If there are two candidates both equal in terms of experience, education, technical knowledge and past deliverable, how do you choose one among them? What key skills are found on the manager’s list of desired employee behavior?
These are questions that often come to the forefront while hiring for senior management positions. Then what makes any difference is what is called learned professional behaviors which have been developed on the job. Strong skills exhibited in professional behavior is then the key-point for determining who would be a better fit within the larger team.
These professional behaviors that are most desirable to the employer as they are developed as a result of the person’s experiences in the workplace; they are not necessarily the behaviors we developed growing up. From that first day on the job, once an employee notices how different the world of work was from school and he begins to observe and emulate the more successful professionals around him. Thus slowly, developing a whole slate of learned behaviors that helped him succeed in the professional life. When the hiring manager sits down to examine each functional areas of responsibility and deliverables of a job, he would also determine which specific professional behaviors are most relevant to the job’s needs.
Key skills are present on a manager’s list of desired employee behavior:
Communication Skills: The ability to communicate effectively with employees, coworkers, and customers is critical to the success of most jobs today. Verbal, listening, and written communication skills applies to all jobs; additionally, dress and body language are also relevant skills relevant to most jobs at higher levels.
Team Orientation: Candidates who can think and talk in terms of group good, cooperation, and shared goals to the strength of the team, and will be more cooperative from a management perspective.
Energy: As a manager those people who can’t or won’t go the extra mile will not be engaged and enthused working towards something. You need people who will always expend that extra effort in the little things as well as more important matters.
Motivation: Demonstrated enthusiasm, a desire to make a difference, an eagerness to learn, and a willingness to take the rough with the smooth, show that a candidate is engaged in a meaningful way with his or her work.
Determination: From the management perspective, the benefit comes from someone who sees difficult situations through to their proper conclusion, and who does not head for cover when a problem or situation gets tough. Difficult situations that a candidate has experienced, and how they were resolved are important in this quest.
Confidence: Confidence comes when a candidate has been actively engaged in his or her work, building a wide frame of reference for the work and its challenges. Candidates, who exude confidence in their skills, and confidence in their ability to learn new skills, are desired because they will always be engaged in the quest for constant improvement.
Integrity: A thorough professional makes decisions in the best interest of the company, and never based on personality, or on a whim or personal preference. Those who demonstrate honesty and integrity in their professional lives are people who know what to do, because they understand that it is the “right” thing to do professionally.
Pride: Pride as a professional and in a job well done is an expression of all these behaviors interacting with each other. This can become apparent on a day-to-day basis when a person makes the time to pay attention to the details that guarantee the integrity of that work, rather than just getting a job onto someone else’s desk. In many jobs, the devil is in the details. When conversing it is important to demonstrate how deeply professional pride runs in their veins.
Analytical Skills: Organizations look for candidates who weigh the pros and cons of a given situation rather than jumping at the first or easiest solution to a problem, and who are able to weigh the potential negatives, as well as the positives, of a proposed course of action. The presence of analytical skills is seen when someone talks about the day-to-day problems that are faced in a particular job, and how a candidate analyzes and solves them.
Goal Orientation: Employees basically come in two flavors: the task oriented, who let each job expand to fill the time allotted, and the goal oriented, who are galvanized by a challenge and eager to bring it to a successful conclusion. Goal-oriented people tend to break down tasks into small doable steps tied to specific timelines; this in turn most likely means that they have a grasp of time management and organization techniques.
How do you rank yourself on these skills? We do hope you keep these in mind when in your next interview with a hiring manager for a senior management job!