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In the words of Chris Corwin, Consultant at Witt/Kieffer, “The pull of a great leader is strong.” In today’s world it’s not uncommon to see an executive take a new position in order to work under a dynamic CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. However, turnover among healthcare executives is at an all-time high, meaning there’s a good chance that dynamic leader won’t be there next year.

So what does this mean for recruiting? According to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, Human Resources executives and hiring managers need to focus on hiring for the future, not just today. As opposed to hiring people who are a good organizational and cultural fit today, it’s important to find individuals who fit the organizations’ long-term strategic goals. It is wise to be leery of individuals who are focused only on the current leadership team instead of the overall organization and its future potential.

Interviewing Advice

Here are some tips on how to spot an executive for the future:

1. They praise current leaders in moderation.

It’s acceptable for an interviewee to acknowledge and compliment current leaders within the organization, but it should be kept within the context of the organization, its past achievement, and its future. If it goes beyond that, it could be a sign they are only there to be mentored by the current leader, and might jump ship if he or she resigns.

2. They have researched the organization.

It’s a good sign when any candidate has done their research, but an even better sign when a potential leader can prove they know exactly what kind of organization and culture they would be stepping into. They should be able to emphasize how their own skills and values align with the organization’s culture and mission.

3. They focus on the big picture.

Are they tuned in to industry trends and change? Are they prepared to help the organization not only at the present time, but down the road as well? It’s important new executives are able to see the big picture and adapt their skills to new landscape. The healthcare market is changing, and it’s critical to hire people who can change along with it when needed.

4. They are a team player.

A genuine team player can give examples of how they’ve collaborated with diverse colleagues in the past. There’s a lot of restructuring taking place in many healthcare organizations today, and it’s important that leaders are able to mesh well with a steady stream of new colleagues, realigned departments, committee requests, etc. As Corwin puts it, they must be able to think “we” as well as “me.”

It’s not a bad thing when executives want to work for a certain leader, to learn under their coaching and feed off their energy, but it’s important to make sure new hires fit with the overall culture and are prepared for an uncertain future.