When it comes to hiring a manager, many small business owners feel overwhelmed. It can be tough to know where to start, or what qualities to look for in a potential candidate but with some preparation and the right tools in place, hiring a manager can be an easy and stress-free process.

It’s All in the Preparation

First and foremost, make sure you are hiring the right person for the job. This means knowing exactly what you are looking for by taking the time to properly assess what is needed in the role and what skills and experience the ideal candidate will possess. You’ll need a detailed job description for management positions – that not only cover the technical skills of the job, administrative tasks, their tangible tasks and duties, their salary and benefits, but also the attributes & skills you will want them to bring to the position. Don’t just throw something together, this part is very important.

You’ll need to be prepared to set them up for success by providing adequate training. This should cover both the practical aspects of the job as well as the company culture and values. Establish clear expectations and quantifiable goals from the outset so that there are no surprises down the road.

Think about what you want to gain from having a new manager on board. Does it mean you will work less hours, take specific days off, free up time so you can focus on the higher-level parts of running a business? A manager supports the role you want to have in the business.

Outline the tasks you want to delegate. This does not mean you wash your hands of them. Create a plan that involves regular meetings for your manager to report the results of those tasks. You want to know that they are being done to your desired outcome, but you no longer have to concern yourself with how they are done.

Managing a manager is different than managing other employees. They are becoming your eyes and ears, making your job easier and more focused. They will need more support and guidance as they settle into their new role. However, if you take the time to do things right from the start, provide them with a clear job description, responsibilities and expected outcomes, you will soon have a highly effective team in place that can help take your business to new heights.

Where to Look

Do you already have this person within your company? Promoting from within can be good for a team because it allows current employees to move up through the ranks based on their merit and skills, rather than hiring someone from the outside who may not be familiar with the

company culture or how things are done. It can also help employee retention when your people feel like they have a chance for career growth and development within the company, which can lead to better morale and motivation. It can help create a sense of loyalty and ownership among employees.

When promoting someone to manager, it’s important to take into account not only their qualifications and experience, but also their personality and how they fit into the existing team.

Promoting from within is often a good option, you might have superstars that are ready for their next challenge.

Consider This: Just because a person is great at their current role, doesn’t necessarily make them the right candidate for a managerial position. That’s when your lists of soft skills will come in handy, to weigh this person’s abilities.

Winning Skills of an Awesome Manager

Once you know what you will need them to accomplish, you need to find the person with the right set of skills.

DEFINITION: Hard skills are things like knowledge of math or a specific software your company uses, the physical or technical requirements of the job. Hard skills are often teachable and include skills like writing, reading, or using tools.

DEFINITION: Soft skills are less tangible, and in the case of a manager, highly important. These are the traits and qualities that make them successful in their role as a leader. Optimistic outlook, cooperative, outgoing, effective communicator, willingness to admit mistakes, active listener, or problem solver are all soft skills.

A great manager is someone who can inspire their team to do their best work. They set the example for their team and are always looking for ways to improve. But they’ll also have the right skills and talents for the job. For managerial positions, you’ll want to look for strong soft skills, as much of their job is related to communication and human relations.

The soft skills you are looking for here are usually set in a person, and you want one’s that will mesh well with the rest of your team.

Some of the characteristics of a great manager include:

  • A good listener
  • Able to provide guidance and support
  • Able to motivate and encourage their team
  • Emotional intelligence (self awareness, regulation, and motivation)
  • Skilled at decision making (and accepting responsibility)
  • Respects confidentiality
  • Excellent honest, transparent communication skills
  • Willingness to assess and change
  • Resolves conflict (rather than avoids conflict)
  • Creates an appealing company culture

On a previous blog, we talked about the Creating Your Superstar Employee Avatar  to help you sort through qualified applicants. While it was specifically written for finding employees, many of the strategies hold true for hiring managerial candidates.

The position requires interpersonal skills such as listening, flexibility and open communication with other employees. These soft skills enhance the higher levels of performance for managers including developing confidence, showing compassion, recognizing responsibility, and investing in employee development. Great managers have excellent abilities in this area.

Who Can Take You to the Next Level?

A good manager always has an eye on the future and is always looking for ways to improve the company and their employees. They are always willing to listen to new ideas and suggestions. A good manager is also able to take criticism well and use it to improve their management style.

They should also be able to motivate their employees and help them see the importance of their work. They should be able to give clear instructions and provide adequate training when needed. A good manager will also know how to delegate tasks efficiently and trust their employees to get the job done.

A good manager should be patient and understanding, but also firm when necessary. They should be able to keep a cool head in difficult situations and make decisions quickly when needed. A good manager will also know when to ask for help from others.

In general, a good manager will be open-minded, motivated, efficient, and above all, effective at their job. If you are thinking about hiring a manager, or promoting someone to a management position, keep these qualities in mind. They are likely replacing your previous role in many instances, and you want to ensure that they are on the same page as you.

Hiring Process for a Great Manager

Hiring for a manager needs to be handled differently than hiring for regular employees. It will likely take longer and require more one on one training time with you.

Have a Detailed Application Process: Before you start interviewing candidates, prepare your list of qualifications that the ideal candidate would possess. This will help you focus your search and ensure that you’re looking for the right things. Use a condensed version of your list to provide in the application process. The candidate needs to understand all the aspects of the role and your expectations and be able to eliminate themselves if it doesn’t appeal to them.

Market the Position to Appeal to the Right People: When searching for the ideal candidate, you need to put forth your best marketing efforts. Every potential candidate is going to go online and search your business, and you, thoroughly. Your online reputation needs to be of a high standard to attract high standard applicants. They’ll read reviews, and any responses you’ve given, they’ll delve into your website, peruse your social media accounts and LinkedIn bio. Candidates want to know what and who they are applying to. The era of paper applications is dead, and you’ll need a careers page on your website to direct your job seekers to, giving them all the insight into the position. You’ll also need to convince them why you are the best opportunity to choose. Pay close attention to all the messaging you are putting out.

Screen Candidates Thoroughly: When you applicants submit an online application it should gather all the information you need to investigate them thoroughly as well. It’s important to screen candidates even more diligently for a managerial role before hiring them. They will be responsible for significant aspects of your business and will have access to sensitive information related to their role. This means reviewing their resume, conducting interviews, and checking references. By doing this, you can get a better idea of whether they would be a good fit for the job. Trust and integrity are hard qualities to confirm, so the more diligent you are, the better protected you’ll be.

Interview Multiple Times: The online application should end in them booking a time online for their initial interview. But it can’t stop there. Since you will be working closely with this person, you want to ensure their personality and style meshes with yours. There should be multiple people involved in the interview process, including other managers. Interviewing several times, in a variety of locations will help get a sense of their true self. As the process gets narrowed down to only a couple of candidates, doing something more social like a ball game, or a casual meal out will give you the opportunity to see the candidate in a more relaxed setting.

Pay Attention to Red Flags: Despite our best efforts, often we want to get the job of hiring over with and in doing so, relinquish some due diligence. Pay attention to any warning signs, even if it means starting the process again. It costs a lot of money to hire and onboard someone in the role of manager and it’s best to do it right the first time.

Offer Training and Development Opportunities: Managerial positions require specialized skills and knowledge. Once you have hired a manager, make sure to continually offer training and development opportunities to help your new manager learn the ropes and be successful in the role. As they grow with the company, they’ll want to know that they can continue to evolve and take on new responsibilities.

Hiring a manager can be a tedious process, but it’s important to take the time to find the right person for the job. By preparing a list of qualifications, screening candidates thoroughly, and offering training and development opportunities, you can hire the perfect candidate and set your new manager up for success.

Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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