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Screen For Level 5 Characteristics When Interviewing Leaders


Selecting leaders may be the most difficult and crucial decision a hiring manager makes. The new hire is going to impact the development, careers, and success of many others within the organization. According to Jim Collins in “Good To Great” a Level 5 leader is proficient in:

  1. Individual accomplishments

  2. Team interactions

  3. Managing others

  4. Leading others

  5. Humility and will

Most hiring managers are pretty good at determining whether the leader is capable of demonstrating Levels 1 through 4, but pay little attention to screening for humility. Hiring managers should ask the leader candidate the following questions to get a feel for how they have demonstrated humility:


Give me an example of a time you and your team accomplished something significant; how did others in the organization recognize the team’s contributions? Listen for whether the leader promotes their team first and minimizes their own recognition.


Give me an example of a time you and your team failed to accomplish a goal; what happened? Who fell flat? Listen for whether the leader took personal accountability for the failure or shed the blame on others.


Empowered hiring managers screen leaders for humility to make the whole organization more successful.

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