Essential Ingredients of Good Managers, Part 2: Hiring Skills
Say it with me—all together now: people leave managers, not jobs.
How many times have you heard that one recently? Perhaps you’ve also run across the Gallup research suggesting that 75% percent of cases of voluntary turnover occur due to employees’ issues with their immediate supervisors. Even without data, it’s obvious. When people complain about their jobs—when a friend, colleague, or spouse vents about a bad day at work—the conversation is rarely about the work itself, but about an overbearing, underqualified, delusional, volatile, or otherwise problematic manager.
And yet, for some reason, this subject rarely comes up during hiring. Candidates seldom mention the real reason they’re looking for a new position (i.e. the chance to leave a bad boss behind). Employers focus on describing the job rather than the working environment, and assessing a jobseeker’s qualifications rather than their “fit” on the team. It’s only after the new hire actually joins the company that management starts to matter.
Is it any wonder 33% of new hires look for a new job within the first 6 months?
Don’t be like most employers. Don’t hide from the truth. To stand out, retain your employees, and improve your bottom line, you need to center your managers in the hiring process.
In the previous segment in our recipe for great managers, we looked at determining basic compliance and management competency. Once you’ve ensured your management team’s ability to safeguard your organization from risk, it’s time to move on to the next stage of manager development: choosing and coaching the right people to, well, choose and coach the right people.
2nd Stage: Developing Hiring Skills
What you’ll need:
- an overview of federal and state fair employment and equal opportunity laws
- relevant job descriptions for candidates
- your brand book
From the introduction to this series:
By effectively finding and retaining the right people for their teams, a manager ensures the present and continued success of their organization’s workforce, culture, and brand. After all, without good employees, a company isn’t worth much more than its equipment, intellectual property, and real estate.
Review your current hiring process. Consider the person or people in charge of conducting interviews at your organization. Who sits down with candidates? How many interviews do candidates undergo before they’re accepted for the job? Department managers may not be the first people candidates meet, but they need to be involved at some point along the way. By introducing jobseekers to their prospective bosses and teammates, employers significantly improve accountability and engagement.
Determine what your managers know and may not know about hiring. Are they familiar with best practices for hiring top performers? Moreover, do they understand all their legal obligations during the hiring process? First, educate your managers on equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination laws. Next, train managers to spot and recruit top talent. Recruitment software provider Workable suggests giving managers checklists, testing their implicit biases, and, if necessary, seeking professional assistance.
After determining their knowledge, the next step is testing your managers’ hiring ability. Can they conduct a great interview—one that balances their legal requirements with an honest assessment into a candidate’s skills and fit? Interviewers should have the right list of prepared questions, but also need the ability to improvise and seek detailed follow-up information in the moment.
“Despite the importance of preparing questions in advance, the employer should not go into an interview with a list of ideal answers in mind. It is unlikely that any applicant would come close to providing such answers. A better approach is to keep in mind ideal characteristics that a successful candidate would possess.”
That said, interviewers should stick closely to “the script” when communicating legal information. They also need to avoid asking unlawful or potentially unlawful questions, such as those surrounding applicants’ race, age, gender, or prior salary. Seemingly minor comments can have major consequences. Per SHRM:
“Along with choosing an interview approach and shaping the questions ahead of time, the interviewer should become familiar with the types of questions and statements that must be avoided in any interview. For example, interviewers should not make statements that could be construed as creating a contract of employment.”
How do you ensure your managers conduct interviews correctly? Again, one effective method is training. Invest in educational content for your hiring managers, and then have them learn by doing—by engaging in staged or simulated interviews with bots or actors.
With these considerations and skills, any organization can turn managers into great interviewers. Turning them into great bosses, however, is another matter. Join us next week as we discuss the ingredients managers need to keep their teams engaged and productive.