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How To Recruit For Leadership Roles

Published: Friday 21st August 2015

Male employee knocking on the boss's office door

When business owners need to hire for leadership roles, the hiring process can be completely different. Making a mistake when hiring for a leadership position can cost a business more than money. After all, it can have a detrimental effect on the company as a whole. So, how can recruiters make sure they find the right candidates for their clients’ biggest roles? 

Keep an open mind

Although there will undoubtedly be a long list of requirements for any leadership role, it is important to remain a little flexible. It is unlikely that the perfect candidate will come along, whereas it can be easy to turn down those who fail to tick a couple of boxes along the way. There might be requirements that weren’t originally part of the job description that can be offered by these candidates too. 

Make the sell

Recruitment is about selling. What makes the job and the organisation attractive to the candidate you are looking to reach? Particularly when recruiting for senior positions, it is important to make sure your process stands out from others and captures the culture of the company. 

Focus on leadership traits

When hiring for management positions, it is desirable that a candidate can demonstrate a track record of leadership in previous roles, but a recruiter should also focus on the personality traits that are required for effective leadership such as honesty, confidence and good communication skills.

Make a good match

The best candidate for a management position shouldn’t only have the right skills and experience, but should be a really good fit with the existing work culture too. Some skills can be developed, but behaviours and attitudes don’t tend to change. If a candidate doesn’t agree with most of the essential ideas and processes of a business, a professional hire is likely to be unsuccessful in the end.

A shiny CV isn’t everything

As discussed in this blog, it isn’t always the best way forward to go for the candidate with impressive experience at an industry leader, such as Apple or Google.  In many cases, a company could be better off hiring ‘the big fish in a small pond, rather than the small fish in a big, prestigious pond’. It could be argued that the candidate who has worked at a smaller company is likely to show a stronger drive, greater confidence and a greater willingness to innovate. Although a candidate can appear perfect on paper, they can lack the drive and abilities required for a leadership role. Again, keep an open mind! 

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