Succession Planning in the Interview: Hiring Leaders not Followers
It’s become a running joke amongst many in the professional world that many of today’s job candidates come into companies expecting to be put in the boardroom only to end up in the mail room. While new hire expectations are often overly ambitious, identifying the future leaders of your company should start in the interview process. Very rarely does one go on to rise to a high-ranking corporate position without first having displayed signs of being a successful leader. If you’re able to pick up on those from the moment that he or she is first introduced to the company, then you’re able to steer him or her towards those positions where his or her leadership skills offer the most benefit. Thus, this process of beginning succession planning in the interview allows you more direct influence over the present and future of your organization.
Look to Future Rather than Focusing on the Past
Now, if you’re like most business team or HR managers, you many think that the seeds for sowing succession planning in the interview process are first found on an applicant’s resume. It’s there where he or she will highlight any leadership or managerial experience he or she has had in the past. However, while having worked in authoritative positions in the past may be a good starting point for identifying future business managers, it isn’t the primary indicator of a good potential leader. Many times, those in leadership positions adopt a certain managerial style. That style remains with them even as they transition to a new company. On the one hand, it’s good for you to see that a candidate has already adopted certain leadership traits. On the other, if those particular traits don’t fit into your company culture, getting him or her to adapt them to what you want may be difficult.
Thus, a better of indicator of one’s leadership potential in your organization would be his or her willingness to be flexible. This is something that can be conveyed in an interview if you know what things to listen for. If a candidate can’t seem to stop talking about what he or she has already done, then that could mean that he or she already believes that he or she knows everything that’s needed to be a good leader. You would have to then wonder if he or she would be receptive to new ideas and concepts, or simply dismiss them as being different than his or her own formula for success.
However, if rather than focusing on past accomplishments, a candidate speaks more about the excitement that he or she has for encountering new challenges in your organization, this shows that he or she has a willingness to embrace change and adapt his or her own philosophies to accommodate your unique corporate culture. It’s when this happens that you will see the first signs that beginning your succession planning in the interview truly is possible.
Successfully Engaging a Candidate in the Interview
Yet what if a candidate isn’t putting forth enough information on his or her own for you get a good feel for his or her future leadership skills Does this mean that he or she simply doesn’t have them Not at all. Rather, he or she may simply be somewhat guarded, preferring to defer to you to run the interview. At the same time, successful interviews should be engaging conversations, not awkward exchanges of monologue. If you feel it’s getting to this point, not to worry; it doesn’t mean that you can’t still follow the philosophy of succession planning in the interview. You simply need to coax a little more out of the job candidate.
This is where your questioning comes in. Remember, though, that you’re not simply trying to get him or her to talk. You’re attempting to see the different aspects of his or her personality, how he or she is at thinking on his or her feet, and how well he or she can develop relationships with others. Don’t stick to the standard ïWhere do you see yourself in five yearsï sort of questions. Consider different ones such as:
-ïHave you ever tried to create a shortcut to a current process, and whyï
-ïDescribe something that you’ve learned from a co-worker.ï
-ïWould you rather make a decision or support someone else’sï
Beginning your succession planning in the interview process may not be easy; it requires an added level of insight that, at least up until this point, you haven’t had to dedicate to an interview. However, the overall affect it can have in improving your company both now and in the future makes the extra effort well worth it. You’re not alone in assessing a new hire’s potential leadership skills, either. Mighty Recruiter offers you a number of tools and informative resources that make identifying future leaders for your organization that much easier.