Recruiting for an executive position is a high-stakes process involving time, money, and tremendous energy. Organizations have a lot riding on their leaders, which is why it is critical to get the hiring right.
Concepts around the ‘ideal’ executive hire can vary greatly from one company to the next. Most organizations typically seek candidates who possess a combination of skills and behavioral traits – executives who inspire employees, adapt quickly and effectively lead the company through good times and bad.
Here are a few things to watch out for when hiring for an executive position.
A leader must align with a company’s values, objectives, and mission. While every employee should be a culture fit, an executive must be especially so. Employees look to senior management to embody and reflect company values at all times. A leader’s passion determines work culture and empowers others in the company to follow suit.
Executives must demonstrate integrity, especially when nobody's looking. Integrity comes through in leaders’ conversations, interactions, and body language. Leaders must create safe spaces for teams and operate with their best interests in mind. During the interview, potential hires should demonstrate how they can preserve the integrity of the company and employee well-being.
Communication skills are an often-underrated quality when hiring executives. The ability to clearly articulate a company’s vision and get every other employee on board is a critical skill to have. To do this, executives must possess impeccable persuasion skills and empathy. The most successful candidates can effectively communicate with teams across different functions and areas.
The right executive hire exudes and inspires confidence from the get-go. Confident leaders make a great first impression simply through their body language and posture. Confidence without arrogance, a firm handshake, and non-threatening body language – these are just a few things that make excellent candidates stand out.
Executives need to be able to think and act strategically. When making decisions, leaders must consider a complete ecosystem and how it can benefit. They should consider holistic questions, seek answers, and deliver on these answers in accordance.
Leaders today need to keep pace with rapidly-changing workplaces and industry trends. The best leaders are quick learners, ones who can think on their feet and remain resilient through change. Leaders must possess strategic thinking smarts. They should also be willing to roll up their sleeves and work with their teams, as opposed to only instructing them.
Leading with empathy is one of the core competencies to have in the 21st century. Executives who demonstrate empathy come with a characteristic open-mindedness that works in the best interest of the company overall. Empathy shows a person’s ability to consider multiple viewpoints and contexts. It broadens perspectives and offers leaders the chance to re calibrate or reassess organizational strategies.
The best leaders often see themselves as mentors, not bosses. As good as they are at managing systems, the most effective leaders empower others to succeed at what they do best. Their influence can inspire employees to take calculated risks and experiment with new ideas.
The ideal executive hire combines professional expertise alongside a host of leadership traits to effectively lead an organization. A company may have brilliant products and market value, but the right leader can inspire and drive its exponential growth.