From law firms to industrial coating suppliers, every business organization needs leaders who can make sound decisions, take initiative to solve problems and inspire their co-workers to reach their full potential. The key to finding great leaders is in the hiring process—the ability to discern which candidates have the necessary skills and characteristics for successful leadership. Testing for leadership ability during the recruitment phase can help employers find and onboard future team captains, not just team players. But how do you know who has what it takes?
Here are some tips.
Assess Communication Skills
Effective leadership requires excellent communication. Look for candidates who listen carefully, express themselves clearly and concisely, provide constructive feedback, and make sure everyone understands the directions or project goals. Pay special attention to how the candidate interacts with you and other members of your team during the interview process.
For example, say you’re hiring a marketing manager. Ask the candidate to explain their strategy for launching a new product. Pay attention to how they describe the concept and plans—do they answer with broad strokes or provide specific details? Can they articulate their ideas in a way that everyone can understand?
Evaluate Problem-Solving Ability
Leaders are adept at providing solutions when faced with challenges. To assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, ask them to complete an assessment or give an example of how they solved a difficult situation in the past. Consider their decisions and actions; were they creative, analytical, and well thought out?
For example, if you’re hiring a customer service representative, ask the candidate to explain how they would handle an angry customer. Do they take responsibility for the situation and offer constructive solutions? Listen for signs that the candidate is looking at the issue from a big-picture perspective.
Leadership qualities go beyond technical skills and problem-solving abilities. The best leaders have a strong sense of self, confidence, generosity, and empathy. Ask questions during the interview process to get an idea of the candidate’s personality and characteristics.
For example, if you’re hiring an executive assistant, ask them to describe a time when they made an impact on someone’s life. Listen for signs that the candidate is passionate, empathetic, etc.
Assess Team-Building Abilities
Leadership is about more than just making decisions—it’s also about bringing people together to work as a team. Look for candidates who can motivate and bring out the best in others. Ask questions during the interview that can reveal their ability to foster collaboration.
For example, if you’re hiring a sales manager, ask the candidate to explain how they would handle an underperforming team member. Are they capable of providing feedback without being too critical? Listen to their answers for signs that the candidate understands the importance of team-building.
Finding and hiring leaders is a critical part of any business’s success. By assessing communication skills, problem-solving ability, personality, and team-building abilities, employers can get a better idea of which candidates have the necessary skills and characteristics for successful leadership. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to identify those with the right qualities to lead and inspire business success.