Hiring managers are often the unsung heroes in an organization. Though sometimes they are overlooked in favor of flashier customer-facing or technical roles, a good hiring manager can truly make or break a team. If you’re a hiring manager within your organization, take a moment to think about the immense power you have in choosing how and when to fill new opportunities within your company, as well as your responsibility to spot high-quality talent that will mesh well with your existing colleagues.
Kinda daunting, huh?
As professional recruiters, we understand both the risks and rewards of working as a hiring manager, as well as the tremendous sense of satisfaction that comes with placing the right person in the right role at the right time. To help make sure you’re hitting that same success ratio within your teams, we’ve put together a few tips from our own experience that could help.
Tip 1: Never stop networking.
Many people think of networking as something you do when you’re looking to change your own job, not fill one within your organization. But, in fact, networking is a two-way street: while it can help you find new opportunities in your own career, it can also help you find people who are looking for new opportunities in their careers.
Say you’re trying to fill a critical UX design role and are struggling to find candidates with relevant experience and backgrounds. Consulting your network can be a huge asset, as information about new roles travels quickly among professionals looking for challenging opportunities. You may be surprised the number of times a highly qualified candidate will get in touch due to word of mouth alone.
Tip 2: Organizational fit is just as important as skill set.
In a technical or design-oriented role, it’s often easier to hire for skills first and organizational fit second. But rather than putting skills ahead of personal or team considerations, it may be a better idea to find candidates that score high in both categories. Ensuring that you’re considering candidates with both strong technical abilities and interpersonal skills will make for happier colleagues and more successful projects.
One easy way to ensure the candidates you’re considering hit the mark is to involve your colleagues within in-person interviews as candidates move through the hiring process. You’ll get immediate feedback on skills and personality fit that you might not be able to detect on your own.
Tip 3: Don’t forget to look inward, too.
When hiring for a new role, our natural instinct is to often look outside our own organization for new talent and fresh ideas. But sometimes the best candidates are actually inside your own team. Maybe they are junior colleagues who are looking for their “big break” or people in other departments looking to make a switch. Or maybe they are even colleagues with hidden talents waiting to be unveiled.
Whatever it is, looking within your own company first might save you time and hassle as you conduct a search. For one, you know the candidate will have strong institutional knowledge and will be able to hit the ground running with your projects and processes. Additionally, candidates that come from within may be more likely to see the new role as a promotion and opportunity, rather than a stepping stone on a career path towards another company.
Tip 4: Conduct a whiteboard exercise with team members.
It goes without saying that interviews are stressful, not just for the candidate but for the hiring manager, too. You have to communicate what makes your company different and worth joining while still gathering a sense of the candidate’s skills, outlook, and temperament. And you have to do this same process again and again as you search for different candidates in different roles.
One easy way to ensure you’re facilitating a productive and helpful interview experience for both you and the prospective hire is to make follow-up interviews hands-on. Set up a whiteboard session to have the candidates review and share an example from their portfolio or go over a design exercise.This process helps you see directly how prospective candidates think on their feet. Set this process up to be as similar as possible to how you would actually work so the group can all assess if the candidate fits into general office culture.
Giving candidates the opportunity to show off their skills, work with your existing teams, and get a sense for company culture will go a lot further than yet another conference table conversation.