A Guide for First Time Hiring Managers
The time has finally come. You have reached a mid-level to upper management position and you are being asked to participate in the hiring process. After years of fighting your way to the top, your company is depending on you to help draft some fresh faces into the organization. Feels pretty good right? Remember, as Spider Man always said, "With great power comes great responsibility". Hiring is a highly personal process with lots of face time. Failure is not an option. As you step into your new role of helping your company recruit new employees, take a few steps to ensure your success.
Understand the Position: As a hiring manager, one of your most important roles is understanding the complexities of the open position. You have likely been selected as a hiring manager because you have technical expertise that will allow you to find a technically qualified person. A major part of the selection process is understanding the required skill set in relation to the position. For example, say you are the head engineer of a software development group. You have likely acquired this position due in some part to your vast understanding of the technical arena of your software product. Given the situation, you may have more relative expertise that anybody in the department. Now let's say your company is looking to hiring a quality assurance manager for the testing cycle. The candidate for this role should have experience with the QA process for software, but may not require an extensive knowledge base for all development languages. During the hiring process, be sure to focus on the specific requirement for the open position. Remember, an employee can grow with the company and learn additional skills as needed in the future.
Know Your Company: Developing an understanding of your work environment can mean the difference between a great hiring manager and a good hiring manager. For example, a large corporation is going to have vastly different requirements and corporate cultures than a small start up. For each interviewee, be sure to understand their background and personalities in relation to their potential new work environment. Say for example you are interviewing an extremely talented systems administrator. This candidate has proven experience working for a large company, but has admitted that they disagree with long hours. If your company is a small, demanding startup, despite the candidates skill set, they may not be a great fit for the position. May sure you look at each candidate through the lens of your corporate culture.
Ask the Tough Questions: Being overly polite will only get you so far in life. If you have been selected as a hiring manager, then you must consider yourself responsible for filtering out candidates that are not right for the position. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions and really analyze the answers. For example, if you want to develop a better understanding of a candidate, a good strategy is asking questions that require more detailed answers. Try to get inside their head. Say you want to learn more about their background and psyche, try something like, "Five years ago, where did you see yourself today? How do you feel about your current career? Where do you think you will be in five more years?" Elaborate questions will help reveal the candidate's personality and aspirations in a way that more direct questions simply can't achieve.
Get Organized: When it comes to hiring, organization is either your best friend or worst enemy. Generally speaking, much of the recruiting programs organization is going to fall into the hands of your corporate recruiter or HR department. These groups are responsible for setting up the interviews and pushing the best candidates through to the interview process. As a hiring manager, do yourself a favor and make sure the other stakeholders in the recruiting process are on the ball. Ask what systems they use for organization and collaboration. If the entire recruiting process is relying on emails and spreadsheets, don't be afraid to suggest purchasing applicant tracking software. These programs are designed specifically to make the hiring process more efficient. Don't waste time on unqualified candidates that somehow make it through to an interview. Don't waste time on last minutes scheduling conflicts. Get everybody on the same page and providing input at the resume level if need be. As a first time hiring manager, a highly organized recruiting process will go a long way towards avoiding headaches and wasted time down the line.
Understand your new role as a decision maker in the hiring process. Ultimately, employees are the key to any successful companies. As a hiring manager, your candidate recommendation may be the most important thing you do for your company.
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