Guidelines to Help You Recruit Future Leaders

By: Sarah Peiker | Talent Management

High-performance team members often make the best leaders later in their careers, right? Wrong. Too often superstar employees are promoted to leadership positions only to falter or fail. How can organizations resolve the difference between employee and leader?

Organizations that recruit right-fit candidates and provide leadership training can create a high-performance organization by building bench strength from the point of hire, helping talented professionals develop the necessary skills to become effective leaders.

Qualify Candidates for Long-Term Growth

To recruit effectively – whether that’s identifying internal talent or sourcing externally – organizations need to accurately pinpoint the qualities of a productive employee or team leader so success can be defined in advance and accurately predicted. Many factors must be considered when bridging the connection between an entry-level candidate today and tomorrow’s right-fit leader.

For example, the day-to-day requirements of non-management positions require different skill sets than a manager’s ability to recruit, hire, train, manage, motivate and coach a team or an entire department. Moreover, competencies required for success differ based on each unique organization – including a company’s industry, corporate culture, customer type and market environment.

How do organizations sort through all these different factors and define what makes someone a successful employee or leader before he or she even enters the company? By understanding the diverse requirements for each role, organizations can recruit effectively, accelerate leadership readiness and build the bench strength necessary for a high-performance organization.

According to Manpower’s fifth annual Talent Shortage Survey of 35,000 employers across 36 countries, 31 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets.

This statistic further proves that recruiting the right talent is a challenging task. Establishing a corporate competency model helps eliminate unqualified candidates early in the hiring process so recruiters and hiring managers spend time interviewing only potential best-fit candidates.

It’s important to establish a competency model that reflects the attributes and skills of successful leaders as defined by the company culture. To recruit effectively for a culture, managers must first understand it. Questions to consider are:

a) What are the values, beliefs, assumptions, principles and norms that define the company’s culture?

b) Is communication formal or informal in the company?

c) How does the company handle conflict?

d) What is the company’s leadership style?

e) What is the company’s attitude toward training and development?

Organizations need to clearly define the competencies and qualities required for their organization and job roles to determine which candidates are best-fit. Questions to consider include:

a) Does the organization require specialized technical knowledge?

b) Do employees need prior experience?

c) Have employees participated in leadership development and training initiatives, or have they managed others?

Different Culture, Different Competencies

Whether the organization is seeking to fill out the workforce with multiple entry-level hires or trying to recruit an experienced manager, competencies are both behavioral and technique based; both need to be assessed for organizational fit.

Tools like the DISC assessment and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are often used to profile potential employees. However, many organizations merely “test and note” – profiling a potential employee without further analyzing the results to see how the person might be most effective given the organizational culture. Proper assessment means uncovering both existing and potential behavioral competencies in the applicants.

Candidate assessments also create a solid foundation for coaching during the on-boarding and development processes. Organizations can identify high potentials, understand where they need additional training and align their talents to the organization over time.

Recruiting effectively and having the right training and development programs can improve skills and foster leadership ability, resulting in enhanced performance for the organization.

Putting greater focus on hiring right from the start produces effective leaders, influences performance and supports a promote-from-within philosophy that ensures organizations do not lose their top performers.

About the Author

Sarah Peiker is director of recruiting solutions for Manpower.

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