Opinion

Never hire leaders based on words of mouth

By: Ben Patrick

It is no longer sufficient to hire leaders based solely on performance data or the word of top executives. To ensure leaders not only deliver performance results, but are also great people, requires a more thoughtful view of hiring that considers a range of factors and procedures.

This helps organizations accelerate and sustain performance by enhancing the capabilities of their people and linking talent to value creation.

It can take more than a year to find the right candidate to fill a new position or any vacant positions based on what kind of personnel the organization wants. Therefore, CEOs need to proactively project and define the future of the companies. The executive need move from a hierarchical view of development to a more fact-based and diverse view of hiring and developing talent, targeting selection and personalizing development through analytics.

In this talent-first era of business performance, having the right person in the right position is essential. Hiring by word of mouth means talent referrals from someone you know and trust, and the speed and power of the grapevine is clear. However, word-of-mouth hiring can introduce bias into the process by potentially limiting the number of candidates for consideration. It also discourages diversity of the talent pool by highlighting candidates with a connection to the company.

The need for a fresh leadership baseline is acute. The nature of the word “leadership” has evolved through digitization, automation, shifts in generational expectations of work and a gig economy. Leaders today must demonstrate they care about the individuals on their teams to best magnify the impact of their talent and align the right talent to the right value creation opportunities. They must be curious about change and its implications on their own sphere of influence. They must have the courage to make hard choices, raise risks others aren’t seeing and maintain their course when others embrace a new fad.

It is no longer sufficient to hire leaders based solely on performance data or the word of top executives. To ensure leaders not only deliver performance results, but are also great people, requires a more thoughtful view of hiring that considers a range of factors and procedures.

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