Qualities You Should Look for When Hiring C-Level Executives

Qualities You Should Look for When Hiring C-Level Executives

While human resources departments perform a variety of duties that are essential to a thriving company, recruiting and retaining the best talent is possibly one of the most important responsibilities of a human resources professional. This is not always an easy task, and it becomes increasingly difficult when trying to fill a C-level position.

The globalization of the economy has prompted many corporations to look beyond traditional recruiting techniques, which has opened up an entirely new pool of candidates to choose from. Whether a company chooses to use an in-house HR staff or an executive search firm, it must look for key qualities when searching for candidates.

Executives represent your company to the world and have access to information that is highly sensitive in nature, so finding the right person for the job is critical. While the process of recruiting candidates for C-level executive positions can be quite rewarding if done properly, many companies simply do not know where to start. Potential candidates not only need experience, but they should also possess leadership abilities and adaptability.

An Understanding of Globalization


In general, human resources departments seek candidates based on pre-defined requirements, with experience being one of the chief prerequisites. However, working for many years at an organization is not sufficient.

When looking to fill a C-level executive position, extensive experience is helpful, but specific industry knowledge with a global perspective is better. With globalization being so widespread, C-level executives also need to understand how a company fits into this dynamic.

With globalization comes several other challenges that executives must be comfortable navigating. For example, when negotiating agreements with foreign corporations, executives must be aware of cultural, legal, and political differences that could impact the deal.

When members of the human resources department interview potential C-level candidates, it is imperative that they ask them questions to accurately gauge how comfortable they are with these types of global challenges. They should ask for specific examples of how the individual has handled similar situations in the past and how they would use their skills to support the globalization of your company.

Ability to Inspire

Strong leadership skills are also important when hiring C-level executives. Many individuals who find themselves in positions of leadership lack the necessary skills to lead a company to success. Leaders need to be able to do more than tell others what to do—they should possess specific traits that have proven to be effective.

Specifically, the ability to inspire others is crucial to an executive’s success. Not only will it paint executives in a more favorable light among their colleagues and subordinates, but it also benefits the company because employees are inspired to do their best work. While the ability to inspire is beneficial to any organization, it is particularly important for new businesses and those that are redefining their vision. For companies that are striving to drive profits or increase productivity, having an inspiring leader can prove invaluable.

Strong Interpersonal Skills

meetingIn addition to inspiring others, the best C-level executives must possess impeccable interpersonal skills. Not only does this make them easier to work with, but it also ensures that they are a good fit for your company. Executives who have developed interpersonal skills are better able to work within a team-oriented organization and are more open to innovation.

The ability to successfully interact with others benefits executives on a personal level, as well, as others can often provide greater insight or solutions to complex problems. For these reasons, it’s important for HR departments to get to know their candidates as much as possible before making an offer. This can be accomplished with multiple interviews or even outings in a non-professional environment in order to obtain a sense of a candidate’s true personality.

Tenacity and Resilience

C-level executive positions are often stressful in nature, and the ability to adapt is key. In addition to taking on an inherently stress-inducing role, executives must be prepared for the challenges that a company is likely to face. Many corporations undergo substantial changes at one time or another, and the capacity to lead others through trying times is one of the most important characteristics that an executive can have.

Moreover, the ability to remain calm in the face of adversity can often mean the difference between a company successfully weathering tough times and ultimately failing. Successful leaders understand that failures present an opportunity to learn from your experience. Companies should look for executives who are willing and able to see where things went wrong, resist the tendency to panic, and demonstrate a willingness to try new approaches.

Many human resources departments focus solely on recruiting C-level executives with technical expertise and years of experience. While these are undoubtedly important, they should be viewed only as basic prerequisites. In addition to experience, C-level executive should possess skills that cannot necessarily be learned in a classroom. Additionally, all candidates should be thoroughly screened to ensure that they are a good fit for your organization. Hiring C-level executives with the right combination of experience and leadership will also provide your company with a competitive advantage.

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