11 tips for first-time hiring managers

Being prepared can help ease the recruitment experience for everyone involved

11 tips for first-time hiring managers

Being a first-time hiring manager can be daunting considering the many responsibilities they face – from choosing the best person for a role, guiding candidates through the hiring process, and managing successful hires through an onboarding process.

However, being prepared can help an inexperienced manager ease the experience for everyone involved. Below, we provide some tips for managers who hiring people for the first time in their careers.

Read more: Is hiring for culture fit a bad idea?

  1. Always be prepared

Conducting your first job interview as a hiring manager can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. But hiring managers need to stay calm and alert throughout the entire process to be able to observe an applicant and make and properly ascertain their fit for a role.

One way to do this is by preparing extensively for the interview process. Conducting a confident interview with a relevant list of questions for the candidate can help hiring managers gather the right kind of information and efficiently guide the flow of the interview.

Well-prepared managers also practice their tone and mannerisms before an interview, remembering that they are representatives of the company and should present themselves in a proper and professional manner that will not leave a bad impression on candidates. Practicing speech, smile, posture, and body language in front of a mirror and colleagues can help identify certain areas that need improvement.

  1. Ask colleagues for help

Whether it’s confusion over a particular step in the screening process or a second opinion for a certain candidate, new hiring managers should not be afraid to ask for help from their colleagues when they are unsure.

Hiring managers can assemble an interview team –- consisting of colleagues who will be working directly with the new hire – to help assist in the interview process. The interview team can help hiring managers to narrow down the choices and choose the candidate best suited for the job.

Asking co-workers, especially ones that are more experienced, for guidance and advice on certain matters can significantly help hiring managers improve their knowledge and expertise.

  1. Create a candidate persona

Hiring managers need a clear understanding of what soft and hard skills the ideal hire should possess for the job opening. This helps hiring managers make good decisions throughout the process and lessen the wasted time spent on applicants that clearly do not fit the open position.

Hiring managers should consult with the team and leaders who will be working closely with the new hire on what skills and attributes is needed for the role. For example, the candidate must be an active listener and should have experience working with a specific software. From there, hiring managers can plan what other traits are needed for the new hire to work well with the rest of the organization and its goals.

This can help draft relevant interview questions as well.

  1. Craft for clear job description

Hiring managers need to understand and identify the role they are recruiting for. Not only will a good job description attract diverse and talented candidates, but it can also serve as a dynamic talent management record that is useful throughout the interview process, assessment programs, development activities, and career pathing programs. 

It is important for the job description to accurately explain the responsibilities and expectations the role entails. To craft an accurate job description, hiring managers need to:

  • Use a relevant job title

A job title is the most critical part of the job advertisement as it is the first thing candidates see and is what will make them decide whether viewing the job description is worth it. Avoid using over-the-top, vague terms such as digital marketing “guru” or DevOps “ninja” and stick to words that are related to the role and industry that candidates would most likely search for. Benchmarking job titles to similar roles can help give an idea of what could be a relevant job title.

  • Include brief company background

Many job seekers would not be aware of the company before coming across the job advertisement. Sharing a small introduction on the company and its goals can intrigue candidates and see whether they fit with the company’s mission, core values, and culture.

  • Provide details about the job role

When writing about the position, hiring managers need to be specific on the purpose of the job, duties of the role, the team, day-to-day tasks, and the soft and hard skills expected from them. Consulting with the corresponding employees who will be working with the new hire can help narrow what exactly is expected from the role.

  • Enumerate the company’s benefits

Including the benefits and other perks that come with the job role can provide insights into how it would be like working for the company. This can also attract potential job applicants and make your job advertisement stand out from similar job posts from other companies.

  1. Evaluate candidates early on

A job interview is an opportunity for hiring managers to learn more about the candidate. Reviewing the candidate's job application beforehand can give the hiring manager an impression of the candidate and identify some information and details that could be brought up during the interview for further discussion.

Evaluating candidates beforehand can also maximize the interview time for both the hiring manager and employee. Scheduling and conducting job interviews take up a lot of effort and time, so using that time wisely without going extending and skipping over general information that is not necessarily important for the role can significantly ease the interview process.

  1. Ask the right and direct questions

The goal of interview questions is to give the hiring manager enough information to come to a hiring decision. Being prepared with questions that can help assess an applicant’s skills, behavior, and knowledge can narrow down the candidates' pool.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to ask questions that relate to past experiences relevant to the role. This not only highlights the knowledge and skills of the applicant but the behavioral skills that are difficult to explain through resumes. For example, asking the applicant to describe a time when they had to resolve a refund request from an angry customer may give insight into their social skills and how quickly they can think on their feet.

  1. Take notes

Jotting down key points to note during an interview, especially when there are multiple interviews with different applicants, is important when deciding who to hire for the position. This also helps avoid any mix-ups over which candidate said what.

Noting down the hiring manager's feedback over a certain topic during the interview can also support the case of a good applicant if other people from the interview team disagree.

  1. Have a clear interview process

It is important for both the company and job seeker to have a clear job interview process in place. The applicant would most likely want to know what the process will entail to prepare themselves and manage their expectations.

For hiring managers, having a working and fixed interview process in place will help when scheduling and mapping out their day-to-day tasks. The process should improve the process of screening and hiring an applicant and should fit the culture and routine of the organization.

Hiring managers should consider the amount and how long the job interviews will take, whether exams will be needed for specific job positions, and who will be part of the interview team if there is any.

Read more: Position descriptions, policies and procedures – do they still matter?

  1. Get organized

Hiring managers should stay organized throughout the entire hiring process to ensure a smooth process where every detail and step is covered. Mapping out schedules, creating checklists, and listing down feedback are some simple methods in keeping track of things that could easily be overlooked and forgotten throughout the process.

  1. Move quickly

While it is good to take time to make sure hiring managers are choosing the right candidate, they should also have a sense of urgency because good candidates are probably also considering other job openings. Once a decision has been made, extend the offer as soon as possible to avoid losing the candidate to another employer.

  1. Be prepared for negotiation

Candidates who want to negotiate the job offer and certain parts of it such as salary and shift schedule is not new to hiring managers. First-time hiring managers should prepare themselves for an event like this by deciding beforehand the limit on what can be negotiated. Hiring managers, just like candidates, should also know when to step away when the demands are too much.

First-time hiring managers do not have to be nervous for their first job interview. As long as they come in prepared and keep an open mind, they will be able to hire an excellent candidate and learn from the experience to improve as hiring managers.

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