How to Hire a Candidate With Great Leadership Qualities

Many of you will be familiar with this situation: a team member leaves, a job vacancy opens, CVs land on your desk and candidates come through the door. The job search that follows is all about finding candidates who are not only best qualified to fill the required role, but who possess leadership qualities that will complement those already at play within existing teams.

It is the responsibility of managers, team leads, and those in recruitment jobs to quickly and adeptly identify and decide whether a candidate is the right fit. After all, the ability for teams to work efficiently and colleagues to work in harmony often depends upon it.

There are a number of people management frameworks designed to help employers identify where their teams lack certain leadership qualities, and recruiters to detect the relevant skills in candidates early on. The PAEI management model – established by Dr. Ichak Adizes – is one such framework, claiming that the ‘ideal team’ consists of at least one of four workplace personalities: the producer, the administrator, the entrepreneur, and the integrator.

Whichever type of character you’re looking to hire, working a framework like PAEI into the recruitment process is essential – so, here’s three top tips on how to do so…


  1. Assess the skill set of your existing team

When searching to fill a vacancy, take a step back and assess the skill set of your existing team. This will help identify the leadership qualities you’re lacking and give you a clearer idea of what to look for in a new hire. The person you decide to bring in should complement the current mix of personalities and bring new skills or a fresh perspective to things. Work these qualities into the required job spec to ensure you’re attracting the right talent at the application stage.

  1. Make PAEI part of the interview process

Now you know the leadership qualities you’re looking for and you have a suitable candidate in the room, the next step is to put a framework like PAEI to the test. Try this interview toolkit, which translates the four leadership styles into a simple PDF Q&A format. Ask potential hires to answer the quick-fire personality and working style questions, as a follow-up to their formal interview. Compare the answers to the job spec and/or the responses of current team members and you should be able to pinpoint if and where they would fit into your organisation.

  1. Inform your hiring decisions with insights

Whether you’ve found a producer, administrator, entrepreneur, or an integrator, use the insights from their answers to inform your hiring decisions. What leadership style do you need the most? Which team will they best fit into? Where will they add the most value? By doing so, you’ll not only make sure that your existing team improves as a result of their joining, but that the new hire gets the most out of their working environment.

To find out what leadership qualities you should be looking for in future candidates, and to assess a personality type more easily in an interview, download the Resourcing Manager’s Interview Toolkit PDF.