Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Deadly leadership level hiring blunders


Irrespective of the size, most organizations desire to build leadership that has strategic vision for business, penchant for people/talent management and building a sustainable organization for future. The magnitude of stakes involved at these positions need not be reinforced. Yet, many organizations make the moist fatal hiring blunders at this level. Some of the most prevalent and common ones that immeasurably impact organizations are as follows;

1.       Not assigning quality time on hiring:  Leadership level hiring needs high quality formal and sometimes informal time for knowing a candidate or explaining about organization. It is about this mutual investment of time that builds trust and commitment and confidence. A tight time window with a targeted date for closure only ruins the purpose and ends up queuing up worthless resumes’ , resulting into wasteful  rejections round after round.

2.       Inability to focus on “Must DO” and Can DO”: For no fault of theirs, candidates meet recruiters with their past experience. It is the recruiters who fantasize the fitment of the candidate into the role. More often than not, this fantasy leads to force fitment and assumption that a candidate “will manage to handle this role”. I have seen some very senior professionals taking this approach for leadership level hiring, either under duress of time or just manning a position.

3.       Failing to notice soft aspects and screaming gaps: It is proven time and again that the past is indicative of future behaviour. Inability to ask the “right questions” to gauge the past behavioural patterns often leads to missing the most probable future courses of behaviour in the given situations. It is extremely critical for recruiters to take note of emotional quotient, distortions, contradictions and deletions during the interview. Having had some success with this, I have had a few cases of my interview inferences coming near cent percent true post recruitment.

4.       Segregating “ability” and “potential”:  Leadership recruitment requires a clear understanding of these two which sometimes may be interchangeably used in literal terms. As leadership roles involve strategic investment for the organisation, either both or the latter could be very relevant from a longer time horizon. Ability helps leaders execute quickly, potential keeps them ahead in the “inspirational” bracket of leadership for their given structures and helps them to create and re-create “differential” that keeps them there.

5.       Not identifying the “amiability” quotient:  Leading teams requires acceptability and buy in as the very basic qualities in leaders. All amiability indicators like humility, poise, mannerism, interpersonal sensitivity, focus, and ability to strike “good transactions” and receptivity may be some key indicators of amiability quotient. Someone who has progressed to the eligibility of leadership level hiring may be looked upon more on these than his past successes.

Failure in hiring the right leadership position can have destructive implications and it may be advisable to build caution in the process and have requisite skill to identify the right talent.

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