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8 Ways to Hire for Upper Management and Leadership Roles

Hiring upper management is no easy task. But, it's worth the extra effort to get the perfect candidate. Here are a few tips for hiring upper management:

1. Know your company culture and what you’re looking fo

Before you can start hiring, it is essential to know your company’s culture and the culture you would like it to have. Whether you have a great culture and are looking for new hires who are willing to positively contribute to the existing work environment or have a company with a culture that can use a shift, it is essential to hire individuals who are a good fit for where you are going.

Make sure you have the answers to these questions:

  • What does your company stand for?

  • How does your organization make challenging decisions?

  • What are your company’s values?

Once you have a clear idea of how your company works, you will be well suited to determine the individuals that will be a good fit.

2. Pay extra attention and care to how you describe your company in job advertisements

Your job ad is your opportunity to impress potential candidates with your company culture and vision. This is an opportunity to state the duties of the position but also an opportunity to explain your culture and mission. As a leader, your upper management hire will need to be a champion of your company culture. A litmus test for possible hires is to ask them about their work-life balance and company culture and make sure it's compatible with your organization’s current and future work environment.

3. Build the Positions Qualifications Not Just based on the qualifications of your industry but the specific needs of your organization

When looking for candidates, always have specific qualifications in mind. Pre-specified, ethical criteria make the hiring process more manageable. Pairing this information with a hiring timeline helps you track your progress in your hiring efforts.

4. Hire for attitude

Skills will develop with practice, but hiring for attitude is a sure-fire way to give your company the best chance of success. Great leaders have the right ideas and approaches to getting the job done right, now and in the future. A great resume with a horrible attitude and people skills is a sure-fire way to cause friction in your company culture, particularly if they are in a leadership role.

Pay attention to how your potential hires interact with everyone in the office, from the janitors to the receptionist. If they treat everyone respectfully, that is a good sign of a positive attitude.

5. Hire With Diversity In Mind

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of having diverse teams. The varying experiences and perspectives are a proven competitive advantage in every industry. Take a hard look at your team and see who and what is missing. Then look to fill those gaps. However, that doesn't mean hiring the first person that checks the diversity box. You should hire people who have different perspectives and are also qualified and capable of adding value to your organization. Don’t know where to start? Reach out to organizations that support the demographics you are looking to hire. If you are concerned with having enough time to form a proactive strategy for finding diverse upper management candidates, we are happy to schedule a consultation with you.

6. Ask for referrals

If you have employees who have made a positive impact in their role, request a referral or two from them. People know their colleagues, friends, and family members best. A referral can provide the company's insider view straight from the source. After all, good people often know good people.

7. Promote from Within

The best way to build your leadership team is to watch for signs of leadership skills among your employees and promote them if they're suitable for the job. You want someone who has confidence, good communication skills, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Promoting from within ensures your upper management understands your company’s vision and helps to facilitate employee morale by showing there is room for growth and upward mobility within the organization.

8. Expand Your Search

COVID has taught us that teams can thrive remotely. Often geographic limitations can limit a business’ search for a talented management team. If you’re limiting your search to a 60-mile radius of your company, consider expanding that search. The cost of paying relocation expenses for a talented employee may be well worth the value they’ll bring to your organization. As you expand your search nationwide, you may find someone who is interested in relocating to your city anyway.


Finding the perfect candidate for upper management is hard, but it's worth it. If you are having trouble hiring or finding a diverse pool of candidates, don't hesitate to book a complimentary consultation with one of our DEI consultants.

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