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Top seven things that leadership candidates should think about!

Ever since the concepts of management got evolved the one phrase which would be undoubtedly accepted is “It’s not the volume but the value that matters”. This phrase becomes more apt in the leadership hiring process as it is purely a value transfer in terms of many parameters which is do with hard competencies ,soft competencies etc. Having been and continuing to be in the recruitment and more precisely in the leadership hiring industry in my experience the following are the seven key parameters which might be unstated but one as a candidate should keep in mind when we go through leadership hiring process.

Success is appreciated & equally failure lessons:

In my experience I have seen resumes and leadership candidates talking great about their achievements, projects success, driving company results etc. As much as these are really great in a span of close to decades of experience I am sure everyone would have made wrong decisions and seen failures as well. In my experience of evaluating multiple leadership level candidates I have seen more success presentations and packaging but no mentioning of failures and learnings. In highly dynamic market conditions when companies look for more risk appetite, failures and learnings are equally valued. In my view too much or only about success highlights in one’s career doesn’t match with reality.

Too high about oneself:

This I have experienced with candidates who has very long tenure in a single company since the company inception. These candidates would have joined the company at operational level and grown up the ladder. After a particular point in time they become the key decision makers in the company and they would have experienced only “YES” sayers to them. When they look for a change for the first time they over rate themselves that their competencies and experiences are of universal fit. They sometimes take rejections personal as well and not willing to relate to the new culture of the outside corporate as well and the expectations.

Strategic Business Transformations are not “Fast Foods”:

Most of the companies look for or go through business transformations in highly dynamic market conditions. Every company looks for candidates who have managed such transformations very effectively .The challenge here is I have seen candidates who talks about transformation within a stint of 2 years in a company. Everybody understands that strategic transformations takes years to yield results .People talk about profitability impact of strategic transformations within few years and would like to take the credit of that. This at times doesn’t go well with reality.

Career Decisions at times go wrong:

We all know every one shall make wrong career choices at least once or twice in our decades of professional life .More often when questions are asked on short stint in the respective company of wrong choices people say management problem and try to quote other reasons. It is always good to take ownership of our choices, results and consequences of that. Taking ownership of our decisions in both success and failures is one of the key leadership competencies.
It’s still the sword and its quality, beyond words!
Though it is more often stated by the leadership hiring consultants that at leadership levels it’s the soft competencies that matters the most. However in my view today’s leadership is more about actions beyond motivational talks. Company’s and clients look for leaders in action rather than mere excellent speakers or motivators. More often I see few candidates are excellent in communication about concepts, fundamentals and they believe that can sail through at all situations. In highly optimal market conditions where every company is looking at optimising and rationalising process, leadership in action who can roll up the sleeves and execute things are really appreciated.

Revealing surprises while sealing:

At leadership level typically when the package crosses multiples of few millions I see at times candidates being too specific on few benefits which suddenly pops up at the time of acceptance. Though clients do appreciate the previous benefits, packages and support, at times this comes as complete surprise to us post shortlisting or selection. Though as leadership hiring partners we negotiate with the client to get the things done at times it has gone against the candidates as well in few cases.

Process is universal:

Though it’s a leadership hiring not all the times it’s done through breakfast meetings or dinner meetings .Some and most of the clients do insist on various tests as a part and parcel of hiring process. We see few candidates looking at this as complete mismatch in terms of their perceived understanding based on their experience of leadership hiring process and miss great opportunities because of this mind-set.

Let’s together co-create great leadership revolution!

Prabhu S (MD -Lafors and Founder CBHR)


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