Hiring for Leadership, Part 4 — Choosing the Right Approach

Approaches to Hiring Leadership

There are two distinctly different interviewing methods one can use when hiring for leadership.

  • Skills-based: Prospects are asked questions relating to specific skill sets and qualifications related to the open position.
  • Behavior-based: Applicants are presented with open-ended questions intended to elicit responses which reveal personality, attitude, and work ethic.

The great thing about skill-based interviewing is that it focuses solely on the applicant’s abilities. It allows hiring managers to assess transferable skills. A solid predictive can be built concerning the prospect’s core competencies to be proficient at their job. However, skill-based interviewing glosses over aspects like personality and problem solving. In a culture where people tend to identify themselves as their profession (“I’m a first responder,” for example), hiring managers need to get past that veneer to understand more about the real person they’re interviewing.

This is where behavior-based interviewing becomes the best option. While skill-set oriented questions can be incorporated into this approach, hiring managers will get a better idea about the qualities of a prospect by asking incisive, open-ended questions. These kinds of questions prevent applicants from simply repeating answers they’ve given in previous interviews by drawing on their work history, personal experiences, and interpretive situational ethics.

The candidate will reveal how they think, their work style, how they handle stressful or difficult situations, and their leadership methodology. As the hiring manager, you’ll be able to determine how well the prospect will fit into your organizational culture, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they could potentially help lead the organization into the future.

Hiring is never going to be an exact science, but behavior-based interviewing allows for a more thorough vetting process. Reducing the number of bad hires will aid in employee retention, stabilize and improve morale throughout the workforce, and improve your organization’s bottom line.




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