Recruiters look for certain traits in candidates who will excel at their positions regardless of industry and organization. These traits are common across most industries and can be applied to all roles, from entry-level to C-suite-level positions. These fundamental traits include communication skills, a resilience mindset, and the ability to connect with other employees.
Strong Communication Skills
In a recent survey, executive Houston recruiters in Houston identified strong communication skills as the #1 trait they look for in candidates seeking an executive position. This was even higher than critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and teamwork skills. A candidate’s ability to communicate their ideas verbally and in writing is essential. Recruiters will also look for the ability to listen and understand others’ ideas. This skill is critical for any professional but precious in the workplace. During interviews, a good communicator can answer questions quickly and accurately. They will also be able to keep the conversation on topic and avoid talking around the question. Finally, a good communicator will be confident enough to share their ideas and take risks. This confidence can be conveyed through small gestures, such as a firm handshake or good eye contact. However, a candidate’s confidence should not be arrogant or dismissive of others. Ultimately, effective communication is about being a leader and driving teams toward success. This requires a dynamic leadership style that can be shared with other employees.
High Energy Levels
While industry experience and management skills are critical for candidates seeking C-level positions, those who want to make it to the top must also market themselves as leaders. This involves explaining the challenges they’ve overcome and the successes they’ve achieved – all while showing a true passion for their industry. Candidates should be able to discuss specific projects that they’ve managed and the results of those projects. Recruiters look for an ability to stay on top of current events in their industry, as well as a questioning disposition and connecting disposition that will allow them to form strong, trust-based relationships with other professionals in the field. Ultimately, executive leadership is about people and the ability to motivate a team towards common goals. A strong leader can see the big picture, where their company came from, where it’s presently, and where it needs to be to reach its long-term vision. They can also empower the people around them, giving them the freedom and resources to pursue their goals to help their team reach them.
A successful executive role involves risk and overcoming obstacles and adversity. Recruiters look for resilient candidates to help them adapt to stressful environments and keep calm under pressure, especially when working under tight deadlines. Resilient people have a positive image of the future and believe they can control events rather than be victims. They also maintain a healthy lifestyle and focus on changing things to be happier and healthier. Recruiters often assess resilience through a candidate’s CV or during a structured interview. For example, ask candidates how they would handle a difficult situation at work and what steps they would take to get back on track. Another good way to test a candidate’s resilience is by presenting them with a hypothetical catastrophic situation and asking how they would quickly assess it and what steps they would take to bounce back from it. The best candidates will demonstrate they conduct a failure analysis after each major setback to continue learning (and avoid repeating mistakes). This is an essential part of their personal resilience strategy.
The top candidates will be passionate about their work and your company. Recruiters look for passion in many ways: in the candidate’s commitment to their professional growth, a focus on goal-setting that is unflappable by short-term turbulence, a questioning disposition that allows them to remain up-to-date within their industry, and a connecting disposition that leads them to build strong long-term relationships. Recruiters also want to know if the candidate can work well independently. Some hard skills can be taught, but a candidate’s integrity and ability to stay self-motivated will be determined by their willingness to learn the nuances of any organization. The best candidates will be able to confidently answer questions about their leadership style and how they approach specific projects. They can provide specific examples of past experiences that demonstrate their leadership style. This is why interviewers often extend interviews for days or weeks to see if a candidate will be comfortable and productive in the new environment. This is also why it’s essential to do your homework before the interview and have your traits and examples ready!
It’s no secret that executive positions are coveted for their ability to lead, guide, and influence a company. However, in addition to leadership skills, an executive candidate must be adept at empowering their team. Empowerment is an inherent motivator that can help drive productivity and performance in the workplace. Employees who feel empowered can be more invested in their work, resulting in greater job satisfaction and improved problem-solving. When candidates can empower their teams, it can create extraordinary outcomes and a culture of success. To effectively empower their teams, executives need to understand the business context and provide them with sufficient training, tools, and encouragement to solve problems in the best way for the organization. It also helps if an executive candidate is open-minded and receptive to feedback from across the organization, including from peers in other departments. This will allow them to serve their team better and their customers.