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3 counterintuitive questions to ask yourself when hiring a key leader

By | June 24 th,  2011 | Blog | 1 Comments

Today’s post comes from Furst Group Vice President Pete Eisenbarth.


The winners in any organization think beyond their role. This is especially true in staffing and recruiting. Understanding the impact individuals will make far beyond the “must-have” qualities in the defined job description is paramount. One needs to think boldly. In some industries, the bottom dollar rides on it. In healthcare, the quality of patient care, safety and, ultimately, people’s lives are at stake.


When you’re interviewing a slate of candidates and begin to narrow the field, it’s very important to ask yourself some questions that go against the grain of standard hiring practices. These questions won’t always be a major factor in your ultimate decision, but they are worth considering:


Culture: Regardless of someone’s career accomplishments, ask yourself: Should this person fit in with the team we have? Sometimes an organization needs someone to fit in neatly with the rest of the team. At other times, an organization’s best decision is to hire someone whose personality or style is a marked contrast to many others in the company. Do you need someone who will come in, work hard, be successful and not stir up the waters? Or do you need a change agent who will be successful and may challenge the status quo (including you)? Talk openly to the candidate about the current state of your culture, its challenges and what changes you believe may be needed.


Tenure: Ask yourself: Does the role demand that this person be a long-term (5-plus years) employee? At times, organizations can focus too much on the question, “Will this person be here for a long time?” Ideally, all hires will be part of the organization for many years to come. However, there are instances when the best person for the role may be someone who comes in for 2 or 3 years and creates much needed change. Someone like this cannot be overlooked, especially if they have the most experience to help get the department or organization to a place it’s never been before.


Flexibility: Successful organizations hire good people and don’t simply fill roles. Regardless of the position you are trying to fill, is this someone who could help your organization in another role? Some of the most exciting roles and some of the most successful people hired are individuals who did not have a job description laid out in black-and-white terms. Many times, they interviewed for another role and the strategic mind of the hiring manager/human capital partner recommended other individuals speak to the candidate even though they weren’t a fit for the original role.


What counterintuitive questions do you ask yourself or your team when filling key positions?

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