The hiring process isn’t just about finding a person who can check off each box in the description of tasks in the job description. It’s about finding someone who has the potential to be a leader in the workplace and who will bring this value to the company not only now in this position, but in the future as a manager or other leader. As an HR professional, it’s your job to watch for these specific characteristics in each of the individuals you’re considering during the hiring process:
1. Integrity: Anyone who is going to be leading others needs to practice integrity in all aspects of the job. Leaders are role models, and what they do spills over onto everyone else on the team. You want someone who will use your time and attendance software honestly, practice sound business ethics, and be a good example to others. Find out whether a candidate has integrity by looking for examples of how this person executed on deliverables and promises given to team members in the past. You can also check references to assess integrity in past positions.
2. Willingness and Ability to Mentor: Leaders in the workplace need to be willing to act as mentors for others because they help develop a culture of leadership in your company. Look for individuals who are interested in furthering the skill sets, education and experience of other team members. When team members have leaders who invest in them, this increases retention and satisfaction and helps you build future leaders in your company.
3. Brand Loyalty: Leaders for your company need to truly believe in your product or service so they can be brand ambassadors. When you have a leader who is not 100 percent on board, this spills over to team members as well. Leaders can sow employee dissatisfaction and disengagement, but if they’re ambassadors, they’ll be continually encouraging others to care about your company’s products or services. Because ambassadors communicate in so many ways, both verbal and nonverbal, this is a trait that’s a tough one to learn, and it needs to be present in your leader at the time of hiring.
4. Organization: Candidates who show up for an interview with a portfolio that seems to be exploding with paperwork, or who fail to bring things you specifically asked them to bring to the interview, probably aren’t going to be very organized when they work for you either. However, organization is a key trait for a leader because your leaders need to not only be organized themselves, but also to keep their team organized. The leaders have to be able to break down projects into discrete parts, delegate them and be available for team members as needed.
5. Proven Success: Candidates for a job should be able to point to proven successes so they can put these skills and experiences to use helping newer managers grow and develop. In addition, proven successes gives leaders credibility so others will be willing to follow them into uncharted waters. Past history leads to experience and an understanding of what will work and what won’t, which is key to avoiding the same mistakes in the future. There’s no substitute for real-world experience, and your leaders should not only be able to lead others in your company, but also be able to recruit others who they have worked with before.
6. Team Player Attitude: This is particularly easy to identify if you’re promoting from within because you’ve been able to observe the individual’s everyday interactions. You’re looking for a leader who’s able to get along with and influence others, all while maintaining authority and being looked up to as someone who can resolve peer conflict. Team players aren’t focused solely on themselves and their work, but also on helping everyone around them do their best, which propels your whole workforce to the next level.
7. Knowledge: A great leader isn’t going to do well if they have no knowledge in your field. Leaders need to have the respect of the people they lead, and respect often requires being able to look up to someone as being knowledgeable and trustworthy in making decisions in the area. Someone who is trained in the field and continually seeks out opportunities for continuing education and training makes a great candidate for a leadership position because you can be confident that his knowledge will continue to grow as he works for you.
Developing a company made up entirely of leaders makes your workplace run much more smoothly on a day-to-day basis. You want your company to be full of people who will take initiative, have ownership over their work and care about the ways they interact with others. Although people can develop in their leadership abilities over time, more often than not, people come in with leadership qualities from the beginning. Finding and hiring leaders from the beginning will have the greatest benefit for your company.