Selecting The Right Team Member for Advancement

Now that you are a manager, it is your job to scout out potential candidates for advancement within your company.  This is a great responsibility and must be treated as such.  You have to be fair to your team while keeping the company’s interests in mind.

Not Everyone is Management Material

We all have that rock star employee: in early, out late, meets or beats all deadlines…  just owns the position from day one.  All that still does not make them a fit for a management position.  You must know your team members – their ambitions, skills, and personalities – in order to determine the direction, they are destined for within the company.  When you are considering an employee for advancement, find evidence to support your decision then move forward.

Narrowing the Field

You have established your final candidates for a management position.  They are all “qualified” to take on the role, but do they understand it?  Have you been clear about the commitment which will be required?  Do they have the passion, drive, and desire that it takes?  More importantly, are they a good leader?  They need to have the knowledge, skills, and attitude to perform the job, but they also need to have superior people skills and the ability to lead.  The right person will have their own management style but will put the needs of the company first.

Management Takes More Than Book Smarts

Education and experience are important, but lack of either should not be grounds for dismissing someone as a possible manager.  Leadership development can happen in a number of ways.  Perhaps they held a leadership position in a club or coached a team. The most important thing is their ability to guide the team to success and that requires skills that go beyond education.

(They’ve Got) Personality

Personality is one of the most important things to look for in a candidate.  The way they get along with co-workers in their current position will speak volumes about their potential to lead.  If they are taking initiative and assisting others, chances are they will exercise that same team mentality as a manager.  Note their reaction when given constructive criticism.  If they take it in stride and implement the advice, they might be ready to make the move into management.  If not, it is not necessarily a deal breaker, they just might need more time to grow.

Don’t Rush It

You are not looking for a perfect person, you are looking for a person perfect for the job. You can’t rush this process.  Take your time and get to know the candidates beyond their resume.  Remember, someone once gave you a chance.  Now it is your turn.

Does The Interview Really Matter?

You are the manager, and it is time to hire your team.  Does the interview really matter?  As the boss, surely you can just talk to someone and know if they are qualified.  In a nutshell, no you can’t and, yes, the interview matters.

Remember the Motto and Be Prepared

Success in many things begins with preparation.  How will you interview?  Will you interview on the phone, via Skype, or in person?  Are you responsible for setting up interview times?  If not, does your assistant have your most current schedule and availability?  After interviews are set up, remember to give candidates the address and any necessary directions to the office.  Ideally, you should set up any technology you might need for the interview the day before to ensure it is operating properly.  This will give you time to troubleshoot, if necessary.  In addition to the interview itself, prepare yourself.  You are interviewing a candidate to work for you, but they will also be interviewing you to see if they want to!  Be professional and organized so they see you, and your company, as a place they want to be.

Introductions are Important

It is already nerve wracking being at an interview, so a friendly hello will put them at ease.  When meeting the candidate, introduce yourself and give them your title.  Shake their hand and repeat their name back to them.  “Hi Joe, my name is Mike, and I’m the General Manager here at our company.  I would like to discuss the open Associate position that we have.  Please come in and have a seat.”  Be informative and friendly.  Keep a pleasant smile on your face and speak clearly.

Need a Record?

In some cases, you may want to record or film the interview for training purposes.  Ask the candidate’s permission before you do so and clarify your reasons.  If they decline, accept it and move on.

Additional Things to Consider

Determine how much time you need to gather all necessary information during the interview.  The candidate will most likely have questions so have a time frame in mind for how long you will allow.  If you plan on taking the candidate on a tour of the facility or to meet other team members, consider that when determining the amount of time, you will allow for the interview.

Avoid These Things

Providing the questions to the candidates in advance may be convenient, but it prevents you from hearing their honest responses.  The candidate is giving you their time and attention, so be respectful and give them yours.  Also, group interviews are often stressful for a candidate.  When you determine a candidate is a good fit, you can consider a casual group meeting.

Be Natural and They Will Be Comfortable

People interviewing are naturally nervous so try to make them comfortable.  This will allow their true personality to come through.  Ask a general question as an icebreaker, and then listen to what they have to say.  Did their kid just play Beauty in a third-grade play?  At that moment, you are fascinated by that.  People love to talk about themselves and, get used it, they especially love talking about their kids.  This tends to help them relax because it is a comfortable topic of which they are confident.  It also gives you insight to them and shows they have compassion.  Once you give them a few minutes to brag on little Janie’s performance, move to the interview. Keep in mind you do not need to have a checklist and a clipboard, with a look of formality.  Interviews should be a natural conversation, giving both you and the candidate a feeling of ease.

And lastly…

Be friendly and enthusiastic.  This will encourage the candidate to express their personality, so you can determine if they will be a good fit.  You already know they are qualified on paper, the interview is really the time to see if they will gel with your team.  Be patient, interview those who are qualified, and make them comfortable.  It will not be long, and you will have your team in place.