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Chronicle

They mean business for your business - attracting strong leaders

Posted: 27 January 2016

The ultimate workforce is an eco-system of skills, personalities and ambitions. And at the heart of it all is the strong leader. From this forward-thinker, big picture pusher sprouts off a series of supportive, multi-focused pros that all come together to create a complex and colourful culture.

As with all hiring processes, it can be tricky to find that exact and unique candidate for that strong leadership role. This particular elk of leader is looking for something a little different from a potential employer.

Tailoring your recruitment strategy to zone in on strong leaders doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Knowing what they want and being sure to outline how you can meet and exceed those needs/ambitions is what it’s all about. Some light, artful job description writing and some honest insight into your growth goals can be the tempter those strong leaders need to look and move your way.

How to attract the biggest and boldest leaders out there - freedom, clichés & patience.

This breed of leader look for the Why and How just as much as the what. When it comes to attracting this specific talent group, it’s all about clarity and honesty. Leaders like to know the lay of the land and have a real grasp of the inner workings of a company, and how exactly they can make their mark.

  • Big up the culture of freedom.

Leaders, especially strong ones, need to feel that they can move within and really make changes to a culture. Being experimental is a key leadership trait and these pros need to feel they can be trusted to be themselves and think outside the box with your support. These leaders can get bored fast, so ensure they know that you’re an open, innovative explorer with a finger on the progressive pulse.

  • Re-phrase tasks as responsibilities.

We all need to know that what we do is of value. Instead of outlining their duties as a series of tasks, opt to explain them in terms of long-term, foundational responsibilities. It gives their duty a sense of scope and makes them see that their actions are more than a series of empty steps. Empower them to think big picture.

  • Roll out an on-brand, consistent value base.

Have you got a steady stream of consistent value-based info about your company available? Are the message and your goals concise and clear to understand? If there’s any inconsistency or inauthenticity about what you’re trying to achieve as a company, this can flag up as confusing or a weakness to potential leaders. Be bold, clear and consistent in your brand values throughout your website, social media, job ads, the lot.

  • Avoid throwaway, vague job ads.

How many times do you come across the phrase ‘strong leadership skills’? Yep, a lot. Strong leaders, in fact all leaders, don’t respond to this phrase. Don’t reply on tired clichés and watered down, generic job ads. Outline exactly what you need from a leader and why you need it. This honesty will appeal and it will illustrate that you know the difference between a strong leader and a mere manager.

  • Get exclusive with development & training.

Managers want to progress, grow and impact. The first thing they’ll look for will be a development or training program. Go one up by offering strong leaders an exclusive program that is rolled out across the company, and outwit the in-house facilities. Arrange expert speakers, unique resources and advanced support.

  • Cast a wide net.

Don’t be limited by industry or experience. Throw that net wide and be patient when it comes to sifting through the applicants. If you’re narrow-minded about industry or keep your search too specific, you could be sacrificing soft skills for hard. Look for things like leadership approach, multiple strategies and how they ID with challenges.

A good way to look at this strong leadership search is to scrap the ego and try to hire leaders that are better than you. Don’t be limited in scope or vision, and don’t be intimidated or closed off to new and fresh leadership outlooks. Strong leaders thrive when they are trusted so make sure they can see that throughout your hiring process.

Do you like this stuff? Then join over 21,000 other awesome people who get tips on improving their employer brand, recruitment, marketing and the odd spot of career advice delivered directly to their inbox from me! @markbevans