Hiring a manager for your business entails the same recruitment steps as any other position, but the stakes are a lot higher. After all, you’re going to entrust your business and a team of employees to someone you may have only recently met. Use these prompts to tighten your hiring process and get your new manager off to a flying start.
Make Sure You Know Why You’re Hiring a New Manager
This is the most important part of the process. Don’t do any advertising until you have a job description that tells candidates and new hires exactly what they need to accomplish in order to be successful in the role. Selecting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a great way to do this. Think about the business experience, skills, and personal qualities the new manager will need to possess to move the KPIs in the right direction. Include those qualities and the required background in the job description.
Questions to fuel your thinking:
- How would you describe the day-to-day requirements of this role in a single sentence?
- In what ways do you see this position changing in the future?
- Which 3-5 qualities will make the new manager successful in this role?
- How does this position tie into the company’s vision or mission?
- Does this role require specialized experience?
- How and when will you measure results?
- Why did the person previously in this position leave?
Attracting the Best Management Candidates
In addition to online job ads, some hiring managers prefer to provide a telephone number so that prospective management candidates have to phone them; they use the initial conversation as a prescreening tool. Remember to include industry associations in your initial attraction campaign.
- American Society for Quality – ASQ has 16 chapters in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as dozens in the U.S., Mexico, China, and India.
- Canadian Society of Safety Engineering
- International Personnel Management Association
- Project Management Association of Canada
Assessing Management Applicants
As a hiring manager, use your interview time to assess candidates’ leadership and soft skills based on the KPIs identified. Here are some sample leadership qualities and questions you may want to include. Ensure that your questions are phrased so that a response is verifiable.
Resilience and Self Awareness: Tell me about your greatest failure.
You’re not looking for dirt on the candidate, you want to hear how he views and handles situations that don’t go as expected. Ask auxiliary questions to understand what he did to assess the failure, what his next steps were, and how it affected future projects. If he can’t come up mistakes or failures to share, you might infer he’s either not being honest with you or he lacks self awareness.
Leadership: How did you get a team to commit to a schedule?
Listen to the phrases she uses to describe her process and interactions with subordinates. Does her language match the culture of your organization? Does she talk about changing her approach according to individual team member’s needs? Does her leadership style lean more toward autocracy or democracy?
Problem Solving and Interpersonal Skills: How would you describe the decision-making process at your most recent company? What worked well? What would you like to see done differently? How were disagreements settled?
Inviting candidates to talk about problem solving without bringing up that term provides deeper insight into how they relate to others and overcome obstacles. What’s important is not the actual process under discussion, but the way he frames it. Watch his energy level. Good managers love to take on a challenge and won’t shy away from making difficult decisions.
Verify Skills and Background
The recruiter’s golden rule applies equally to management and non-management roles: Candidates get to keep points scored during the interviewing process only when verified by third party documentation or a live business reference. This is the reason you should have everyone, even management candidates, complete a formal job application that specifically grants permission for reference checks and any other kind of background verification you may employ.
There are a number of companies ready to perform background checks ranging from simple criminal checks to half-day psychological evaluations. Before embarking on any kind of check, make sure you know what is permissible in your area. Employers in Canada will want to familiarize themselves with federal privacy legislation and their province’s human rights legislation. U.S. businesses must comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
You can also do your own candidate research using social media platforms or Google search. For more on this topic, see Methods and Implications of Online Candidate Research.
Written Letter of Offer
There’s nothing wrong with making a verbal offer first but don’t expect candidates to make firm decisions without all the details spelled out in writing. Your offer letter should, at the very least, specify the position title, salary, hours of work, work location, and reporting structure. We also recommend adding termination conditions. You may want to read this article to see why.
Onboarding the New Management Hire
Earlier, we said determining exactly why you’re hiring a new manager and writing a clear job description is the most important part of the hiring process. Onboarding is the second most important.
Make sure the work area and all necessary tools are ready prior to the new manager’s start date. His supervisor should be there to welcome him, make key introductions and ensure that he fully understands what the company is trying to accomplish and what his role is within the strategic plan. Prepare to invest three to four days’ worth of time for initial orientation and establish 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals to give the business relationship a firm foundation and a shared vision.