Transition to Senior Leadership

Transition to Senior Leadership

What is the mandate that recruiter get while hunting for senior business leaders roles?

When hiring for senior leadership the job of recruiter becomes all the more critical and unlike operating or other functional roles the hiring mandates have to be defined to the T. Idea here is not just to hire someone based on her/his aptitude test but on an overall personality to manage what is being desired.

Interestingly enough even while pursuing a similar kind of role in a previous organization, an incumbent might not fit the bill of the expectations the new role will be demanding. It is therefore imperative for the recruiters to understand company’s culture, value and the system clearly. Only once this is clear, hiring a business leader who would be able to align herself/ himself with the business to catapult it to next level would be possible.

Which are the top skills leaders get hired for?

Leaders should know what are they leading for and that comes with subject matter expertise which would help their acceptance in the new team. Having said that one of the important skills for anyone aiming a leadership role is honesty and integrity for this can make or break things. Showing a high level of trustworthiness and integrity remains to be one of the most sorted skills for leaders.

Second important skills is about looking into the details without missing the big picture and hence not compromising on understanding or de-coding information and thus showcase able decision making ability.

A leader needs to lead and that only happens with the belief in the company’s visions and goals and these finally act as the driver for the entire experience to be successful.

How important are skills such as financial management or soft skills while hiring program heads even in traditional tech-driven organizations?

Soft skills hold lot of importance in managing oneself in an organization. As one grows organically in the organization, the tech skills play a core role but the growth can only be sustained with a more holistic approach. It’s important that organizations understand the value of hiring technically, culturally fit people who also have the capability to understand people as well as business. Technology with great people skills is not a common but that's only because we don't groom them or hire them with that intent.

Do organizations have a clear track for promoting senior project or program managers to senior functional roles?

Unfortunately this is not a common practice at least in the SME segment where I belong to. Sometimes these promotions do happen by virtue of time spend in an organization rather than showcasing the actual potential for being one. Even if there are processes defined, the internal politics, egos, and expectations management does take over all the good notes. In organizations where appraisals are just a checklist items this is still a far fetched dream.

To get hired for your next senior exec role, what are the key things a candidate can do?

In my opinion one of the most important things which any candidate aiming for a next level should do is a self-assessment and a gap analysis. Each role needs specific skills, where some are intrinsic while others may still be worked upon and personal evaluation is a must.

Most of the times candidates assume to ‘know it all,’ while the reality might be starkly different. However, the sad part is once you lose an opportunity it’s not easy to regain the recruiter’s confidence, so better be prepared with a SWOT and then target the bullseye.

Another important aspect is to communicate effectively with the recruiter and not let yourself get lost amidst the ATS full of applicants. Connecting through social plugins and sharing you self-created and relevant content with a set frequency helps in recall and that definitely can let you stand out along with your work speaking for you.

What is the relative weightage given to internal vs external candidates while hiring for senior roles.

An external candidate always adds to the overhead cost of the hiring and in a scenario of a capable or even trainable candidate who is internally available; most of the companies would like to go for the latter over the former. However having said that sometimes the need of external is because the internal resources though skillful but are not fitting in well because of the internal work politics. So as simple as it seems, the internal ecosystem does impact this differently in every organization. Sometimes hiring an external resource is another way to letting go the internal resource and cutting down on other side of people issues.

Rakshita is an HR professional who fell in love with Social Media since the time she first logged-in Orkut. In her journey of 10 years her roles changed from Hiring to HR to Social Community Manager and finally Product Manager with plugHR. Her experience ranges from working with Multinationals to startups and her current assignment with plugHR keeps her closely engaged with entrepreneurs and their HR struggles. She happily works flex from her home and lives her passion by running two successful blogs ‘HRThoughts’ and ‘RecipeDabba’.