Indicators a Candidate is a Leader

January 5th, 2016

Leadership is a highly sought-after quality in job candidates. But it can be difficult to really determine whether a candidate you are interviewing is a true leader. Today’s article provides a brief list of threekey indicators that will help you see the leadership qualities in your interviewee. These indicators include decision-making skills, innovation and creativity, and an ability to share knowledge and teach skills.

Leadership Indicator #1: Decision Making Skills

A strong leader is able to make good decisions quickly and efficiently. They are committed to taking responsibility for their actions, and the actions of their team, because they know the buck stops with them. A confidence in their ability to make decisions in high-pressure situations, ones which are based on information and data, is critical to high-quality decision-making skills.

Focus your questions on providing sample scenarios and asking how they would address an issue that might occur on the job. Exercises such as this provide them the opportunity to walk you through their thought process so you can see how and why they might make their decisions. This will help you better understand how they might react in similar situations as an employee, and help you decide whether they have the right decision-making skills for the position.

Leadership Indicator #2:  Teaching Skills

A good leader is also a naturally good teacher. These candidates are able to show their love of sharing knowledge and understanding with their team. Teaching skills might not seem like a staple leadership quality, but those managers who are unable to communicate new processes or insights effectively are often unable to motivate and engage those they need to get the job done. A successful leader is able to identify gaps in the skill sets of their team, and then work towards teaching individuals how to fill that void to create a better, more well-rounded team.

To see whether a job candidate is able to lead through teaching, ask for an instance where they have taught a colleague something.  Ask them to describe why they felt it was necessary to share their knowledge, how and what they taught their co-worker, and how the team dynamic changed because of the sharing of knowledge. This will not only help you evaluate whether they are in fact a good teacher, but will also show if their teaching had the type of positive impact good leaders are built on.

Leadership Indicator #3: Innovation

Creative thinking and out-of-the-box innovation are additional indicators of high-quality leadership skills. It’s easy enough to simply follow directions on a day-to-day basis, but rethinking through processes and implementing improvements takes innovation and tenacity. Ask your interviewee to provide an example of a time when their innovation and creative thinking helped to solve a problem or improve a process in past work experiences. Better yet, ask them how they would solve a problem you are currently facing today.

For more advice on how to identify candidates with leadership qualities, or for help in finding quality talent, contact the experts at Search Staffing Group today.