How to Recognize and Hire for “Executive Presence”

How to Recognize and Hire for “Executive Presence”

Executive presence is an intangible trait that can have a significant impact on the chances for success.

There are three main factors, appearance, trustworthiness and authoritative communication, which contribute enormously to an image as someone who can influence executives and advance in their career because they have what it takes to lead and influence.

If you are an interviewer, you should know how to recognize “executive presence” and then apply best practices from behavior based interviewing training to explore what lies behind the image. If you are interviewing someone for an executive position or for a role that needs to persuade executives, here is how to put their executive presence potential in the spotlight:

  • Appearance. While it may seem shallow, first impressions matter. Do they look the part? Whether you are on Wall Street and need a finely tailored suit or in a high-tech startup, be aware of the image your candidate projects with their clothes and hair style. Do they dress a “notch above” and enter a room with confidence?

  • Trustworthiness. Recent research at the Harvard Business School by Amy Cuddy suggests that trustworthiness and confidence act together to form first impressions. Does your candidate come across as warm, trustworthy, capable and competent?

  • Communication with Authority. Do they speak with authority and from a depth of knowledge and experience commensurate with their role? Are they concise? Are they compelling? Do they easily convince others that there is great depth behind what they say?
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