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5 Expert Ways to Find Great Candidates for Management Positions

5 Expert Ways to Find Great Candidates for Management Positions

Hiring from within seems appealing to many companies, but is often not the best solution when filling management positions; despite familiarity or tenure.

A company must challenge their business models to grow. In order to do this effectively, management should be the appropriate fit to support the organization. This is true regardless of whether the candidate is internal or external.

Finding the right candidate for a managerial role can be tricky. Here are five tips for finding the best candidates when hiring for management positions:

Use an Informal Setting For Interviews

If your company is looking to grow, at a certain point, there’s only so much you can build from within. You may think you have the most amazing company ever, but there’s a much wider pool from outside your front door; more applicants, more education, and more opportunity.

Ignoring outsiders when filling a management position is silly. Outsiders can bring an expanse of ideas and creativity that is difficult for you to see from someone internally.

The best way to get to know someone — I’ve always felt — is over lunch. It’s far easier to get to know their true personality in an informal environment.

Even though they probably won’t let their guard down completely, we’ve come to understand we can get a better picture of a candidate and how they will fit with an interview over appetizers, rather than a board room table.

Flynn Zaiger, Founder and CEO of Online Optimism


Make Assessments to Gauge Compatibility for Management Positions

Every position should be filled with the most qualified individual. If the board or management team doesn’t have 100 percent confidence that a successor is ready to step up, then looking outside is essential.

The new manager must be prepared to align the company with where the market is going, not where it has been. Often times, an insider is expected to stay the course at a time when change is necessary.

Whereas, an outsider brings in a fresh perspective and is not tainted with a mental map about how things ‘are done around here.’ In this scenario, an outsider may be the better choice when significant change is required.

The success of any employee is based on skill fit, team fit, and culture fit.  Most managers and companies still hire on skill, but fire on attitude and company culture misfit.

Team and cultural fit are soft skills. If the culture won’t support an individual’s personal values (e.g. opportunity, money, learning, community values, etc.) then dissatisfaction and/or disengagement is likely.  

Ira S Wolfe, is the President of Success Performance Solutions, Author and TEDx Speaker


Define a Fluent Culture Tone

An individual may be amazing at the work they are doing in their current role, but that in no way means they have what it takes to be an efficient and effective manager. When the current team members don’t have the right qualities, looking outside for management becomes necessary. 

Set the tone of the interview to match the tone of the culture. If it is a laidback culture, have a laidback conversational interview. If it is a more fast-paced, high-pressure culture, button up the interview and ask tough questions.

You want to gauge how they feel and react to the tone of the interview to see if they fit. You may also want to bring in people from the team (or even from other teams who understand the core and tone of the culture) whose main focus is trying to figure out if they are a culture fit.  N

For example: an outside candidate showed in the interview they understood the balance of being an advocate for the company while being an advocate for the team. They expressed wanting to push the team to be better as a whole, as well as individuals, while still accepting open and honest feedback.

The staff welcomed their new ideas and provided feedback. Change was initiated over time. We purposefully held back some changes and adjustments until we felt team trust and understanding was gained.

Mollie Delp, is an HR specialist at Workshop Digital.

Focus on Work Ethic and Cultural Fit

Companies put their desired culture at risk with every hire. Culture fit is of vital importance for all hires, but particularly so for management positions.

Companies need to know what their desired culture is. What is your organization’s servant purpose, beyond making widgets or money? Who are you serving, and to what end? How does your product or service improve your customers’ quality of life?

Of equal importance, what are your desired values, and what behaviors ensure that your values are demonstrated by every player?

Only with those pieces formally defined, can you effectively engage a management candidate to gauge their culture fit. Spend less time on the candidate’s past accomplishments and skills. Those are important, but trainable where needed.

Spend the most time on their work ethic and how they treat others in the workplace during interviews.

Engage the candidate in values and ‘what if’ discussions so you learn how they operate in the workplace. If one of your values is integrity, present a scenario where this person’s team is at risk of missing a critical deadline they’ve committed to.

Ask what they’d do to keep the team on track. Inquire how they’ve dealt with this issue in the past, and how they’d inspire team members to meet the deadline while demonstrating desired valued behaviors.

This approach will help ensure you’ve got the right player, with the right skills and values for the management role.

Chris Edmonds, is the best-selling author of “The Culture Engine


Evaluate Values in Unexpected Environments

Most company’s erroneously think their top performers could take on management positions, when in fact, a manager is a coach who gets things done efficiently and effectively through others.

The company must go outside unless there is an internal person who can cross over the line and become capable of holding his/her peers accountable.

The company must first know its own core values, the story behind each of them, and encourage everyone to live them; once this happens, they can effectively assess the candidate.

Pay the candidate to come in for a few days and work with team members and assess accordingly. Take them out for lunch and observe their manners and respect for servers. Set it up so the waiter brings the wrong order, and see how the applicant handles the situation.

A great manager (manacoach) puts others’ needs first. Think up situations where this can be tested, and use environments where they would not know they were being assessed.   

Kevin G. Armstrong, author of The Miracle Manager, business coach.

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.