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Holy crap, I’m a hiring manager!

May 2, 2012 - People Management

I suspected this day would arrive. The day I’d be thrust into middle management. And I suppose “thrust” is a harsh word. I’m quite appreciative of the opportunities I’ve been given up to this point, to get my feet wet in the seas of people leadership. It was more than I probably would’ve even asked for.

But holy crap, I’m a hiring manager now.

It’s what I would imagine being in an unexpected situation in a space shuttle would be like. (Okay, overkill, but go with me on this one.) Suddenly, any training or preparation I’ve had temporarily disappears entirely from my mind. And I stare blankly with my jaw loosely hanging from my face.

confidenceThen I snap out of it, get a determined look on my face, hear some triumphant brass music playing in the background, and become the hero.

So, now that my overactive imagination already has me pegged as the heroic, inspiring, assertive-yet-understanding, kind-with-high-expectations, we-should-make-a-movie-about-her middle manager, it’s time to get real. I’ve got the values of our organization in my toolbelt, as well as the expected leadership qualities. ┬áTop Talent Indicators and Derailers? Check. Recruiter ready to send over resumes? Check. Now what? What do I do on my side to ensure the search for the perfect candidate is successful? Because, as much as my imagination would like to believe something different, this isn’t about me. This is about finding the right person for this job.

1. Make sure the job description is darn good

The first thing the candidate will see is the job description (besides the home page of the careers web site, maybe – if they don’t follow the direct link on my personal Facebook page) so it not only needs to be detailed and accurate, but it also needs to draw people in. If the candidate is going to be owning anything, leading or managing anything, be sure to tell them so. Most folks are motivated by bigger and better responsibilities and challenges. Don’t make the job description sound like a series of mundane tasks if there’s actually more to it than that.

2. Read – nay, memorize – the resumes before the interviews

Got some good tips in an interviewing training session today on what to look for in a resume, but then saw a scary statistic from a study showing that about 64% of resumes exaggerate or overstate what the person has actually accomplished in their previous roles. Ergh. So do look for good action words and results-based experience in a resume. But do also know which results you want to dive into further during the interview. Know the resume inside-out before the interview, so you can make the best use of the precious, limited time you’ll have with the candidate. Probe with additional questions where it makes sense.

3. Know what’s most important for the candidate in the role

There’s lots of criteria to look for during an interview. Plenty of leadership qualities. Plenty of Top Talent Indicators. Plenty of Derailers. And not plenty of time. What to do, what to do? Give some thought before the interview on what you’ll focus on specifically. Because, like it or not, you’ll have to narrow some things down to be effective.

For example, while we’re hoping for a candidate with Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Sharepoint Enterprise 2010 experience, what’s even more important is the candidate’s ability to learn quickly and apply what they’ve learned to solution enhancements and project manager coaching. Experience is less than their ambition and enthusiasm and confidence and drive.

And I hate arrogance. Hate hate hate it. No arrogant candidates allowed.

Know what’s the most important.

And awaaaaay we go!

What’s the most important attribute you look for in a new hire candidate?

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