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Q.I’m at the finance management level and recently changed employers in a new area. I have several openings in my department and have come to find out that the company policy is “all hiring managers are responsible for their own recruiting.” I have not been in this position before and find myself overwhelmed with the process. Can you offer some advice?

A. During these times of corporate slimming it is not uncommon for hiring managers to be responsible for their own recruiting. My first piece of advice is to develop a winning pitch for why someone would want to work for you and the company you represent. Be prepared to describe your leadership style and expectations. You need to be knowledgeable about your company’s history, milestones, products and services, success stories and challenges. Be prepared to discuss opportunities for growth too. You are not only selling a position but an opportunity.

This is an opportunity for you to put on your networking hat. Research finance and accounting associations in your area and attend their monthly meetings. Contact professionals in your network to let them know about your recent job change and open positions in your department. Ask for referrals, spread the word and go viral, unless it’s a confidential search.

The time required to hire a professional can range from 30 to 60 to 90 days or longer, depending on several key variables; the team’s availability for consulting and interviewing, the scarcity or abundance of viable candidates and the time of year. Plan on a minimum of four weeks for sourcing, another four weeks for interviewing, tap on another month for due diligence and two to four weeks for transition.

Too many companies post and pray and then complain about the lack of viable candidates. This is a process not a transaction. I’ve outlined below an approach to filling your positions.

SEARCH: With a clearly articulated profile of the ideal professional, contact people in your network, search your company’s database and other published resources to locate the candidates that most likely match your needs.

SCREENING: Contact by phone the most candidates to determine their interest and availability. With those who are open to a career move, determine their motivations, level of interest in the opportunity, skill sets, professional background, personality traits and compensation requirements. Use a scorecard system to rate their knowledge, skills and abilities.

INTERVIEWING: Set up on-site interviews with the candidates who score the highest for their knowledge, skills and abilities. Coordinate interviews with the team and make certain that you are all working from the same page, legally and ethically.

REFERENCES: When you have determined a candidate to be well-qualified for your position, request a list of references from the candidate. This list should include the names of supervisors, not friends or co-workers. Let the candidate know that you will be contacting his or her references.

THE OFFER: When you’ve selected a candidate you are seriously interested in and received a satisfactory reference report it is time to develop the offer. The offer should be market competitive and fair to you, yet attractive to the professional, as well.

TRANSITION COACHING: Ensure a smooth job transition for the new hire and his or her family. Going this extra step has proved invaluable in the past in preventing or minimizing family move-related problems, changes of heart and counter offers from current and former employers.

Recruiting is not a transaction but a process. Companies have to make the right decision to hire the right person. The cost of bad hiring decisions is rising not to mention the loss of business.

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Jennifer Laxton is the CEO and executive coach with ESA LLC in Santa Rosa, www.esa.com. ESA is an executive search and consulting company. You can reach her at 707-217-4535 or jklaxton@esa.com.