What do you look for when you hire leaders?


What do you look for when you hire a leader to work in your organization? It seems like every person you ask, may give you slightly a different answer. When I ask this question to business executives and CEOs, most of them draw upon their own personal experiences of what makes a great leader. Rarely, do they go to the company vision and values of what their culture is all about.

Managers usually give you a brief synopsis of the purpose of the company and what they stand for, but not enough on what it would take to be a great leader in their organization. Words like “culture fit” and “servant leadership” are mentioned in hiring conversations, or “we need to find self-motivated personalities and great team players.”

But what qualities are we can all agree on to create a solid foundation of great leaders in any organization regardless of industry?

The catalyst for growth in your business is the leadership talent you bring in as part of your vision, mission and purpose of your organization.

In my organization, we take time to develop the next generations of leaders and continuously looking to bring more people with the same caliber of skills and leadership qualities that can make our company grow.Just like any business, people move on and go on to the next career move and sometimes we need evaluate and reflect our own starting lineup.

So what do we need to look for when we searching for new leadership talent? And how can you recognize them from the start?

They care about the well-being of others, not just their own success

When I sit down through the interview process, I usually pay attention to the purpose of the person wanting to lead others. Why do they want to lead? Is it for their own glory or to develop and grow the team we have in place? Will they connect and take the time to train and coach the people who need them the most?

They demonstrate a consistent track record of growth in their career

When you look for great leader to come in to your organization, you looking for an upward trend in their career. Do they show a solid background in building teams or improve their area of expertise? For example, if someone is a customer service manager, how did they improve the customer experience in previous organizations they worked with? What tangible results can we pin point to their credibility?

Open to learning

The worst person you can hire for a leadership position, is someone who knows it all or someone that comes across as “I have been there done that” type of attitude. You want to hire someone who is open and humble enough to recognize where they can learn and grow in their career. Many people confuse this with competence and experience, but it’s not the same. The best leaders I have hired are people who always felt they can learn and develop their skill set even more.

They use feedback to take ownership and not make excuses

Great leaders understand there is always room for improvement. It is their willingness to receive all forms of feedback with a healthy attitude. It takes humility and strength of character to acknowledge one’s shortcomings and humbly accept ownership for improvement, a defining quality of a leader that builds trust across your organization.

What others qualities can you think of when you are looking to add leaders to your organization?



4 thoughts on “What do you look for when you hire leaders?

  1. One major thing I admire in a leader is when they have the backs of their people? There is nothing more demotivating in a leader than seeing them go into hiding when someone from their team needs support. Instead of being strong from within and do the right thing, they use their outer influence and become the bully.

  2. Great question! Three qualities that may seem contradictory – humbleness, vision, and support. Humbleness – they don’t take or need credit, Vision to see and think differently than the status quo,and Support for the growth and development of others who are the ones to follow-through and do the heavy lifting.

  3. I believe leaders must be able to clarify the vision of the company. Explain why each firm does what they do, not simply how they do what they do. Simon Sinek states: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

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