This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Managers are integral to any business’s efficient and effective operations. For that reason, knowing how to hire a manager is essential to recruiting qualified talent who fit with the corporate culture and will add to the strength and diversity of the team as a whole. Employing the best managers for your company is possible and always worth the effort. We offering the following tips to follow when hiring a manager.
1. Create an Appealing Company Culture
One of the best ways to attract and hire managers is to build a corporate culture that will appeal to top talent. Managers thrive in a company with an open, healthy work environment. To do this, make sure you encourage and motivate all your employees and provide opportunities for professional growth from the top leaders down.
2. Craft a Detailed Job Description for Management Positions
Job descriptions serve a number of purposes and are an important part of attracting—and keeping—top managers. To hire the best in your field, take the time to write a job description that accurately describes the role in detail.
To do this, include specifics about what the day-to-day job requirements are. If possible, provide a breakdown of how much time the employee will spend on certain types of work so they can gauge whether it will be a good fit for their interests and work style. And, where appropriate, spend some time describing the organization’s corporate culture and what the work environment will be like. You may also want to use a few lines to describe the type of person who typically excels at the company.
If you’re ready to start hiring but need some help reaching the right managerial candidates, check out ZipRecruiter. It has job description templates you can copy and paste onto your job ad, saving you time from having to create and test your own. It also posts your job ad to 100+ other job sites, increasing your reach, and you can start out posting jobs for free.
3. Limit Minimum Qualifications Requirements
Requiring minimum qualifications can be a great way to limit the candidates who apply for the role and further narrow a large pool of applicants. However, minimum qualifications can also mean that you never see talent who would otherwise be a great fit for the role and your organization as a whole. More specifically, imposing requirements, like minimum work experience, will likely dissuade younger applicants—even if they would otherwise be a good fit.
In truth, many managerial skills can be learned quickly on the job, and not every excellent applicant will have years of experience. What’s more, by focusing on structured minimum qualifications, there’s a greater chance that you’ll miss the unique skills and attributes that make a candidate the perfect fit for the role and your corporate culture.
If you’re concerned that this approach might lead to lower-quality applicants, don’t fear. You can still evaluate talent based on who you think will excel in the position; you won’t miss out on hiring a good manager simply because they don’t meet a minimum qualification.
4. Promote Your Current Talent to a Managerial Role
Depending on the role you’re trying to fill—and the size of your company—it may be unnecessary to look outside your current staff when searching for ideal candidates. Promoting from within has many benefits to both your current employees and your bottom line.
By promoting a current employee into a management position, you demonstrate to other team members that there’s growth potential within the organization and that you value hard work. What’s more, by moving someone into a management role—rather than hiring someone from the outside—you can reduce or eliminate the expense that comes with hiring and onboarding someone new.
Promoting from within also means that your new manager will already embody the values and culture embraced at your company, which may lead to overall employee retention. They’ll have the institutional knowledge that will help them get off the ground running in the new role. When done correctly, promoting your current talent is also a great way to capitalize on existing relationships and team dynamics that are already helping your company thrive.
5. Value an Overall Management Experience
When searching for a new employee, it’s easy to fall into the trap of having to find the perfect talent who checks every box—and is willing to come aboard at the salary you’re able to offer. This can lead to drawn-out searches that do more harm than good. After all, you’re hiring a manager because you need someone to fill a need, and the longer you search, the longer those needs are unmet.
To avoid this pitfall, look beyond people who are specifically qualified in your industry or niche and consider those with pure management experience. It’s more important that they have the skillset and temperament necessary to keep their team operating at its peak.
This approach won’t work for every role or industry, but it can be a good way to bring on quality candidates—especially if you find talent who already meshes with your corporate culture and is committed to furthering the unique goals of your company.
6. Ask Questions That Help Gauge Managerial Attributes & Skills
Once you get to the interview stage, make sure you screen applicants by asking insightful and relevant questions. The best interview questions offer a glimpse into the candidate’s personality and experience, so you can see how they’ll work with your current employees. To do so, ask questions like:
- Can you start by telling me about your managerial experience?
- Why did this job description appeal to you?
- What are you most passionate about, and how can you translate that passion into this position?
You should also use the interview process to find out how each applicant is likely to respond under certain conditions and to common challenges. Consider describing a challenge your company has encountered and ask how they would have responded. Alternatively, ask about a recent management challenge the candidate faced and how they addressed it.
Finally, when hiring managers, ask questions that zero in on the applicant’s management style, ability to build a rapport with team members, and approach to giving—and receiving—feedback. For example:
- Describe your management style. How do you work best with direct reports?
- What’s your favorite part about managing people?
- Tell me about a time you had to deliver negative feedback. How did you approach the situation?
Be sure to avoid asking candidates illegal interview questions, as this could lead to a potential discrimination lawsuit.
7. Avoid Common Hiring Biases
Hiring bias is generally defined as a personal prejudice—perhaps against certain people, groups, or characteristics—that bleeds into the hiring process. Because this bias can be conscious or unconscious, it can be difficult to avoid—especially if it’s getting mixed up with your other feelings about a candidate’s experience and qualifications. Some common hiring biases include:
- Social comparison bias, whereby you avoid highly qualified talent who might threaten your own status within the organization.
- Beauty bias, which occurs when you unconsciously believe that the most attractive applicant will also be the most qualified and successful.
- Conformity bias, which results in recommending an applicant because other members of the hiring team believe them to be the best candidate.
To avoid the threat of hiring bias, start by creating qualification metrics and applying them to every candidate. Once you narrow the pool of applicants down, have each complete the same assessment or test project so that you can compare how each would perform under the same circumstances.
You can avoid hiring biases in the interview setting by asking every applicant the same questions and taking notes of their responses. It may also be helpful to have a team of interviewers who can all provide their unique feedback, rather than limiting it to a single, potentially biased interviewer.
8. Look Beyond Local Candidates
Now more than ever, it’s smart to look beyond job seekers in your business’ ZIP code and expand your search to qualified managers in other cities—or even states. This automatically widens the reach of your job posting, giving you a larger applicant pool and a more accurate picture of interested candidates.
In addition to looking for management talent who may be willing to relocate for an in-office role, consider opening the position to remote candidates. If you’re in an area with a high cost of living, you may be able to save money on relocation expenses by hiring someone who lives elsewhere. And, while the thought of remote managers may seem intimidating at first, it can open you up to job seekers who are unable or unwilling to relocate.
9. Build a Diverse & Dynamic Team
When you’re hiring employees at any level (and especially managers), aim to build a diverse team that will provide different outlooks—not carbon copies who think like you. Look for talent with a range of strengths and weaknesses who will be able to work together to solve problems and constantly improve the business. These are especially important when hiring managers who will, in turn, attract a range of candidates as the company grows.
These efforts should start with your job descriptions and extend to the interview process, your company’s corporate culture, and day-to-day operations. Consider these tips when building a diverse and dynamic team:
- Diversify your network so that you’ll be exposed to a broader array of candidates.
- Keep an eye out for hiring bias by drafting job descriptions that appeal to a broad range of job seekers and standardizing the interview process.
- Celebrate your employees for their differences.
- Listen to managers and other employees.
- Encourage open communication.
10. Never Stop Recruiting
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is only looking for talent when you have an open position. When you limit recruiting to specific roles, you only get a brief snapshot of qualified applicants because you’re only looking for people who match those limited job descriptions.
Expand your universe of potential recruits by networking and building relationships with top management professionals—even if you’re not planning to hire. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to have the perfect candidate in mind when a role opens up.
Alternatively, you can be more competitive and get the best managers by being willing to scoop up qualified talent when they’re looking for a role—not when you think you need them.
Regardless of the industry, managers are an important element of any business. Not only do they support their team members in day-to-day tasks, but they can help guide the growth and overall trajectory of a company. For that reason, it’s important to set yourself up for success when hiring new managers—from networking and creating an appealing work environment to drafting a detailed job description and interviewing candidates.