As a business owner or leader, one of the most important decisions you can make is who you bring on to your team as a second-in-command. This person, commonly referred to as the #2, will be responsible for supporting and assisting you in running the company, and will likely be instrumental in helping you achieve your goals and grow your business.
When hiring your #2, there are several key qualities and characteristics to look for to ensure that you find the right fit for your team.
Alignment With Company Values and Culture
It’s important to find a #2 who shares your values and is aligned with the culture of your company. This will help ensure that they are able to effectively support and contribute to the direction and mission of the business.
To determine if a potential candidate is a good fit, consider asking them questions about their personal values and how they align with those of your company. You can also ask for examples of how they have demonstrated these values in their previous work experiences.
Strong Communication and Collaboration Skills
As your #2, this person will be working closely with you and other members of the team, so it’s essential that they have strong communication and collaboration skills. This means being able to effectively listen, communicate their ideas and thoughts, and work well with others to achieve common goals.
To assess a candidate’s communication and collaboration skills, consider asking them to describe a time when they had to work within a team to solve a problem or complete a project. You can also ask for examples of how they have effectively communicated with others in the past.
Leadership Experience and Potential
While your #2 will be supporting and assisting you as the leader of the company, it’s important to also look for someone who has the potential to take on an even bigger leadership role in the future. This could include experience leading teams or projects, as well as the ability to think strategically and make sound decisions.
To evaluate a candidate’s leadership experience and potential, ask about any past roles they have held and how they approached those responsibilities. You can also ask them to describe a difficult decision they had to make and how they went about making it.
Relevant Industry Experience
While industry experience is not always necessary, it can be beneficial to find a #2 who has a strong understanding of your industry and the specific challenges and opportunities it presents. This can help them provide valuable insights and support as you navigate the industry together.
To determine if a candidate has relevant niche experience, ask about any previous work they have done in your industry and how it has prepared them for the role. You can also ask them to describe any industry-specific challenges they have faced and how they addressed them.
Strong Problem-Solving Skills
You will likely be faced with a range of challenges and problems that need to be solved in order to move the business forward. It’s important to find a candidate who has strong problem-solving skills and is able to think critically and creatively to find solutions.
To assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, provide them with a regularly occurring challenge and ask them for the exact steps they would take to solve it. Would they delegate some of these tasks? If so, to whom?
In addition to these key qualities, it can also be helpful to consider the following factors when hiring your #2:
- Flexibility and adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and pivot when needed is an important quality in a #2.
- Initiative and proactiveness: Look for a candidate who is proactive and able to take the initiative, rather than simply waiting for direction.
- Attention to detail: The #2 will often be responsible for managing tasks and projects, so attention to detail is important to ensure that everything is completed accurately and efficiently.
- Passion and dedication: A strong passion for the company’s mission and values can be a major asset for a #2, as it will help motivate and inspire them to work hard and contribute to the success of the business.
It can also be helpful to consider the experiences of others when hiring your #2. Here are a few examples of the types of experiences that can be valuable.
- Experience in a similar role: If you have had a #2 in the past, finding someone with experience in a similar role can be beneficial. They will likely have a good understanding of the responsibilities and expectations of the position, and may be able to hit the ground running.
- Experience in a different role: On the other hand, hiring someone with a different background can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the role. This can be particularly valuable if you are looking to shake things up and bring new energy to the company.
- Experience in a similar industry: As mentioned earlier, industry experience can be helpful for a #2, particularly if they strongly understand the specific challenges and opportunities your industry presents.
- Experience in a different industry: Similar to hiring someone with a different background, hiring someone from a different industry can bring new insights and ideas to the role. This can be particularly valuable if you are looking to expand into new markets or diversify your business.
According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, the most important qualities that businesses look for when hiring a #2 are leadership skills (65%), communication skills (62%), and problem-solving skills (57%). Other important qualities include the ability to work well with others (51%), adaptability (46%), and attention to detail (44%).
It’s worth noting that these qualities may vary depending on the specific needs and goals of your business. For example, if you are looking to expand into a new market, you may prioritize industry experience and adaptability as your #2. Alternatively, if you are looking to streamline your operations, you may prioritize problem-solving skills and attention to detail.
Overall, when hiring your #2, it’s important to look for someone who is aligned with your company values and culture, has strong communication and collaboration skills, demonstrates leadership experience and potential, has relevant industry experience (if applicable), and has strong problem-solving skills. With the right #2 by your side, you will be well-equipped to achieve your goals and grow your business.