Trends change over time. This is not only true of fashion and cultural preferences, but also, and of particular note, the way we do business and hire people to fulfil their respective roles within the work context. Previously, one’s Curriculum Vitae (CV, with qualifications and experience) was the key “deliverable” when applying for a job. The document seemed to be fundamentally important in whether or not you were short-listed, asked to come in for an interview or even considered for the position. Somehow the CV, almost magically, opened or closed doors for one – qualifications being perhaps the most important element in the process. This “sole focus” on the CV is something of the past though as more companies do battle with the economic woes of the world, struggle to manage millennials, attempt to keep pace with digital/technology advances and efficiently and effectively operate within a globalised environment. Further to this, interference of government and labour unions into employer/employee relationships has compounded business approaches to making financial returns worthwhile. These business “head-aches” have set the tone for a relook at the kind of employees that are desirable to take companies forward in this complex business arena in which we all attempt to exist and prosper.

In a tight job market, where employment opportunities seem limited, employers can be “picky” about whom they hire. Job applicants for leadership positions are probably reviewed based on the following key criteria:

  1. Ability to do the job and develop the role further – this is certainly true at management levels, where employers are not just looking for resident skills to be able to accomplish what is required from the position, but whether or not the applicant has the ability to develop the role further and grow the business at the same time.
  2. Uniqueness – what special personality traits and unique skillsets is the applicant bringing to the business? What is unique about this applicant’s personal brand? Is this brand congruent to the future direction and values of the business?
  3. Cultural fit – will the applicant easily embrace the current culture of the business? This is important as culture is the invisible force that controls “how we do things here”.
  4. Likability and ease of fitting into the current relational context – employers don’t want high-maintenance individuals who are overly sensitive, negative or volatile.
  5. A strong work ethic – employers are looking for candidates who care about getting things done, who don’t get easily distracted and who complete projects on time.
  6. Level of enthusiasm – employers hire for attitude. Skills can always be taught, but attitude is there or not. Simon Sinek noted: “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them; they hire already motivated people and inspire them” (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action).
  7. Vision – the ability to see “the big picture” of the world market and an understanding of “what’s possible”. You are only going to be a great leader/manager if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.

Companies need great people to establish greatness and value within their respective brands. This is especially true of their leadership. Finding the right leaders requires a rethink of how we hire – moving past an over-reliance on qualifications and experience to the uniqueness that a potential leader may bring to the business.

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