There are some moments that just stick with you. For me, one of those moments was when colleagues from other departments at the company I was working were discussing who had the worst job in the company. The overwhelming majority agreed that I took that title. They talked about how difficult it must be to anticipate staffing needs and constantly keep a pipeline of potential employees at the ready.
I thought the whole discussion was hilarious, but it did make me think about what exactly it meant to be the hiring manager and have what they viewed as the least-desired job in the whole company. In short: it was hard! I think it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget about all the skills it takes to pull it off. The constant decision making, networking and interviewing leaves little time to contemplate what makes a great manager and the areas in which we’re excelling or lacking.
My experience as a hiring manager and working in HR has brought to light what some of those important areas and skills are. Here, in part one of this series, I’ll take a look at what fundamental things are vital to being a great hiring manager.
A college degree is almost always a requirement for becoming a hiring manager, but the reasons for having a solid education extend far beyond having a diploma to hang on the wall. The truth is you are a decision maker for your company and should be viewed as such. Regardless of your view on how much weight formal education holds, being well educated often demands more respect and trust from other key individuals in your company.
Beyond your college degree(s), continuing education is a valuable tool in a great HR manager’s toolbox. Beyond HR certifications or an MBA, there are a number of training topics from which hiring managers could benefit, from recruiting through social media to how to handle tough conversations better. Even if you’re an experienced pro, don’t discount the fact that your job is people-centric, and since people are constantly changing, there are always things you can learn.
We all started somewhere, and we all had our first day on the job at some point. I’m certainly not saying that a rookie HR manager can’t be exceptional in their position, but as they say, there’s no substitute for experience. What exactly does experience provide that nothing else can? A lot of crazy, you-wouldn’t-believe-it unless-you-saw-it encounters that require you to think critically and quickly. Experience also gives you an up-close view of what happens when you make a bad decision or a great one. Seeing how those decisions play out, from start to finish, shapes how you make decisions and gives you more of a 360 degree look at all the aspects of a decision.
Passion for people
As a hiring manager, your job is all about people. People you meet, people you recruit, people who seek you out. A great hiring manager is just as comfortable surrounded by people as they are shut in their office. You can absolutely “fake it ‘til you make it” and participate in pleasantries while hiding your discomfort, but there’s no substitute for a hiring manager who loves what they do.
Of these three facets of a great hiring manager, which holds the most weight with you? Tell us in the comments below how you would rank these.