The success or failure of a growing business hinges on many things. But the single most important must-have for success is senior leaders who can lead, manage, and inspire. Hiring these people can be very tricky because many of them have mastered the art of interviewing and it can be difficult to decipher genuine skills.
Here are 5 warning signs to look out for when you are hiring a senior leader:
- Short Career Tenure (Less than four years): With some positions, it is possible to make an impact in a short time-frame with a new company and there are also some roles which are more susceptible to turnover than others. Senior Leadership positions, however are generally not one of them. Clearly there are situations, like exits, where this is not applicable, but in general it is hard to make true, long lasting influence in change in less than four years.
- Transparency about their transition with their current company. As a Senior leader, people have responsibility to ensure the health and best interest of whatever company they work for. If they are a positive influence in the current company, most respectful leaders will help with a smooth transition to leave the company or leave it even better off after they’ve left. If you are interviewing candidates that may be giving their company a big surprise when they leave, be careful they don’t do the same thing to you.
- Reasons for making a job change. In a senior leadership position, generally the only real reason to make a job change should be that they have accomplished their goals of growth, exit, or turn around in their previous company. Be cautious of individuals who have personality conflicts with boards, or blame others as a reason they are leaving their current role.
- Treatment of lower-level employees during interview process. Your C-level leaders need to mirror the culture of your company and they also need to connect with all levels of your organization. How these people treat the front desk receptionist, for example, is a major indicator of how they will conduct themselves if they get hired.
- Beware of the consultant. Very easy for a senior leader to declare themselves a consultant in between positions. Some of these people are very successful and influential leaders, but some may just have trouble finding a job. Dig very deep into this to determine which one you have on your hands.
When hiring Senior Leadership there is more at stake than any other role in the company. If any of these warning signs above are found you should think twice before making the hire.