilizing? What might be useful for you to pass on today?

In preparation for hiring season (aka the new year), I thought I would share some tips from my time as an Executive Recruiter (aka Headhunter). If you’re looking for committed, hardworking individuals to join your team, check out this list of qualities I affectionately termed “Hire These 10, Never Hire Again” and possibly Executive Recruiter Stacy, can assist Executive Coach Stacy with some news you can use too.


1. Look for Love – Does this person love what they do? Are they mission-driven or paycheck-driven? Everyone needs to pay their bills, so be careful you hire character, not a mercenary for hire.

2. Oak Tree Mindset – Oak trees grow, and grow, and grow. They seed deep roots and then they grow branches. Look for a candidate who has a growth mindset. Listen for: “I can learn anything”, “I can figure it out”, “I will ask for help if I need it”. 

3. Embrace the Flawsome – Even though they say they can learn anything, it’s important to have some self-awareness mixed in as well. We’re all awesome, and we all have flaws. It’s good to be “Flawsome”. It’s developmental to recognize strengths and opportunities.

4. Competitive Spirit – Hunger is a good thing. Ambition and drive take us to the next level. But be clear to look for those who have crossed the finish lines with others.

5. Hire the Smile, Train the Skill – Hire capable, smart individuals; don’t underestimate EQ vs. IQ. Emotional Intelligence takes teams farther and faster than sole task, problem-solving ever does.

6. Listen for Language of Ownership – How many people are in the conversation you’re having between you and the candidate? There really shouldn’t be many. Listen for ownership; taking responsibility is a characteristic you want on your team. Make sure you hire someone comfortable with taking ownership of successes and mistakes. When names other than theirs are mentioned too often, that’s not a great sign.

7. Sense of Urgency – Speed can be a good thing. Decisiveness doesn’t always have to be about making the decision and plowing ahead. However, it can mean making the decision to acquire more information to make the decision. It’s the decision-making ability that’s the Golden Ticket.

8. Commitment is Critical – This one is interesting because we used to think commitment was synonymous with tenure. Nowadays, not so much. Yet, I would still propose commitment, where applicable to teams, projects, and initiatives is still a determining factor.

9. Resource Resourceful – Even more critical now in our world of labor and materials shortages. When were they at their most resourceful? What did that look like? Is everything “figureoutable”?

10. Trust Your Gut – A mentor of mine once told me if there is something I see or sense in an interview that seems off, I need to multiply that feeling and sense by 10 because I will feel it and sense it tenfold every day if I hire this person. That advice has yet to be proven wrong. 

If you are in the market to hire or modify your team in the coming year, how many of these skills, phrases, and philosophies can you take from my past into your present?