It started off okay. I mean, not fantastic, but okay.
- Looked good on paper.
- Went to a top business school.
- Have a lot of industry experience.
The interview went fine. Not spectacular, but good enough. They came highly recommended. But there was something that didn’t feel quite right. You couldn’t put your finger on it, but there was something.
Fast forward 1 year. Or maybe even just a few months. Their true colors started to show. You’ve noticed some questionable interactions.
They’re becoming more interested in looking good than they are in the team’s results. They’re becoming the topic of convo at the water cooler.
Employees are wondering what the heck is going on… How someone at a senior leadership level could be behaving in a way that is, in a word, toxic.
“I knew it. I just knew it,” you’re saying to yourself, as you’re kicking yourself for not listening to what your gut was telling you.
Rewind back to the hiring process.
Whether you’re bringing on a new member of C-suite, or a startup building your entire team from the ground up, vetting out the right things during the hiring process is crucial.
Based on my experience helping execs with people issues of all kinds over the years, the element that wasn’t vetted out thoroughly enough from Day 1: The “soft skills.”
Soft skills are the skills that enable us to relate to others and the world around us. Awareness. Communication. Emotional intelligence. Social cues. Impact. Basically, anything having to do with people.
Soft skills really aren’t soft at all. They’re essential.
The importance of soft skills can easily be overlooked, particularly in verticals dealing with more concrete topics, such as finance or tech. Soft skills are abstract, not easily quantified or measured. And that can be challenging for more linear, left-brained thinkers to assimilate.
But whether we’re talking hard skills (technical knowledge and expertise) or soft skills, one very important truth must hold:
You must hire with the highest standards.
Do not settle.
Do not move forward if something feels off.
Energy doesn’t lie. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.
Trust your intuition.
You have to go in with the belief that whatever you’re looking for exists.
Define the dealbreakers.
Get clear on the non-negotiables.
The senior leadership hiring decision really needs to go well beyond education and industry experience and into who they are as a person, and…
- How they show up.
- What core values they embody.
- How they relate to others.
Do they have a “we” orientation? Are they legacy-driven? How do they make others feel?
Are they magnetic? Are they soul-motivated or ego-based?
I have a lot of experience with interviewing and recruiting in the finance space. So if you need any help with your hiring decisions I’d love to help you. Let’s connect!