This is Part 2 of my blog posts on what executive recruiters are looking for in executive candidates. Wayne Mitchell of Cabot Consultants listed the qualities he likes to see in candidates he will present to his clients:
These adjectives and attributes top the list:
2. Energetic (take note people 45+)
3. Entrepreneurial (that includes executives in non-entrepreneurial companies)
6. Strong interpersonal skills
12. Team player
14. Intelligent / bright
19. Quick study
20. Pattern of ongoing learning
21. Possessing Integrity
Look like a dream list that no one person could embody? In reality, internal and external recruiters can actually find the "dream" hire - because the Internet - specifically LinkedIn - provides a large top-applicant pool. So they don't "settle."
What does that mean for people growing their careers? I think it suggests that they build towards these qualities and characteristics, if they don't have them already. In my mind, they fall into these clusters:
LEADERSHIP: collaborative, team-based, decisive, proactive
ETHICS: honest, trustworthy, has integrity
BUSINESS APPROACH: entrepreneurial, flexible, creative
MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS: intelligent/bright, intuitive, logical, quick study, driven, self-confident, intent on lifelong learning, tenacious
INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: good with people, friendly, persuasive
Interestingly, there are a few ones missing from this list that can be of critical importance in corporate leaders: strategic, visionary, inspirational, out-of-the-box thinking, charismatic, able to execute.
One takeaway from this is that achievements alone are not sufficient and that the above attributes need to be demonstrated in particular success stories.
These concepts are viewed as desirable in executive leaders. Other sets of attributes may be more desirable for other jobs, such as sales, hands-on technical jobs, finance, operations, etc.
We tend to think that the above list of "soft skill" would be relatively unimportant, but it appears that they are highly valued in a new hire. This is good news, I think.