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How To Get Leadership Hiring Right

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August 26th, 2019

- Updated on

August 28, 2019 - 11:55am
Top senior-level talent or leaders are critically important for the growth of any business. This is because leaders are in a position to innovate, take calculated risks, and raise the business to new levels of success. However, candidates with leadership qualities are increasingly hard to come by. Also, hiring mistakes at the senior level are not only very costly, but they can also have serious repercussions on your company’s growth prospects.
You need effective recruitment strategies to help identify the competencies and personal qualities of candidates and to determine whether they are leadership material or not. 
Here are five tips to incorporate to your leadership recruitment strategies to help you find the right fit:
  1. Focus on leadership and soft skills. If your organization doesn't have a set of leadership competencies against which it hires, look for evidence of emotional intelligence, communication and strategic leadership skills, and the ability to build trust. Exceptional leaders possess all of these qualities. They build and lead high-performing teams, forge strong trusted relationships with all stakeholders, and possess learning agility. They are able to visualize the bigger picture and guide a team accordingly. 
  2. Pay attention to 'cultural fit' and 'cultural add'. There is an increasing emphasis on recruiting candidates who are a ‘cultural fit’ or a ‘cultural add’. Every company has a unique set of values and practices. A ‘cultural fit’ doesn’t mean that prospective leaders have to fit in perfectly. It means they should complement your company’s culture. While a new leader may already be in tune with your organization’s values, it's possible that he/she may bring a different set of values which can offer new insights. Hiring leaders who bring different experiences and perspectives promotes cultural diversity and is sometimes known as ‘cultural add’. Both cultural fit and cultural add are important in leadership hiring, as is integrating new leaders successfully to ensure you leverage what they bring to the team and organization. 
  3. Consider your mid-term goals. One approach to screening prospective leaders is to hire for your mid-term strategic or growth goals. Depending on the reason for hiring, a focus on immediate needs and candidate competencies may be shortsighted, while hiring for your long-term pipeline needs may not address your critical short-term goals. While it's a delicate balance, consider your mid-term goals and priorities (i.e., 1 to 5 years out) and the contribution a new leader might make in this timeframe. Remember that onboarding your senior leaders, in particular, may take more than six months. Being clear about your immediate needs and long-term strategic goals as you evaluate each candidate's leadership skills, competencies, and growth prospects is key.   
  4. Don’t limit your search to online job sites. Be proactive in building relationships. Keep in touch with the top talent at your competitor organizations. Share your requirements with your acquaintances. Online job board postings can prove to be effective but you are more likely to get better candidates from personal recommendations. Shared contacts are often one of the best ways to learn whether or not a candidate will be a good fit in your organization.
  5. Always check the candidate’s references. Invest time in background and reference checks, even though this can be time-consuming. Apart from the references, seek out other sources of information which can inform regarding the suitability of a new leader. Has the candidate published a paper or article? Has he or she been featured on a webinar or a podcast or quoted anywhere? Look for examples of thought-leadership to verify that your prospective leader will be a strong fit for your company.
Getting leadership hiring right
All five tips are sure to make the process of hiring talent with leadership qualities easier. However, the importance of a good recruitment process can never be stressed enough. A solid recruitment strategy that incorporates these tips can give you success in hiring leaders.

Kelly Barcelos
Kelly Barcelos
is a progressive digital marketing manager for Jobsoid - Applicant Tracking System. She is responsible for leading the content and social media teams at work. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enables her to create value-driven content for her readers - both on Jobsoid's blog and other guest blogs where she publishes content regularly.