Qualities to Look for in Top Administrative Talent

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The search for high level administrative talent and the search for entry and mid-level candidates are not exactly the same. In both cases, you need self-directed, committed employees who are willing and able to work hard and learn new things. But at lower levels, most jobs come with a bit of a ramp-up period and some formal or informal on-the-job training. Higher level positions, by contrast, are usually leadership roles starting on day one. So you need candidates who can use their lengthy experience to learn the ropes quickly and start making immediate decisions that will affect large numbers of other people. Here are a few traits that forecast success in this area.

The ability to read people.

The best administrative candidate won’t just be a “people person” who’s friendly and easy to get along with. That’s a given. All roles require people skills, but complex leadership roles require the ability to read the room and understand what isn’t being said in words. Strong company leaders really listen to, respect, and remember what others are saying during conversations. And they don’t have to have every thought and feeling spelled out for them.

The ability to switch tracks easily and quickly.

Strong administrative candidates can hold several projects or storylines in their heads at once and they can move easily from one area of focus to another. They don’t need constant recaps of concurrent projects, and they can pick up a thread right where it left off, even if they haven’t visited that thread in a long time.

An understanding of broad connections.

Valuable leaders understand how a company’s decisions can impact a wide range of stakeholders, and they recognize and respect each one of those stakeholders at all times. If a move might benefit one group, but come at a great cost to another, higher level administrators should be able to make a choice that benefits everyone and should be able to use multiple streams of data and information to justify that decision.

A limited number of total blind spots.

Effective leaders accurately recognize their weaknesses. When they need to rely on a thin knowledge base or flimsy skill set, they reach out for help. They know how to delegate, and they know how to engage the strengths of those around them without micromanagement or brittle egos. Because they rely on the skills, knowledge, and talents of others, their weak areas don’t typically hold them back.

Use behavioral interview questions to assess your candidate’s personality and management style, and look for applicants who shine in these specific areas. For more on how to staff your higher level positions, reach out to the Little Rock management experts at CSS.

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