Hiring a new employee is always a daunting task — sifting through endless résumés, conducting interviews, deciding between different candidates with various skills and abilities. When you are looking to hire someone for a management position, however, the stakes become higher. Not only do you need to find an employee who will work well under you, you must find someone who is also a leader themselves, someone who can manage a staff effectively and help lead your company forward. It can be a difficult balance to strike.
Here are some helpful tips to follow when looking to fill a management position:
- Know what you’re looking for. Think carefully about the kind of person that would be a good match with both your company’s culture and with your own personality. Obviously, you should look for someone who’s responsible, honest, articulate, and able to work with a wide variety of people and personality types. You also want someone who has a solid work ethic and who ideally has previous experience in the field your business operates in.
- Create a character “test.” While there are universal character traits one looks for when hiring a manager, there are also bound to be specific characteristics you will want your new manager to have, qualities that you value in yourself and in others. Perhaps you would like someone working for you who has a good sense of humor? Or someone who has a very analytical mind? Draw up a list of what those character traits are and have the list handy when chatting with candidates.
- Be clear on how your business operates. You must be prepared to tell the people you’ll be interviewing everything they need to know about running the business smoothly. Jot down a list of all the management position’s responsibilities, and be sure to make projections on how these requirements could change as the business grows.
- Cast a wide net. Create a classified job listing for the position and place it on employment Web sites, in newspapers, and in industry-specific business journals. At this point in the hiring process you want be attracting as many potential candidates as possible, so when first talking with people it’s best to focus on the positive aspects of the job (salary, advancement opportunities) rather than negative ones (possible weekend hours, difficult clients).
- Start with phone or e-mail. If you want to avoid an avalanche of paper résumés, begin screening candidates over the phone or via e-mail first. Many employers prefer to list only a contact phone number when advertising a management job, so that they can get a good handle on the candidate’s experience and personality through a conversation before reviewing their résumé. This tactic applies to e-mail too — look over the candidate’s cover letter and use it to decide whether or not the attached résumé is worth opening.
- Make the interview count. When meeting with potential candidates, explain what the company’s short- and long-term goals are, and how the person in the managerial role will be expected to help achieve those goals. Ask penetrating questions and expect lengthy, insightful answers. Present the candidate with several hypothetical scenarios that could potentially arise on the job, and have the person explain how he or she would address them.
- Always check references. While résumés and face-to-face interviews can give you a good sense of whether or not a candidate is right for a high-level position in your company, it should never be the whole story. Always be sure to thoroughly investigate a candidate’s references and ask specific questions about his or her performance at previous jobs. Many companies also perform authorized background checks on potential hires before offering them a formal position.