Find the Key Leadership Qualities Headhunters Seek!

When answering questions like: what are the top leadership qualities and characteristics for management jobs, we think the best insights about what a headhunter is looking for must come directly from the headhunter. To this end, today we present insights from Dr. Drosten, Managing Director, Kienbaum Executive Search.  Read further to find insights not only to see what headhunters are expecting when they interview you, but also learn what are the key leadership qualities headhunters seek for in senior candidates..
What are the key leadership qualities headhunters are looking for

Which question from a headhunter should a candidate always be prepared for ?

Dr Drosten: Why do you want to change? Usually, a candidate responds to this question in varying levels of detail. A very typical response is: “I see no advancement opportunities”. But  how does the candidate understand advancement in career opportunities ? This sort of an answer is provides room for further questions and many conclusions regarding the personality of the candidate, career goals and motivations can be derived out of it. This answer is also helpful in understanding why a candidate is dissatisfied, and in which aspects he/she may not appreciate the future employer. This is an important factor for the selection and matching of the right candidates by a recruitment consultant.

What are the new trends in the recruitment industry that you’d like to share with the candidates?

Dr Drosten: Generation Y or the millennials- born after 1980 are now increasingly in the labor market for management jobs.  Their vision for a future workplace includes high flexibility, flat hierarchies and a generally high affinity for technology. This is already quite far away from the previous generations. In addition, work from home options even at senior positions- which were unheard of a few years ago are increasingly gaining ground.

What are the most important characteristics for a candidate in a senior position today?

Dr Drosten: A candidate must bring a high degree of flexibility. There are few positions that remain rigid and unchanged over years. Rapidly changing work environments, multi-cultural and virtual working teams, constantly changing challenges – even locations in globalized working environments characterize the mass of senior positions these days. Thus a candidate needs to bring in flexibility. Someone working as a specialist today may be working as a generalist tomorrow. Flexibility for taking up new tasks needs to be present in each candidate.

What are the key leadership qualities headhunters seek for in senior candidates ?

Dr Drosten: I’d imagine, communication is at the forefront. Only managers with an open, forward looking and to the point communication style can operate successfully in the long run. With clear communication, it is possible to allocate tasks within or outside departments successfully. Clear communication is also the only way to identify problems early, draw synergies, and find new approaches and solutions to increasingly complex issues. In such an environment, a non collaborative person will not stand a chance.

What sort of companies do headhunters specifically work with?

Dr Drosten: Over the years, the types of companies or industries that headhunters work with have not had a massive change. However, some small changes in the customer base of an executive recruiter can be identified. It has become clear in the recent years that very small companies with a headcount of less than 100 usually employ recruitment agencies or headhunters for identifying senior talent. This is mainly because, the due to the increasing demographic changes, the senior talent market is difficult. It is also important to note that, now headhunters are hired even for positions in the lower hierarchy levels, for instance below a benchmark of 100,000 Euros. This also reflects the increasingly difficult nature of the recruitment industry overall, and also the need for cooperation between businesses and recruiters.

About Dr. Sörge Drosten and Kienbaum Executive Search

Dr. Sörge DrostenDr. Sörge Drosten is the Managing Director at Kienbaum Executive Consultants International GmbH and has many years of experience in hiring for senior positions. Priorly, he has also worked as Vice President at Korn Ferry and  has had a successful career as a headhunter. His areas of specialization include industries such as IT, Telecom and FMCG.

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