Do You Have Leadership Chops?

leadership job

Hiring for senior roles is risky business.

Recruiting the wrong person can be a very expensive mistake, which is why the hiring process requires serious consideration. It remains more art than science.

Pramukh Jeyathilak has been involved in hiring senior executives for more than two decades for companies including Microsoft and Accenture. Now Strategic HR partner for WW Legal, Public Policy and Human Resources, we asked Jeyathilak what he looks for when evaluating talent.

Is this person going to enable growth going forward?  It is fairly easy to assess how a candidate will operate in the current job at the current time, but the challenge is how they will perform in the future. Says Jeyathilak: “The people for now are not always the people for tomorrow.”

Can this person operate optimally? Jeyathilak describes this as looking at all of a candidate’s capabilities and determining how they will work together to get results, and how they will be able to enable growth into the future.

Can this person be a future leader? When determining if someone is a potential leader, Jeyathilak looks first at technical chops. “The functional capability is the starting point,” he says. In addition, he susses out candidates’ leadership potential by considering the diversity of their experience. That means considering the tasks of the roles they’ve filled, as well as if they have–and how often–moved among companies. The formula: some movement is good, but too much is not. “What doesn’t work for me is a butterfly,” says Jeyathilak. He also considers the risks they have taken in their careers, their career progression and their thought process. “I want to see the way they think, independent of whether they have put that into play in their industry.”

Can this person enable our culture? Every company has a unique culture. We want to hire people to fit in with the culture well, who will be guardians and stewards of that culture.

About the Author

Susan Price has been writing about careers, entrepreneurs and personal finance for more than a decade. She’s been an editor at BusinessWeek, Money, and iVillage.com, among others.