While there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, the stakes become even higher when corporations recruit executives for leadership positions. After all, execs are the individuals rank and file employees turn to for queues on corporate strategy, revenue expectations, and guidance during challenging times. The wrong hire creates unnecessary costs to budgets, productivity, and morale.
To meet this enormous responsibility, hiring managers benefit from a cautious approach that takes a hard look at a candidate’s soft skills. Shortlisted executive candidates will always have the background and experience required. It’s those soft skills, combined with corporate culture that signifies who’s best for a particular leadership role.
Below are the top 10 soft skills hiring managers need in executive candidates:
- Ability to see the big picture – Execs need to have a clear vision of where a company came from, where it is presently, and where it needs to be headed to achieve its goals.
- Passion – Your leadership team needs to exude passion for your organization. It’s this passion that will encourage employees to go that extra mile for the organization.
- Effectiveness at empowering – A leader or an executive should have the ability to empower his immediate team to meet the business unit’s goals, as well as to increase efficiency and productivity.
- Integrity of character – An honest leader who can develop those values among their teams is vital. Look for a demonstrated track record of ethics and personal values.
- Action-oriented – It might sound simple that ‘leaders lead,’ but there are various ways of leading a team. A great leader needs to take necessary steps to set their plan in motion instead of only giving out instructions to be followed by the team. An action-oriented leader who ‘leads from the front’ earns the team’s respect and achieves better results.
- Courage to take risks and make critical decisions – When you evaluate candidates for leadership roles, carefully note if they take calculated risks to achieve goals. You need to be confident that the leaders in the organization are capable of handling risk appropriately. Courage also comes into play when making difficult decisions and conducting difficult discussions. Leaders should be competent in both to justify their position.
- Team and culture builder – Executive candidates need to serve as more than just great individual contributors. They need to create a team-oriented environment that nurtures trust and respect. Once trust and respect are established, a leader is able to use their influence to create an extraordinary team culture where employees cooperate, integrate knowledge sharing, and generally support and care for each other and the organization’s goals.
- Open-minded – A good leader needs to remain adaptable to changing circumstances, able to pivot positions based on available data, and receptive to new ideas or ways of doing things. Leaders also benefit from listening to feedback across the corporate hierarchy, not just other executives.
- Resilience – In the ever-changing corporate world, this represents one of the most essential leadership characteristics. Adapting to challenging circumstances and finding workable solutions goes a long way towards achieving executive success.
- Accountability and ownership – While mistakes represent the stepping stones to success, a lot can be said about a leader who takes ownership when something doesn’t go as planned. Execs need to manifest this accountability to the organization, earning them trust and respect. This also flows down to the wider team, teaching them to also take responsibility and ownership of mistakes.
Now that you know the soft skills to look for, it’s time to go back to your team to develop relevant questions in order to ascertain the most important information from each executive candidate. Before you do, make sure to check out SucceedSmart, an innovative start-up reshaping the executive search landscape by providing hiring managers like you with the necessary tools to quickly and cost effectively hire the right executive talent for your organization. Schedule a demo of this exciting platform today and transform your organization’s executive search experience.
Here’s an additional resource to review when recruiting executive candidates:
When Hiring Executives Top Recruiters Look for these Important Traits