I was recently asked to share what defines “A” players in the marketplace when recruiting leadership and key talent. The client asked, “what characteristics and traits should we be seeking if we truly want to recruit “A” talent to join our organization – executive leadership, management team and key people leader positions”. Although I could speak about this topic all day long, and technically do, I thought this would make for a great conversation with our blog readers!
First, let me share that this mindset in and of itself is unique. Too many organizations get comfortable in what has been successful and never move the needle beyond the point of yesterday’s success. This client, however, saw an opportunity to capitalize on what success looks like for the future. It’s exciting to partner with companies that are action and results-oriented!
They wanted to complement what has made them successful in the past decades with what will make them successful in the future! They truly do want to soar beyond where they are today…and
Second, I proceeded to share with them that an “A” candidate for one client does not equal an “A” candidate for another. However, after thinking through this organization’s request, I realized there are certainly traits that are consistent of top talent today.
Below is an initial list of traits that I believe define “A” candidates and top talent in today’s ever-changing environment. This list constantly evolves based on key learning’s from our client engagements and the dynamic definition of ideal talent in today’s marketplace. That said, here is my perspective today on what defines “A” talent:
Top 10 Attributes That Identifies “A” Talent
- Positive attitude and an energy giver
- Connector & Relationship Builder – excellent relationship development & communication skills
- Understands the differences between leadership and management (No matter what position you have today!)
- Collaborator – Encourages and enjoys teamwork and collaboration but willing to challenge ‘status quo’
- Understands authenticity and possess the ability to establish trust & credibility in an expedient manner
- Change agent – encourages new ideas and thinking outside the box
- Ability and willingness to roll up their sleeves & be hands-on when / where necessary (We call this the can-do / will-do attitude)
- Fits the culture & chemistry of the organization, leadership team and those around them
- Takes initiative and is consistently self-motivated to take action and create desired business results
- Desires ongoing development both professionally and personally
The executive and human resource team that asked this question is leading a growing organization in the consumer package goods and distribution industries and has been wildly successful over many decades. They are reaching for a new level of success and being challenged by the ever changing customer demands and the consumer/customer centric movement. During our engagement together we have been focusing on their identified strengths while recruiting leadership and talent that will stretch their minds and business beyond where they are today as they seek the desired next level of success.
What would you add to this list? What traits do you seek in top candidates and “A” leadership? What traits do you see as the ‘driving motivators’ of selecting the right candidates? How do you benchmark these traits among candidates?
Written by: Mike Sipple Jr. is President of Centennial, Inc., an executive recruiting and talent strategy dedicated to empower organizations to plan, hire, retain and grow.