Three Interview Pink Flags That Are Really Indicators of a Good Chief

While some say that integrity and emotional intelligence make a strong leader, others measure leadership in terms of a person’s drive, skills, and influence. The truth is, when it comes to hiring for a leadership position, the ideal leader is usually different and reflects the company’s current goals, so promoting your top performing employee may not be the best option.

In fact, the difference between a good leader and a great leader can sometimes be blurred by first traditional traits and impressions. I often recommend coming to any interview with no expectations from candidates.

Sure, having impressive resume and testimonials is one thing, but taking the risk of a candidate who shows a promise to shake things up a little can affect your team and company in ways you never could have imagined. So how do you get into an interview with an open mind? Just as leadership can be easily redefined, forget what you know about traditional red flags in job interviews and look at them in a new light.

Whether you’re looking to hire someone to drive results, bring everyone together, innovate companies, or help develop skills, I’ll walk you through some of the most common interview red flags that could potentially translate into signs of being a good leader.

1. Do you lack the experience or do you come into the role with a fresh and new perspective?

A stunning and very detailed resume that stands out from the crowd can go a long way in the hiring process – ask any HR representative who has ever selected a candidate who openly has a lack of relevant work experience but holds great promise. When interviewing these types of candidates, try to understand their work style, attitude and personality.

Ask yourself, “Can I trust this person to help shape my team?” Determine why they want a leadership role, especially if it’s an entirely different industry, and ask them about transferable skills and similar experiences outside of work.

Depending on the goals you’re hiring for, experience doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t qualified. Sometimes a fresh and fresh perspective from an outside contributor can help shake things up on your team and make a positive impact on your company. Since candidates like these are at greater risk, prepare for a longer interview process.

2. Are they job hopping from one company to another or are they ambitious?

A long résumé can either mean two things: the candidate has years of growth and experience in their field, or they tend to jump from one job to the next before real seniority.

If you notice a resume listing an alarming amount of experience going on for less than a year, before accepting anything, ask the candidate about their personal experiences and thoughts that work for each company.

Ask them why they decided to leave and have them list the skills they gained with each experience. Did you leave because you got bored? Did you leave because of a disagreement? Ultimately, the goal is to identify their career plan and how this potion would benefit you and your company.

It’s human to question and change one’s mind about jobs and careers. And depending on a person’s circumstances, some may be more inclined to jump into a new role. While this may seem alarming at first from a HR perspective, it can also mean the candidate isn’t afraid to do what they want, which can be a great sign of leadership.

If risk taking and goal attainment are the qualities you’re looking to hire for, make sure the candidate’s goals and business goals match before moving on to the next step in the hiring process.

3. Are you too interested in details about salary and benefits or have you done this before and want to communicate directly?

Once a candidate has proven they have the right experience and traits for the role, don’t be shocked if they come into the interview with a list of questions about the role, job structure, and benefits. This only proves that they did their research on the company and the industry.

When a candidate does this, they are often looking for a role (and pay) that fits their work style and history. They know exactly what they’re worth and want to make sure that all of their expectations are met before moving on or committing to future meetings.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not’s.

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