Who Gets Hired and Why?

The ideal executive candidate is the sum of multiple variables. Yes, we expect the résumé to shine and the interview to be stellar, but what is the DNA of the ideal candidate?

Integrity is in the genetic code of an honest, sincere and principled leader. It is an ever-present code of conduct that is noble and should be celebrated and rewarded. When composing your résumé, there is sometimes the temptation to amplify one’s credentials. However, your résumé is your calling card and says more about you than you might realize. A person of integrity will be measured when presenting their credentials, not overly modest, but accurate when describing their experience. Nothing turns a recruiter off more than an excessively exaggerated résumé. Integrity establishes the relationship between a candidate and hiring manager.

An accomplished person is highly skilled and well trained. Your level of proficiency, from novice to expert, is relative to the size and scale of your role and organization. For example, it is one thing to be an accomplished CEO of a company with 500 employees versus a CEO who oversees 50,000 employees. Regardless of the scope, they both require a significant experience level that only comes when mastering your craft. Time, patience and practice are the trinity to becoming accomplished.

Sound judgment and experience stems from the culmination of emotional intelligence gained by failure, repetition, courage and success, which helps form one’s decision-making skills. However, it is through knowledge and experience that the learning takes place. Experience is gained in good times and bad and develops the essential skills and behaviors that collectively create insight. Insight, along with factual evidence, is how experienced leaders learn to make informed decisions. When interviewing, you will have several opportunities to share the depth and breadth of your experience; don’t be shy, use this time to shine. You’ve earned bragging rights, just remember to corroborate your experience with tangible examples of success. Describe your qualifications, how they were attained and what value they offer. And remember, along with experience, organizations want to know that their leaders, above all, operate using sound judgment. Leaders demonstrate their strengths in several ways. Some are introverts, some are extroverts, and some are extroverted introverts. Regardless of their leadership styles, accomplished CEOs and executives recognize the importance of building relationships with employees and stakeholders by rewarding innovation and remaining nimble to unforeseen challenges.

What are the traits and characteristics of an extrovert? Extroverts are outgoing and enjoy social settings more than introverts. They don’t require a lot of downtime and they thrive around people. They enjoy being the center of attention and gain energy from being around other people. A few of the most famous and talented extroverts include personalities such as Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and President Obama. Individually, they express their leadership style in alignment with their personalities, but collectively they are textbook extroverts.

Studies show that 70% of CEOs describe themselves as introverts. Take a moment and think about influential and successful CEOs who reflect the qualities of an introvert. Leaders like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Steven Spielberg are more reserved and manage quietly by utilizing influence and persuasion to motivate and encourage innovation. Introverts are highly successful and are known to be exceptional leaders.

Extroverted introverts, also known as outgoing introverts, are individuals who exhibit qualities of both extroverts and introverts. They can be outgoing when needed and enjoy meeting new people, but can only endure so much socializing. After a long day of work, they are more likely to retreat and prefer to spend time alone. This combination is a powerful commodity and quite desirable.

An exceptional leader is fundamentally layered. The qualities and characteristics vary from individual to individual and no two look alike, nor should they. Individuality and personality can never be duplicated. Leadership can be loud, quiet, learned and mastered. They may lead thousands, or a few, but the DNA is the same. A strong leader must have integrity, accomplishments, solid and tested experience, and sound judgment. Regardless of their management style, exceptional leaders inspire and influence others to follow.

The Career Engineering series features the expert advice of Amy Rueda, a 25-year veteran of executive search, who has placed CEOs and C-suite executives across multiple industries and functional areas. Her passion for leading diversity initiatives that focus on change management and employee engagement is reflected in her portfolio of accomplishments. Amy studied political science and was born and raised in Los Angeles.

Email your career questions to connectfeedback@alumni.ucla.edu and Amy will try and answer them in next month’s issue of Career Engineering.

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