The New Manager’s Hiring Guide

Congratulations. You were promoted to manager! And now, in addition to doing your job, you get to lead others and help them do their job. Not to mention, deal with their complaints, quirks and daily needs.

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And, you also get to hire your new team members. Ready? Not yet? You will get there. Use this new manager’s hiring guide to adjust and succeed in your new role.

Before hiring new managers should schedule 1-on-1 meetings with each member of their team to determine strengths and weaknesses, says Doug Kisgen, a serial entrepreneur, organizational consultant, and author of Rethink Happy.

Use those meetings to find out each team members:

  • Goals and aspirations.
  • What they love doing and what don’t they like doing.
  • Where they see themselves in 3-5 years.

One of Kisgen’s favorite questions to ask direct reports is:

  • What would you do you if you were manager?

“Those in the trenches often have the best perspectives,” adds Kisgen. “Gaining this kind of information is a critical step because in order to build a great team, you need to know where the gaps are and who you can count on to be behind you and your initiatives. You may conclude you have to hire more than one person.”

Ian Cook, Director of Product Management for Visier, a company that provides cloud-based workforce analytics designed for HR professionals to answer critical workforce strategy questions, says new managers should focus on three key areas when hiring for the first time:

1. What you want the job to do

“Every time a position opens up, look at it as an opportunity to reshape your team, improve the overall balance of skills, and align talent to your current and future needs,” says Cook. “Don’t just reach for the previous job posting, but really drill down into what the job needs to deliver on departmental and organizational skills.”

2. Create a barrier to entry

You only want to review resumes from people who really want to work for you, so add an extra step to the application process to find these candidates. This can be as simple as adding a short, 10-15 minute task like submitting a specific piece of written work. “You’ll be surprised by how well this ensures you only get serious applicants coming through,” says Cook.

3. Make sure you include a wildcard

When reviewing resumes, there will be people with the right mix of qualifications that will immediately jump out at you. But if you’re lucky, you will come across an application that may not quite match what you’re looking for. Instead of ignoring their application, consider the unique traits they may bring to the job and consider at minimum, a phone interview, to learn more.

“We often get stuck hiring the same kind of person over and over, which can limit innovation and effectiveness,” says Cook. “Adding a wildcard into the mix gives you a relative sense of what might happen if you had these distinct skills on your team. This process even unearths a rockstar you wouldn’t have otherwise found.”

Kisgen adds these additional hiring tips for new managers:

  1. Find out if your company uses objective data such as Culture Index, Kolbe, or DISC to assess work related traits. Developing a template for the proper “who” you are looking for is essential to ensuring the proper fit.
  2. Work with HR to make sure you have the right bait in your job ad. Make sure you put words in the ad that would resonate with the person you are looking for. If you are hiring for someone similar to a current employee, ask this individual if she would respond to the ad. Make the necessary changes.
  3. Don’t rush to hire. Kisgen recommends a minimum of four “looks” before hiring. These should include a screening interview, some kind of skills test, an extended structured interview, and a lunch or dinner. “Consider hiring like dating,” says Kisgen. “Most people don’t propose after one or two dates. Job offers shouldn’t be given after one or two interviews either.”
  4. Involve the team in the hiring process. Most managers would benefit by listening to feedback from potential team members.

Finally, don’t forget this adage: Hire slow, fire fast. Take your time. Never hire under fire.

“After all, hiring the right people is the most important responsibility of a manager,” says Kisgen.

Written by

Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via, connect with him on LinkedIn ( and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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