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In a world where a lot of businesses struggle to fill key positions, hiring for any kind of role in your company can be challenging – let alone hiring for leadership positions. Because of the important role managers and leaders play in the organisation, the stakes are higher when it comes to hiring them. Their influence on the organisation is widespread which means that making a mistake when hiring could be devastating to the organisation.

So how do you make sure that you bring in the right talent for leadership and managerial positions? Here are 5 tips to help you avoid making the mistake of hiring wrong that could put your organisation’s culture, reputation and performance at risk.

  1. Be patient. This tip can sound unreasonable, especially if you’re trying to back-fill a position that’s about to become vacant when one of your managers leaves. While keeping your team leaderless for extended periods of time could be detrimental, rushing the process and ending up with a bad manager would be even worse.
  2. Consider internal promotions. Can you find a current employee who could be a good fit for the position? There’re many benefits of promoting leaders from within: your employees will already be familiar with the person, the employee will have familiarity with the culture and industry, and the whole recruitment process will cost you less than hiring from outside. If there’s currently nobody who fits the bill, you should consider implementing more development and training programs to groom employees who exhibit potential to be future leaders. It will not solve your current problem, but it will create a pipeline of leaders for the future.
  3. Be specific and future-minded with your requirements. An accurate and detailed job description is crucial to any hiring process, more so when hiring managers. Here’s a simple four-step guideline for coming up with the requirements for leadership positions:
    1. List down 3 to 5 overarching characteristics that a manager would need to succeed in your company. If you’re stuck, look at your current successful managers for ideas.
    2. Specify what the manager’s day-to-day responsibilities would entail.
    3. Try to predict whether the responsibilities of the position will change in the future so that you can incorporate those elements to find a long-term fit.
    4. Rank each day-to-day responsibilities and trait in order of importance. This should help you prioritise those that are crucial to the business and make the process a lot easier.
  4. Ask behavioural questions when interviewing. The standard generic interview questions will not be sufficient for managerial interviews. Instead, use behavioural questions that will help you assess if the candidate will be a good fit. Ask for specific examples that demonstrate the traits you are looking for to better understand the capabilities of the candidate.
  5. Screen carefully. Make sure you conduct a thorough screening to avoid hiring a bad manager. Make sure to do the following:
  • Check education credentials for legitimacy.
  • Speak to the references to find out about the candidate’s skills, experience and performance.
  • Perform background checks on the candidate to ensure they have no prior issues that could tarnish the image of your organisation.

Once you’ve shortlisted candidates, make sure to move with haste as good candidates often have other offers on the table and you might end up missing out on top talent.

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