To help you identify leadership potential in your 2024 candidates, we’ve gathered insights from recruiters and HR Managers. From valuing resilience to looking at situations with empathy, here are the top attributes these professionals look for in potential leaders.

Valuing Resilience

In a rapidly changing and uncertain world, adaptability and resilience are crucial leadership qualities. Candidates who can quickly adjust to new circumstances, learn from setbacks and maintain composure in high-pressure situations are often seen as having strong leadership potential. These individuals can help guide their teams and organizations through challenges and lead them toward success in an ever-evolving landscape.

Kaytlin Martin
Recruiter, Career Strategies

Hiring for Passion and Mission Alignment

People are at the core of every organization. That’s why hiring “right” for each and every position within your organization is so vital. Many times, hiring committees are too busy checking boxes to remember to consider the overall “fit.” Sometimes, the person who checks the most boxes isn’t the best fit.

When an organization learns how to hire for “passion” for their mission, that’s where the magic happens. If your new hires have a passion for your mission, they are more likely to stick around, which allows the time needed for leadership development. Remember, you can train employees on policies and procedures, but you can’t train passion.

Phillip Estes
Leadership and OD Consultant, Estes Consulting

Prioritizing Flexibility in Team Collaboration

I’m a 20+ year veteran recruiter working exclusively in advertising/marketing. Like many industries, the advertising niche was hit significantly by the COVID pandemic a few years ago. Because of the severity of this pandemic, working remotely became commonplace. That said, the attribute that I find most appealing is flexibility.

Like many industries, advertising is a “team sport”… It requires the collaboration of many people from different disciplines—strategy, production, execution, etc. Working remotely can be a hindrance, but there is no other viable solution. Those candidates who are flexible, willing to meet via video conference, in the office, at a coffee shop, wherever necessary, are invaluable.

Now, with Covid-19 subsiding, many of the younger employees are refusing to return to the office. This is becoming problematic because of their lack of mentorship. The ability to watch/listen to senior management is invaluable—one that the younger generation doesn’t seem to grasp.

Jamie McCann
Executive Recruiter, 3AM Marketing Services

Assessing Strategic Thinking Abilities

As a seasoned HR and talent acquisition leader, I prioritize the assessment of candidates’ strategic thinking abilities, a critical quality for future leadership within any organization. With over two decades in this field, recruiting entry-level to C-suite, I’ve consistently recognized that individuals adept at strategic thinking possess the vision and analytical prowess to steer teams and companies toward sustained success.

These individuals demonstrate an exceptional grasp of complex business environments, foresee potential hurdles and innovate solutions essential for effective organizational strategy development and implementation. Strategic thinking in leadership can significantly impact employees’ success by providing a bigger picture and aligning their efforts with overarching organizational goals.

This strategy cultivates a collaborative atmosphere, empowering employees while providing them with the essential resources to make impactful decisions crucial to overall success.

Shannon Garcia-Lewis
Owner/Principal, Strategic Business Partners, LLC

Seeking Agile Leaders with Adaptability

One of the most important attributes I look for is how quickly someone can get on their feet when things change because, let’s face it, things change quickly in business and adaptability is a big deal. I appreciate confidence in a candidate, but what I appreciate more is the willingness to learn and adapt. The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, and more than anything, we need agile leaders who are eager to keep up with this change.

I’m always on the lookout for someone who’s got a track record of picking up new stuff on the fly and actually using it to make things better. Like, if they’ve jumped into a new role and crushed it, or maybe they took some tough feedback and used it to up their game.

Historically, when we’ve hired candidates who are hungry, have a competitive mindset and aren’t afraid to shake things up a little bit, we end up with someone who inspires others to follow suit. They’re the ones who keep us all on our toes and continually push the business forward.

Justin Smith
CEO, Contractor+

Promoting Inclusive Decision-Making

A key attribute we seek in leaders at Spacelift is inclusive decision-making. Inclusive leaders foster environments where diverse perspectives are actively sought and valued. This approach not only enhances team morale but also drives innovation, as varied viewpoints often lead to more comprehensive solutions.

By prioritizing inclusivity, decision-making becomes a collective process that reflects a broader range of experiences and expertise, resulting in outcomes that are robust and well-rounded. Emphasizing it in your leadership development ensures decisions are well-informed and reflective of your diverse workforce.

Nuria Requena
Talent Acquisition Manager, Spacelift

Recognizing Initiative 

I’m a firm believer in the power of initiative as an indicator of leadership potential. When I’m evaluating candidates, I’m not just looking for someone who can do the job well; I’m looking for someone who goes above and beyond without being asked. Initiative shows me that the individual is not only invested in their own success but also in the team’s success and the entire organization.

They’re the ones who identify gaps, propose solutions and take steps to implement those solutions, often before anyone else even recognizes there’s a problem. In my opinion, initiative is a clear sign that a candidate has the foresight and ambition necessary for leadership.

Ester Puleo
Talent Acquisition Specialist, Energy Casino

Looking at Situations with Empathy

I think that empathy from potential leaders is often overlooked as a critical management and leadership trait. Empathy will allow leaders to assess situations from the perspective of their team, and not simply be led by their own ego or opinions.

Wendy Makinson
HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll