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Assessing Candidate Leadership Competencies

Assessing Candidate Leadership Competencies

Published on June 3rd, 2022

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A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his  

work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves

Part 6 of 6 Part Series on Assessing Candidate Competencies

Hiring expert Dr. Bradford Smart outlined the importance of assessing candidate core competencies in his 1999 classic, Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People 

Dr. Smart identified fifty core competencies in six key areas, including personal, interpersonal, intellectual, motivational, management and leadership competencies.

Before we examine the essential leadership competencies, let’s define leadership: 

inspiring others to achieve goals

Effective leaders exhibit a number of key attributes, including a clear vision, recognizing the potential in others, developing trust and encouraging excellence.

They also exhibit integrity, empathy, a sense of humor and humility. In addition, a leader brings passion, confidence, courage and their own unique style to their organization.

What are some of the behaviors that enable a leader to be effective?

They set the tone:

Effective leaders are confident and communicate a clear vision. They model the organizational values and accept risks and accountability for their actions as well as the actions of their team.

They promote the value of others:

 Effective leaders drive cooperative goal setting and develop trust through empowerment. They measure results, not tasks, and always expect excellence.

They encourage continuous learning:

 Effective leaders share knowledge and experience and strive to remove the fear of failure. They provide learning opportunities for their team members and encourage innovation while modeling commitment to personal growth.

They inspire teamwork:

Effective leaders involve their team in planning, gain commitment to team goals and support programs led by other leaders.

They inspire passion:

Effective leaders demonstrate their own passion for the organization’s vision, recognize individual contributions and celebrate team accomplishments.

We expect a lot from our leaders. Let us examine the essential leadership competencies to consider in evaluating your candidates.

Strategic Vision:

How will your leadership candidates provide a clear and credible vision for the future? How will they drive execution of the strategies essential for realizing your organization’s vision?

Change Leadership:

What will your leadership candidates do to create and energize positive change? What have they done previously to lead by example and move their previous organizations through major change?

Inspiring Followers:

Without followers, there are no leaders. What combination of attributes, behaviors and competencies will your leadership candidates adopt to inspire the people on their team to follow? You will want leaders to take charge, but to never threaten or intimidate.

Conflict Management:

 How will your leadership candidates handle inevitable conflicts that occur in any organization? When conflicts do emerge, how will they effectively work through them to achieve optimum outcomes?

Now you know the essential leadership competencies to consider in evaluating your candidates.

 Assessing Candidates Effectively

In screening candidates who you may want to interview and interviewing those who pass your initial screening, many organizations are plagued by two core challenges:

Lack of an effective assessment process:

 Far too often, candidate resumes are sorted into winners and losers based on one or two criteria. If the screener sees an attribute, they move the candidate to the interview pile. If not, they move them to the reject pile. The process wrongly excludes competent candidates (false negatives) and often moves unqualified candidates to the next step (false positives).

Screener and Interviewer bias:

 It is human nature to have criteria that define who you want and who you don’t want for a particular position in your company. Again, that causes companies to miss out on high-quality candidates and to move less qualified candidates through the process for consideration. It also affects diversity in the team, with consequent implications for overall company performance.

The key to hiring better candidates faster is implementing an effective assessment process that minimizes screener and interviewer subjectivity and creates a level playing field of objective evaluation.

 About HireQuotient

At HireQuotient, our AI-powered assessments help you create processes that objectively measure motivational competencies while minimizing screener and interviewer bias.

Our chatbot-powered skill assessments are built around realistic work scenarios, ensuring candidates answer structured questions based on the provided data and generate insights into each candidate’s job-specific skills and business competencies.

Learn more about how HireQuotient can help your organization assess the leadership competencies of your candidates today. Just visit to schedule a demo today!

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