How to Hire for Management Potential

Managers play an essential role in any healthcare organisation. They help inspire and mobilise staff, and they ensure that tasks get done correctly and things run smoothly. Some people are natural born leaders, others need a bit of coaxing, and others again much prefer to follow the directions of someone in a more senior role….

Managers play an essential role in any healthcare organisation. They help inspire and mobilise staff, and they ensure that tasks get done correctly and things run smoothly.

Some people are natural born leaders, others need a bit of coaxing, and others again much prefer to follow the directions of someone in a more senior role.

So how do you tell which candidates have management potential from a resume or interview?

Have your candidates share their experiences

Ask your potential healthcare hires for examples where they have:

  • Brought a group of people together to achieve a set outcome.
  • Overcome a problem or challenge that seemed impossible.
  • Championed a change or cause they believed in.
  • Handled criticism over an action or goal.

Not only should their experiences embody leadership ability, but the way in which they present their experiences can be an essential method for assessing these skills firsthand.

Promising leaders are typically:

  • Strong presenters with good communication skills.
  • Empathetic and able to get their listeners onside.
  • Passionate and enthusiastic about their work.
  • Authoritative and able to engender trust and respect.

The ability to critically assess a situation in order to improve future outcomes is also a key leadership skill.

Ask about the unpleasant side of leadership

Good leaders and managers must also often deal with unpleasant tasks. In the healthcare context these include staff discipline and other personnel challenges, being accountable for unmet goals and surpassed budgets, responding to sudden crises, managing conflicting demands from stakeholders and attempting to secure funding and resources.

The higher up the chain, the more challenging these tasks become, and the greater the onus placed on the leader or manager, who will be expected to demonstrate continued improvement even in the face of the above.

When hiring for management skills, ask about the challenges your candidates have faced in the name of leadership – and pose some difficult questions to see how comfortable they are in setting aside their ego for the good of the team and organisation.

Assess your candidates for organisational fit

Having great leadership skills is one thing but having great leadership skills that gel with your healthcare organisation is another again.

If a potential candidate’s management style is at odds with the overall environment of the organisation, then they’re unlikely to be a successful leader.

For example, if a leader prefers to work in an office with a closed door and expects employees to be available on weekends, their leadership style might not work for an open-plan office setting where employees value work-life balance.

To avoid these sorts of clashes, be sure to outline the organisational culture for your candidate and try to gauge whether they’ll be a good fit.

Leadership skills in summary

When hiring a management candidate for your healthcare organisation, it’s essential to consider their demonstrated leadership skills across a range of contexts, the way they present themselves as a leader, their ability to deal with challenging situations and their overall fit within the organisation.

For further guidance and support on how to hire for management potential, please contact one of our dedicated healthcare recruitment consultants.