Canadian candidates lack leadership skills

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HR managers have no shortage of resumes to sift through, yet many are still having trouble finding candidates with solid leadership skills.

According to the Robert Half Professional Employment Report released this week one third of executives report having difficulty finding skilled employees.

A shortage of leadership skills was one factor driving that figure, said Neale Harrison, founder and president of Talent Matters Inc., a human resources professional services firm specialising in talent acquisition and leadership development.

“There’s a lot of people out there with the right education and the right technical skills but the notion of leadership and the ability to influence people are where the gap is,” he says. “In my experience really sitting down and having a solid behavioural based interview with candidates and looking for very strong references can help get at that in a meaningful way.”

Key ways to improve results were better networking and better training internally.

“It’s a two-pronged approach. Invest in a solid recruitment strategy through referrals and networking, and more and more organizations are recognizing that gap and are investing in leadership development and starting to build that capability through training programmes and coaching,” Harrison says.

The Robert Half report interviewed more than 1000 executives and other leaders about their optimism for the upcoming quarter and their hiring plans.

The survey also found 17 per cent of executives expected to increase staff numbers in the next quarter, while 8 per cent expected to reduce personnel.

Human resources was expected to see the least growth, with an equal percentage of respondents (seven per cent) expecting to increase and decrease staff sizes.

The legal and marketing fields are expected to see the strongest hiring activity, with a net 37 per cent and a net 22 per cent of executives, respectively, planning to increase staff levels.

Eight out of 10 business leaders were “somewhat or very confident in their companies' growth prospects” in the second quarter.

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