Important factors to consider when hiring executives
August 15, 2022

6 Important Factors to Consider When Hiring Executives

Companies spend a lot of time, resources, and effort looking for a good-fitting executive. That’s because they know executives are critical when planning for the company’s overall success.

To hire the best people for executive leadership, you need to understand what makes an excellent executive. That’s where accounting employment agencies in Ontario like us can help. 

The AHK Accounting Recruiters team has experience staffing positions at different levels, so we know what qualities to look for. 

Read on below for six positive traits of excellent executives and four red flags to watch for!

The Role of Executives

Executives are leaders. What they’re tasked with varies depending on the size of the organization they work for. 

Small business executives may see their days filled with administrative tasks and training, while an executive’s chief concern in a larger business could be developing policies and strategic planning. 

No matter the size, executives play a leadership role in ensuring their company’s success.

6 Qualities Excellent Executives Possess

1. Empowering

Executives in any industry are bestowed with power that allows them to make important managerial decisions. 

An effective executive can take that strength and use it to empower their team to make choices that benefit the whole organization.

However, good leaders don’t cast down decisions from the top of their thrones. When hiring an executive, look for individuals with a history of encouraging autonomy and effective collaboration on their teams. 

Why? Effective leaders don’t micromanage; instead, they establish their expectations and invite suggestions for improvements by being open.

2. Drive

Executives make things happen. Results are so important to good executives that they do their best to ensure success daily. 

The difference between an executive with drive and one without any will be apparent in business outcomes. When work needs to be done, a driven executive can delegate responsibilities or do it themselves to achieve the desired outcome.

Driven executives aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to accomplish a task. On the other hand, an executive who doesn’t have drive will find it hard to motivate themselves and, worse, their employees. 

An executive can have all the required business knowledge and still fail without a drive to succeed that’s contagious.

3. Curiosity

The Harvard Business Review found that engagement and collaboration are higher at work when people are curious. 

They also saw that high-level management often does not encourage curiosity because they feel as though it would make the company harder to manage! A good executive knows that creativity is the key to effective problem-solving.

These are the kinds of people who like looking at issues from different angles and understanding how new systems or things work. 

Being naturally curious may cause them to ask questions frequently to increase their understanding. Curiosity can also be great for establishing a closer relationship with staff or building rapport.

4. Vision

Executives can’t lead a team if they don’t have a vision of where they want the business to be. Great leaders must be capable of painting a picture of the future and motivating their team to achieve it. 

You can think of “vision” as your executive’s plan.

What are the goals for this fiscal year? How about this quarter? What needs to be done to achieve this goal, and what checkpoints should you be looking for on the way? 

Executives need to have answers to questions like these and convey those answers to their team. When executives don’t have a vision, businesses quickly become stagnant.

5. Expertise

You’d be shocked at how many executives are hired because of nepotism. Hiring family as leaders is a choice that many businesses make because it’s easier than screening candidates, and it keeps the business in the family. 

What ends up happening afterward is that individuals lead teams with none of the required skills to do so.

However, using an accounting employment agency in Ontario can simplify the screening process and ensure that executive candidates have the prerequisites below and more.

  • Previous success in leadership positions
  • An advanced degree relating to business, or an MBA
  • Effective communication 
  • Experienced goal-setter and strategist

6. Cultural match

Company culture is set by individuals at the top and is passed down to all other employees. 

The last thing you’ll want is to hire an executive who’s the opposite of your company’s values. 

It can be a good idea to write down the attributes of your company culture and compare them to attributes you’ve identified in your executive candidates.

You can verify your assessment by checking candidates’ references and asking for examples illustrating their personal values. 

Studies show that poor company culture can wreak havoc on a company from the inside out, so executives must promote a positive culture.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

When hiring an executive, it’s just as important to check candidates for negative traits as for positive ones. 

The items below may not immediately disqualify a candidate but may make you rethink their candidacy.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with job-hopping, but it could indicate consistent issues with past employers. 

They may have been forced to move frequently, so be sure to ask questions to find the specific reason.

Résumé Inconsistencies 

Cross-reference a résumé with online profiles such as LinkedIn or Indeed. You may notice job positions, length of employment, or education inconsistencies. 

Ask yourself if the candidate is deliberately trying to misrepresent their history to seem like a suitable fit. 

It may just be an honest mistake, but you’ll need the truth to make a decision.

Poor Communication Skills

Pay attention to the way candidates answer questions and speak during interviews. With the pandemic changing how we communicate at work, executives must be comfortable with online and in-person communication. 

If they can’t communicate ideas effectively to you, then chances are they’ll struggle to liaise with teams.


The “my way or the highway” approach doesn’t work when leading as an executive. 

Be wary of candidates who are fixated on doing things in a certain way or the method they’re used to. They may not be open to new ideas or suggestions down the road.

Let Us Do the Hiring 

The AHK Accounting Recruiters team is one of the top choices for accounting employment agencies in Ontario. 

We work diligently to provide you with permanent staffing solutions, so call us at 833-399-1663 or click here to email us.

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