Whilst we can’t expect graduates to have the leadership skills of a good Prime Minister, we can identify leadership quality and potential during the assessment process. In fact, graduates often blow us away with their leadership efforts! But you have to know what to look for. Leadership manifests itself in many ways in people and what we’re really looking for is a natural flair for leadership, alongside well-articulated past examples.

I read an article a few years ago which highlighted the 4 C’s of identifying leadership potential. I liked these 4 C’s and have put my own spin on them below:


A natural ability to engage with others is an indicator of leadership potential and one which can bring a positive energy to your workplace. When assessing graduates at an Assessment Centre, observe how they interact during breaks or over lunch. What elements of their personality come out at these times? Would their natural demeanour complement that of your current employees?


It is absolutely crucial that your employees are ‘on the brand bus’. All of your employees must be complete ambassadors of what you do and it’s important to have this in mind on the Assessment Day. When your potential employees are talking about your brand, are they genuinely enthused about it, or just repeating what your website says? Of course too much enthusiasm can appear insincere, so finding the balance is key. We help match graduates with employers using our clever Parallax profiling tool, identifying individual’s personal value to compare with the company’s values.


An attribute that many graduates own and one that requires further exploration during the hiring process. What we need to uncover is how commitment has been consistently shown, in both good and bad times and what drove them to continue. We’re also looking for a desire for personal investment; how do they find ways to maximise their own potential professionally and personally?


Courage requires self-awareness, an ability to assess things from different perspectives, desire and resilience.These are the things that we need to spot on an Assessment Day. Who is it that leads the decision in the group exercises? Who bravely offers a different perspective? How does this person react when their idea is perhaps not taken forward? Courage is not about a graduate forcing their idea through at all costs, but actually about having the courage to suggest it in the first place, having the courage to accept things when it’s perhaps not the best course of action and promoting your idea when you truly believe it, without creating disruption.


Source consulted: Forbes, 5 ways to identify prospective leaders