Top 10 Competencies We Seek When Recruiting Executive Management

Achieving your company’s vision for a better future is often tied to innovation and operations working in concert to achieve milestones within a plan. If you’re recruiting executive management to help make this happen then how will you identify the candidate who is a master of transmitting information, able to make great decisions on the fly, and uplift team confidence? 

Beyond the top 10 competencies described in this article, select the competencies that matter most to you using Amtec’s Behavioral Interview Questions Generator. It’s free to use and can be used both as a way to choose the core competencies essential to your open position and to generate a printable list of insightful interview questions for discerning which candidates possess these qualities.

Some competencies are easy to spot and measure, while others may prove to be more of a challenge to uncover. For more than 60 years we have strived to ensure that our executive management recruiters will successfully serve our clients by providing recruits who possess the top competencies for their position. Here is an example of 10 of the 84 competencies available to select through the Behavioral Interview Questions generator.

Effective Communications

Effective communications are key to the successful operations of any business. Whether through face-to-face discourse, phone calls, emails, texting, presentations, memos, reports, or any number of other mediums, company initiatives and operations rely on communications. An executive manager who struggles to communicate can disrupt the operational flow or otherwise impede the successful implementation of initiatives.

Along with being adept at transmitting information, effective executive managers are also masters at receiving incoming information. That is, they make a concerted effort to listen to other people and have exceptional comprehension skills that help them process incoming information.

The communications skills of executive management recruits are fairly easy to assess, as the recruitment process itself is highly dependent upon effective communications.

Confidence a Key Metric of Success

Athletes generally do not enter a competition or game with a mindset focused on losing, and those that do rarely come out on top. Winning athletes generally go into competitions with a winning mindset that helps enhance all of the elements—athleticism, strategy, teamwork, strength, etc.—that contribute to their victory. The same holds true with effective executive managers, whose confidence helps enhance overall operations, as well as distinct initiatives. Confidence is infectious, and great executive managers spread such confidence through their teams.

A lack of confidence is fairly easy to uncover during the recruitment process and confidence needs to be apparent within the context of their decision-making ability. A candidate who fails to answer tough questions with conviction indicates a lack of decisiveness.

Decision Making

Speaking of decisiveness, executive managers often need to make rapid decisions on the fly, even when they do not have all of the information needed to support such decisions. Decision-making involves strategic thinking oriented towards what is the best option for the initiative, team, and overall organization. While waffling can buy time, time is often of the essence and requires decisive decision-making.  


Both on the macro or micro level, great executive managers have vision. They can envision their role in an organization and clearly articulate how they would work to meet the near-term objectives of their team while contributing to the overarching longer-term mission of the company. 


Whether referred to as “motivation” or “passion,” great executive managers always strive for success in everything they do. Passionate executives love what they do and their motivation not only drives their own push to deliver results but also helps motivate the entire team. 


While being highly competent at slaying dragons as a lone knight in armor might be admirable, it generally doesn’t work in the real world. Thus, the executive night in armor must be adept at delegating responsibilities to optimize teamwork that will slay dragons and build castles.


Top executive managers tend to be keen observers of everything going on around them and are able to spot inefficiencies and emerging problems. They will push to make changes where needed and proactively seek out ways to build that better mousetrap. Innovative thinking is an important key to a company’s continuing success and, as said by Apple founder Steve Jobs, “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be inherent, learned or a combination of the two. Executives with strong emotional intelligence traits can “read” people and/or “read the room.” Whether intuitively or through practice, they can assess issues from other—often conflicting—points of view, which allows them to hone a more comprehensive response and/or strategize win-win solutions for conflict resolution. Emotional intelligence involves keeping one’s ego in check, listening to others, having an open mind, and understanding inter-relationship management. 


Effective executive managers are team players who enhance the team’s collaboration by empowering others. They work to help employees maximize their potential by giving them responsibilities that are beneficial to the team, company, and/or specific project, while also boosting their skills and future potential. Empowerment also means acknowledging employees’ successes, while also being willing to share in accountability when a project fails to meet expectations.

Subject Matter/Leadership Expertise

This competency is highly subjective and depends in large part on the executive management recruit’s potential position within the organization. In short, the executive manager candidate probably needs to have some experience/education relating to the company’s (and/or team’s) mission/operations and, typically, the more the better. On top of this, though and, equally important, is the management roles a candidate has successfully played within the C-Suite and/or during their quest to get there.  

Let Amtec Assess the Core Competencies

Naturally, there are other factors we examine during our executive management recruitment process but our top candidates typically exhibit these 10 competencies. If you would like to learn more about our recruitment process and how we uncover the best executive managers, contact us today.   

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