Sourcing, searching and hiring A-level team members is difficult. The higher the stakes, the more challenging it becomes. When you recruit to round out your executive team, your goal is to find leaders who can not only meet and exceed business objectives, but also drive profitability, engagement and meaningful change.

These 5 “C” attributes should be high on your executive search checklist:


Hire executives with a clear vision for your organization and its direction. They should be forward- thinking, formulating the possibilities and gaining buy-in from others to share their view of the future.

  • Successful leaders constantly communicate their vision. It’s their responsibility to provide the resources and support to realize it – and they must be able to live with the end results.
  • Focus on hiring strong strategic thinkers. This applies not only to their own role, but also to how their function and contributions are a competitive advantage for your organization.


The best leaders are innately able to deal with whatever is thrown at them. Known as active copers, they constantly adapt to the unforeseen and in doing so, effectively mobilize and direct others.

  • Active copers strive to overcome difficulties. They move towards problems and opportunities with an open mind as opposed to passively retreating or becoming overwhelmed.
  • Look for a readiness to acquire new skills. This goes hand in hand with building strategies to cope with complexity and change. Active copers seek out new experiences and are not intimidated by related challenges.


No executive operates in a vacuum. They foster a mutually supportive environment that has a positive impact on the entire organization.

  • Research has shown that 38 percent of employees feel there is not enough collaboration in their companies. Good leaders inspire collaboration via positive recognition, encouragement from senior management and information sharing.
  • Your leaders should encourage employees to live your brand. It’s critical to foster communication at all levels, all the time. By constantly cascading key business messages downward, executives help employees to more easily and readily communicate with one another. This results in a solid sense of community and engagement.


In business, as in life, unexpected events occur for which there are no predetermined rules or guidelines. You need executives who thrive on a sense of curiosity when it comes to seeking out new, undiscovered information and solutions.

  • With each new challenge, the best leaders ask the right questions. These include: What’s really going on right now? What’s the best way for us to deal with it? What can we learn from this? How can we use it to strengthen our commitment to company goals and ideals?
  • Open-mindedness is key. Great leaders make it a point to actively listen and learn what employees are really thinking. They are open-minded and willing to explore diverse viewpoints. They have a genuine interest in what and how others think.


As noted by author James Kouzos, “If people don’t believe in the messenger, they won’t believe the message.” Credibility is the basic foundation of leadership.

  • Credibility is based on both words and actions. If these two areas are incongruent, credibility is nonexistent. For instance, a good leader doesn’t just say they’ll be accessible and help out as needed, they actually live up to this premise.
  • Find leaders who accept personal responsibility. They must attend to all their constituents and view themselves as others do. Credibility is key when sharing information or recognition and any time an executive interacts with employees or other stakeholders. If they expect others to believe what they say, they first must believe it themselves.

Working with the right executive search partner is key to your successful executive hiring strategy. The BrainWorks team has the expertise, resources and specialized experience you need to achieve your ongoing talent acquisition goals. Contact us today to learn more.

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