Two Top Contenders: Who Would You Pick?

From tribal chieftains to contemporary CEOs, they’ve earned the right to their position because of exemplary leadership. Throughout history and weaved into every culture, we turn to compelling leaders because they provide the guidance, clarity, and assurance we need.

Yet, when it comes to hiring direct reports – or plans for our next top performer, sometimes as leaders, we can feel ‘stuck’. Stuck deciding which candidate would be the best choice. Still, everyone is looking to us to make sure we ‘pick’ the best one.

After all, our decision to going to impact everyone~

We all know how much work is involved in screening, interviewing, and deciphering a candidate’s genuine traits versus those he is putting on ‘for show’. As a matter of fact, it can get real old, real fast when all we want is some sign that the decision we’re making is the right one for our organization.

The Big Decision: Focusing on a Lot More than Meets the Eye

Our goal as leaders is to not have to go through this again any time soon. We want – we need – to hire a good, solid top performer who will not only be a great addition to our team, but one that we could prime for sustainability with our company.

There is a primal component here that we shouldn’t ignore.

Whether or not we want to admit it we draw people into our emotional orbit. Knowing that up to 80% of the contributing factors for success revolve around emotional intelligence in the workplace, our decision will leave a lasting impression. It will also directly impact our existing employees and the relationships we have with them, insomuch as their future productivity levels (and could even impact their loyalty – if our decision is too askew).

As leaders, we recognize the importance of the health of our own emotional intelligence. However, we should expect the same from our new hires. We should be looking for cues. Signs. Very clear signs.

We want (and need) the same from our direct reports. Our people depend on it. Our customers expect it. And our bottom line will prove it.

  • When a candidate is enthusiastic, emotions are escalated. What happens next? Performance soars
  • When we can truly tell where a candidate’s values reside, integrity mounts. Bringing that type of ethics and morality into our workplace and credibility ascends
  • When our front line workers are naturally ‘drawn’ to our new hire, we can rest assured that things like motivation, innovation, and the desire to come to work every day is going to be positively impacted

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”

~Anthony Robbins

There is more truth to this than you might imagine when considering the finer points of the hiring process, too. As a matter of fact, the sole art of communication is far more encompassing on the process of talking and listening. But as leaders, we know that.

The stress associated with choosing between two great candidates can become so overwhelming that it isn’t uncommon that a leader will revert back to what is familiar.

But what’s is familiar isn’t always in our company’s long-term best interest.

Therefore, taking the time to assess some of the indirect qualities and traits of a candidate just might provide the answer you are in search of. Such indirect qualities are oftentimes sluffed off as what might otherwise be a given. Most of the time as a matter of fact, they provide very clear answers.

Reflect a moment on your own experiences. What were the deciding factors that convinced you to choose one candidate over another?

Who Would You Pick?

Two top contenders were vying for a premium position at a renowned Fortune 500.

Candidate #1: Recent Ivy league graduate, with a shiny new 4.0 MBA to show for it. Not only did he meet the minimum requirements for the position, but he exceeded areas of expertise that would likely get him promoted faster than what was considered norm at any company. His education is clearly an advantage.
Plus, he had served as an intern with a competitor, so that was another leg-up. He showed up in an Armani, carrying a very impressive, high-end briefcase (attaché). His portfolio (physically and experience-wise) could blow the socks off the decision makers.
He wasn’t shy about all of his accolades. He strived to control the interview by providing answers that were above and beyond what your company was actually ‘looking for’. There wasn’t a fleeting moment of doubt that his aggressiveness is what has earned him all that he is raving about.
As a matter of fact, the interview panel even sensed a bit of arrogance in the way he seemed to ‘look down’ at some of your company’s other direct reports who were made mention of during the course of conversation. Though you and your interview panel didn’t react, you all know that you already have some of the best-of-the-best on your team.
Such comments [almost] rubbed you the wrong way, but you kept your lipped zipped to let him show his true colors. Clearly – no need to react to a candidate exuding such behaviors. We all know that there are lots of factors involved in choosing the finalist.

Candidate #2: Also earned his MBA from a less prestigious university a handful of years ago. With a 3.7, his GPA was backed by five years of experience in the field. He earned promotions at his last position hand over foot. The work he accomplished at his previous position was extremely impressive.
Not only did he have the numbers to support the revenues generated by his work, but he also took the time to explain how he planned to integrate this skill into spiking revenues at your organization. Obviously, he did his homework because weaved throughout his conversation was tidbits of understanding and familiarity of your company.
This particular candidate was coming from a top competitor. He arrived in a nice suit – well pressed and conservative. He was dressed to impress, but moreover, what spilled out of his mouth knocked the socks off the interview panel.

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Dr. Jennifer Beaman
Dr. Jennifer Beaman
FOR over 25 years, Jennifer has served as an executive consultant helping organizational leaders streamline processes and strategies by enhancing skills and practices. Serving as a strategic consultant to industry-wide businesses throughout California, she soon recognized the unparalleled value of human capital. In turn, she introduced leadership and executive development services, thereby providing a more holistic opportunity for clients. Cornerstone to helping leaders recognize the power of their actions and behavior, she weaves the art of emotional intelligence into all interactions, thereby promoting thorough value to the entirety of organizational systems. Joining ranks as a business owner in 2004, she partnered in a California-based sign manufacturing business. This business served a variety of clients, primarily larger corporations, franchises and Fortune 100-500s. In 2008, she participated in partnership in southern California specializing in project management and leadership development services. This corporation served clients ranging from Fortune 50-100s. The Association for Leadership Practitioners is a subsidiary of a parent company opened in 2010 and serves clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500s. Dr Beaman also serves as a partner at Chasing Limitless, Inc., providing strategic consulting and executive leadership development services to catapult organizational revenue and growth and primarily serves Fortune 500 companies. She holds a Doctorate in Management with a focus in Organizational Leadership; Master's degree in Organizational Management; and Bachelor's degree in Organizational Development. She is an active member is several professional affiliations and volunteers on a consistent basis helping entrepreneurs and doctoral students working toward publishing their dissertations.

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