Not just knowledge and skills: what employers look for when hiring people for leadership positions

Each employer, when hiring, presents several requirements to the applicant. In addition to work experience and professional competencies, there are several key points to consider before submitting a resume or attending an interview. What other things employers pay special attention to.

Lack of achievements

A resume is the quintessence of professional experience that allows an employer to figure out whether to hire a person or not quickly. There should be nothing superfluous in it – only key skills that correspond to the desired position.

It is advisable to display them in facts and figures to immediately focus the employer’s attention on the benefits that he will receive.

It’s another matter if there are gaps in work experience. Some employers may find career interruptions suspicious and may think the candidate is not taking the job seriously.

Frequent job changes

In the HR environment, people who work for six months and move to another company are called “flyers.” When looking at a resume with short experience in different organizations, an employer may have a double impression.

For example, he decides that the candidate is too ambitious, and at the first opportunity, he will move to where it is more profitable. It takes a long time to build a career in management positions: it takes several years for a specialist to open up and make a tangible contribution to the company’s development. Employers are well aware of this; therefore, when employing, directors pay attention to frequent transitions.

If there were objective reasons for the frequent change of seats, it is important to voice this. This can be a health condition, family circumstances, a move, an unstable company situation, and so on. By explaining why you quit your job so hastily, one can avoid unnecessary suspicion on the part of a potential employer.

Letters of recommendation

If there are several candidates for the position, they will tell the employer who to invite for an interview first. Written recommendations from past jobs, signed by the organization’s head, are a prerequisite for a response.

This is another chance to tell a potential employer about your professional responsibility and convince him to give you the desired position.

Employers do not just read letters when hiring for a managerial position; they communicate with referees and ask different questions. At this stage, inconsistencies with the resume may surface. Therefore, again, you should not embellish your professional skills and results.

Positive thinking

Self-confidence and the ability to notice positive moments even in a series of negativity are important qualities that an employer always pays attention to. A study by Harvard University psychology professor Shawn Achor has shown that a positive attitude in the team leads to higher productivity.

People who are inclined to complain at the slightest problem, on the contrary, are not capable of accomplishments and breakthroughs. They don’t see opportunities to fulfill their potential, don’t try too hard to complete tasks, and sit out hours at work.


The surest way to disappoint an employer even before the interview starts is to be late for it. It doesn’t matter if a person is 15 or 5 minutes late; the employer may decide that the time factor is unimportant for him. Therefore, punctuality is not characteristic, whether arriving on time for a business meeting or meeting deadlines.

Moreover, being late can be viewed as disrespectful or a sign that the person is not overly interested in getting the job. Few people want to work with an irresponsible specialist who is not serious about his work and does not know how to manage time.

Social networks

In today’s world, where everything is open and accessible online, it is important to have a good reputation. According to a survey, 84% of employers study a job seeker’s social media profile before making a final employment decision. The main goal is to assess the adequacy of a potential employee.

Everything is considered: from photos and comments on posts to the general tone of posts. For example, candid pictures that do not correspond to the company’s image or the professional status of the candidate himself can be repulsive.

In addition, the names of top specialists are often heard in connection with scandals or conflicts in the company, circulated in the media to attract attention. This can interfere with the applicant’s image, but such things can be worked with, for example, replaced with positive mentions. This is within the power of large organizations with extensive experience in creating the image of leaders and positioning candidates.


There is no need to get lost when communicating with a potential employer and be afraid to tell more about yourself. It is better to prepare a summary in advance – the main theses, from which it will be clear who the specialist is. You can discuss your outstanding results based on specifics: how many projects have been done, what goals have been achieved, and how long it took.

Non-verbal communication is also important: a firm and rhythmic step and even posture, a firm handshake, maintaining eye contact, a relaxed posture, clear diction are signs of confidence and psychological well-being. A high-level leader is used to behaving with dignity in any situation and not getting into personal conversations, even if he is provoked and asked uncomfortable questions during the interview.


Appearance is the first thing a person pays attention to when meeting. A person may be a great specialist, but an employer who is pushed away by his dirty shoes and the rumpled suit will never know about it and will hardly regret it. When you go to an interview, you need to tidy yourself up to look well-groomed. After all, neatness is part of the company’s overall image, and the way the job seeker cares about his appearance, to a certain extent, indicates his adequacy as a future specialist.

Since recently, companies have increasingly conducted the first stages of interviews remotely; some professionals allow themselves to communicate in home shorts and T-shirts. It is important to remember that an online interview is the same business meeting, so a zoom call does not override the office dress code and rules listed above.

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