What Top Five Qualities Do You Look for When Hiring Senior Staff?

Nov 18, 2016 | ARTICLE
Fiegenschuh,_Jeffrey_-_On Pointsilolarge_fmt



Jeffrey Fiegenschuh, ICMA-CM
City Administrator
Rantoul, Illinois




Hiring senior staff is one of the most integral and important decisions local government managers and administrators make. It is one that can affect the entire organization long term.

From my standpoint, the top five qualities I seek when hiring senior team members include enthusiasm, flexibility, ability to empower coworkers and residents, empathy, and capability to actively listen.

Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with and for people who actively promote all five of these characteristics. Within their respective organizations, employees support a team approach to problem solving, and they tend to be more productive and actively engaged in decision making.

They are participants and owners in the policies that their communities espouse, which ultimately leads to high-performing organizations.




Alexander,_Kim_-_On Pointsilolarge_fmt


Kimberly Alexander
Manager in Transition
Harrisonburg, Virginia





Selecting the right people is one of the most important decisions a manager makes. The five qualities I look for are:


Honesty. Managers depend heavily on senior staff. You have to be able to trust them completely.

Loyalty. You cannot do your job as a manager if you are worried about what is happening when you are not in the office.

Flexibility. Our environment is constantly changing. An ability to adapt to those changes is essential.

Creativity. With fewer and fewer resources, managers have to find new and sometimes unconventional ways to solve problems. As cliché as it sounds, you really do need employees who can "think outside of the box."

Energy and passion. The best employees are those who are excited to come to work and do their jobs with gusto.


Remember, sometimes we are going to regret our hiring decisions. It happens to everyone, which is why there should always be a probationary period. When this happens, you have to recognize the need for correction and be strong enough to implement it.





Rothweiler, Travis - On Point


Travis Rothweiler, ICMA-CM
City Manager
Twin Falls, Idaho





When considering individuals for Twin Falls' executive leadership team, these are the important qualities:


We look for individuals who are naturally curious, as all members of our organizational team are encouraged to be innovative and to explore all possibilities.

While we have developed a leadership philosophy and collection of core values, we believe that leadership is the work of all, not just a select few whose positions sit on top of an organizational chart.

Being honest and trustworthy are two essential cornerstones in any relationship. We look for leaders who are not afraid to be vulnerable and authentic.

We look for people who are passionate about interests outside of the workplace, believing that passionate individuals are more balanced, possess more energy, and have outlets that allow them to recharge and regroup.

We look for individuals who have the demonstrated ability to deal with adversity and with adverse conditions. Our organization needs executives who can lead and be accountable.


You may also be interested in