When interviewing an employee or outside candidate for a leadership position, you'll certainly be looking for qualities you hope to find in that leader--excellent communication skills, someone who's a motivator with creativity, knowledge of your business and self discipline. There are certain qualities that can red flag a person as the wrong candidate for the job. Make sure you're on the lookout for those, too.
Beware if you sense your candidate:
Shows he or she is hesitant to change. The "we've always done things this way and it's worked just fine" attitude is a sure way to mire your company in the mud. A person who is afraid to try new ways or listen to new ideas keeps innovation and vision locked in a safe.
Leaders must take a no nonsense approach to managing a team or company, but there's a difference between lacking strength and having empathy. Without the ability to fairly put him or herself in another's shoes, that person can't see all sides before making a decision.
Steals thunder/takes credit
When a team wins the big game, the coach sits in front of reporters, answers questions and speaks for the team. How often do you hear him or her say, "We won because I called the right plays!" A good coach, and a good leader, give credit to the team, support ideas whether they come from themselves or others and applaud an excellent job in the end, giving credit where credit is due.
Is a workaholic
All work and no play makes for... a burned out leader in a matter of time. Someone who often expects everyone else around her to burn the candle at both ends. An unbalanced presence in the office. Ask your candidates about their hobbies outside of work and put an extra star by the ones who do, in fact, find enjoyment outside of work as well as on the job.
Hints at indecisiveness
"Would you like tea or coffee?" Either is fine, thanks. If that's how the interview starts, pull out more questions that reveal an ability to make decisions; questions that require a candidate to make a choice on the spot and stand behind it through concise explanation, be it which logo makes a stronger impact, or is it more important to invest capital in technology or human resources?
There's no doubt, hiring the right people is crucial to the success of your business. Tailor your questions to reveal both skills and personality traits that you desire in a leader, and keep those red flags in mind.
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