Hiring for Leadership Part I — First Things First

Hiring For Leadership: A Basic Intro

Whenever a client asks me about hiring for leadership, a couple of adages come to mind.

1. “Skills get you hired. Behavior gets you fired.”

If you’ve ever had to hire new employees, you’ve heard that maxim before. It makes sense on the surface, until you hear the opposing argument.

2. “Hire for behavior, train for skills.”

This seems like good advice, too.

Who You Are Looking For

image shows a business person straightening their tie

You want to bring people into your organization with a solid skill set, someone who can hit the ground running and get things done. But you also have a desire to populate the organizational leadership pool with enthusiastic, creative people who aren’t afraid to implement ideas and improve processes. It’s a quandary every person who hires for leadership positions faces.

As business needs change, so will your organization. A leader must be constantly aware of the direction the company is heading in, and what the needs of the organization are. Before we discuss how to approach the hiring process, it’s imperative to figure out why you are hiring.

Are you replacing a leader who has moved on to another organization? Has the company expanded? Are you planning for the future?

Planning for the Future

What are the future needs or projected goals of the company? Is there someone internally who is qualified to step up with those objectives in mind? How well will your prospect allow the organization to achieve its aims?

How will this person bridge and correct perceived gaps within the current staff?

These questions should be addressed before bringing the first person in for an interview. While we all have our own ideas of what a good leader looks like, it’s important to consider the needs of the organization before making a crucial hiring decision when hiring for leadership.

Once you have firmly established a firm rationale, establishing the kind of leader you’re seeking and why, you can move on to deciding whether you will be hiring for leadership based on skills or behavior.

Contact me on my coaching and consulting services for more help with hiring for leadership, and stay tuned to this multi-part series in my blog!


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