Every organization is different. The ideal executive at one company may be a poor fit at another. That said, there are some general qualities HR professionals and recruiters should seek out when seeking someone to fill a C-suite role.
The following are specific traits to look for if you’re trying to find a qualified individual for such a role at your company. Keep them in mind to find someone who will truly help your organization grow.
You would like to imagine your company will always thrive. In reality, all organizations face difficulties from time to time. Executives are typically responsible for helping companies overcome them. That’s why, when filling C-suite roles, it’s important to find someone who can demonstrate a history of strength through adversity.
An individual who is effective when things are going well isn’t necessarily going to be as effective during tough times. Be sure to ask about any instances in the past when they have faced (and overcome) such adversity in similar roles when interviewing candidates.
A Curious Mind
We live in a very dynamic world. No matter what industry your organization belongs to, odds are good you need to constantly adapt and change in order to remain competitive.
Thus, it’s extremely helpful when executives are curious. People who enjoy learning and are constantly looking for new ways to grow are beneficial to companies. They can help organizations avoid the kind of stagnation that may otherwise prevent them from competing in their industries over long periods of time.
Commitment to the Company
In order to reach a level in your career where you’re considered for C-suite positions, you need to be ambitious. That’s certainly a quality worth looking for in candidates. Ambition fuels people. It gives them a reason to remain strong when faced with adversity.
However, it is possible for people to be so ambitious that they are more interested in furthering their careers than supporting the organizations for which they work. Remember this when interviewing candidates. Any executive needs to be willing to put his or her own personal interests aside when doing so is necessary for the company to succeed.
Executives must be driven by a sense of purpose. When interviewing potential hires, ask them why they want to work for your company. The goal is to find out if they truly believe in your mission as much as the other current executives do.
If prospects are genuinely passionate about the type of work you do, it’s a good sign they’ll remain committed to their roles. This is even the case when they are faced with challenges that might overwhelm someone with less interest in your corporate mission.
Executives play very important roles in their companies. That’s obvious. However, they are only individuals. They can’t help their company grow and compete on their own. It’s also necessary for them to coordinate with others in an attempt to achieve major goals.
That’s why strong communication skills are essential in people who are in C-suite positions. Even if individuals are constantly coming up with good plans, it’s impossible to implement those ideas if they lack the ability to express them clearly. On the other hand, if people can demonstrate an ability to communicate their thoughts to others, they’re more likely to actually execute their strong ideas.
Identifying this quality in candidates may be more difficult than some of the other traits on this list. That’s simply because you need to find someone who possesses a specific degree of willingness to take risks. Obviously, you don’t want to hire an executive who is reckless. That said, if an executive is completely unwilling to take risks, your business won’t grow.
Ask candidates about past instances when they took risks. Keep a running list of these examples, and review them with other executives at your company to determine if the risks various candidates took were smart. It’s important to remember that a risk isn’t smart simply because it paid off. People do get lucky, and sometimes risks they should not have taken still yield benefits.
This is the most basic trait to seek out when recruiting executives. It’s still worth mentioning, though. You don’t want to focus so much on prioritizing the other qualities listed here that you overlook such an important, if obvious criteria. An executive with a curious mind and a passion for your business isn’t going to be of much value if he or she can’t lead others when working towards your goals.
Remember this whenever you are attempting to fill C-suite roles. Ideally, the people you hire will remain at your company for several years at least. It’s crucial that they be able to function as effective team leaders during their time with your organization.