Lee Hecht Harrison
Los Angeles office

When job candidates meet with human resources professionals, they often try only to reveal things about themselves that they want to be seen. But savvy HR professionals can recognize a variety of personality and leadership traits that are revealed during what can be, depending on the job, a lengthy and thorough interviewing process.

Recently, there was a very well publicized, and perhaps the most important, job opening in the country with two top candidates in the running. That job is president of the U.S. with the HR department being the voting public.

“But regarding regular business, of course HR professionals will know what to look for during the interview process that will indicate in this case who the best candidate for the job might be,” says Don Wells, senior vice president and general manager of leading career services company Lee Hecht Harrison’s Los Angeles office.

Whether it is a presidential candidate or a C-level job applicant, many of whom go through an arduous process of up to 10 interviews before being offered a position, Wells believes that it’s imperative for the interviewer to have sufficient information about a candidate’s leadership ability before making a decision.

In this spirit, here are four important “Cs of Leadership” to watch for during your interviews during the next year or so:

It may seem obvious, but it can’t be stressed enough. Some of the most important attributes of a good leader are positive and developed communication skills. Is the candidate’s message clear? Does he or she stop talking and judging long enough to listen to others?

A challenge faced by many leaders is remaining steadfast in their values and maintaining the corporate culture despite being pulled in many directions at once. It is crucial to demonstrate that they can be trusted to follow through on what has been promised.

Good leaders must be able to get buy-in from important stakeholders on the tough decisions. They should encourage and value the perceptions and interests of others, set an environment for clear and honest discussions and understand all sides of an issue, rather than only seeking information that supports their own opinion.

Leaders at any level should be able to find common ground in the face of conflict, while focusing on the important issues to meet the needs of their constituency.

“Obviously there is no template that will be effective for screening all job candidates,” says Wells. “However, given careful scrutiny, their true leadership traits will become evident.”