How to Hire for Positions You Don’t Understand

How to Hire for Positions You Don’t Understand

Hiring managers are faced with a big responsibility – finding and hiring the best people for their business. Successfully recruiting good employees involves writing job ads, sourcing candidates, evaluating resumes, and conducting interviews.  However, all of these things first require a good understanding of the position that is up for grabs. Otherwise, you open your company up to a potentially bad hiring decision. But how can you be sure that you choose the right person for the job when, for example, the position in question is an extremely technical role that you’re unfamiliar with?

Instead of winging it and hoping for the best, read through these 5 tips on hiring for a position you don’t understand.

  1. Fill the gaps
    Before you can find the right person for the role, you need to understand why there’s an opening in the first place. Is the company expanding? Did an employee recently resign? Is this an entirely new position? Assessing why there’s a need for the position will give you a clearer picture of where this new hire will fit in the overall vision of your company.
  2. Understand the basics
    Start by researching the job title online or reaching out to professionals in your network who have experience in the field. Then, speak directly to the department manager to understand 1) what the expectations of the role are, 2) what qualifications and skills are a must and, 3) how this role fits into the business’s operations.
  3. Get a crash course
    Now that you’ve done some homework, dig a little deeper. Shadow a colleague, have the department manager give you a crash course on the position or spend a few hours fulfilling the role yourself. This will help you gain insight into some of the challenges typically faced on the job as well as what the work environment is really like. These crucial pieces of information will ultimately help you craft better questions and higher-level talking points for the interview.
  4. Recruit interviewers
    Add to your arsenal by asking an expert or department manager to sit in on your interviews. Someone with more knowledge and working experience in the field can touch on specific technical topics, pose questions you may have overlooked, and better evaluate the responses of the candidate. Together, you can paint a more complete picture of each candidate and how well the person will fit in the role.
  5. Take a test drive
    Thanks to the hefty cost of a bad hiring decision, many hiring managers opt to “test drive” a candidate before they make a final decision. During this probationary period you can evaluate a candidate’s on-the-job skills, performance, and behavior – key indicators of “fit” that may not be easy to judge from a resume or interview.


Posted on April 27, 2016

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