The candidate was polished. You were wowed in the interview. And his last organization sure produced some impressive numbers. This person is obviously a successful leader. It’s a no-brainer, right?
Maybe not. When a candidate for a leadership position interviews well, beware. It’s easy to get lulled and you could be making a costly mistake. Dig deeper.
Were the impressive results because of the person or despite them? Did they actually do something or were they an innocent bystander? One test: ask them about their plan to achieve the results and the actions that produced them. What was their role in developing the plan and taking action? To what extent did external factors – economic or market factors – contribute to the results? What challenges did they face while implementing the plan and how did they deal with them? Did they have to put together a team or was the right team already in place?
Many candidates for leadership roles are impressive on the surface. They’ve learned to interview well and they’ve been associated with strong results. But being associated with strong results isn’t the same as producing them.