Where can you go wrong when hiring for a management position?

Have a recruitment process in place to avoid hiring mistakes

During my career, I’ve been involved in quite a few recruitment processes. Some were managed really well and others were a complete disaster. You live and you learn.

As a Consultant, I get to dive deep and see many aspects of each business I have worked alongside. My passion is figuring out what makes an effective and high performing team, whether it’s a brand new team or a well-established team, and get to know them. Through this process, I’ve noticed three common mistakes businesses make when it comes to hiring for managerial and/or leadership positions.

Promoting your top performer

One of the most common mistakes I see businesses make is promoting their top performer into a management role. This sounds like a good idea, right? Maybe.

Often what makes a top performer is very different from what makes a great leader. Yes, your manager will need to be competent in the role, but they will also need to communicate effectively, have the ability to build solid relationships, coach behavioural change and not be afraid to have those tough conversations when the time arrives. Sometimes your top performers may be looking for that transition, but don’t just assume that a top performer makes a top manager. Let alone leader. You’ll thank yourself for that.

External hire versus internal promotion

I’m a big fan of promoting people internally. Not only it does provide opportunities for growth and development within your business, but it can also play a critical role in your business retention strategy for your key talent. However, sometimes you just don’t have the person you need within the business, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Bringing new people into the business can bring new ideas, change the team dynamics and bring new and innovative ways of solving problems. Absolutely! Promote internally where appropriate, but also don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and innovate by hiring externally.

Last but definitely not least: reference check

Reference checking is just a tick box exercise, right? Well, let me share a story with you. I remember recruiting for a Team Leader position. We interviewed six candidates, four internal and two external. One of the external candidates interviewed exceptionally well and stood out from the rest. His answers were well articulated, his experience was relevant to the role and our gut feeling told us he was the right one.

Luckily for us, our beloved Recruitment Advisor at the time was on the ball and did her due diligence, despite our insistence in just hiring him to speed up the process. Well, the reference check came back full of warning signs, not only from one but three of his references. That taught me a very valuable lesson I’ve never forgotten: not everyone is who they seem to be, so do your due diligence!

To sum up

I must admit that I’m personally guilty of some (if not all!) of these mistakes, in all honesty, it’s been quite therapeutic! The bottom line is that you need to reflect and look at your recruitment process objectively. The best you can do is have a robust recruitment process in place to avoid them. But what should this process look like? Well, maybe this is our next blog post!

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