What are the top priority characteristics?
Before you start the recruitment process, it is important to sit down and decide what characteristics the new middle manager should have. For example, will they be on the management team? This may help determine what characteristics, experience and skills you are looking for. As a general rule, middle managers are included in different forums at the company and therefore do not always need to be a specialist in a specific field. Instead, one of the most important characteristics could be leadership - although this varies depending on the business. What is most important for you? A middle manager who is good at leading their team members, or someone who is familiar with the industry or your core business?
In some companies it is absolutely vital for all managers to be specialists – and in others the focus might be more on growth, which makes it more important to have strong leadership to drive the company forwards. Before recruiting someone, it is important that you work out what your company needs. Is it someone with the ability to inspire their team members, or someone with advanced skills in a specific field?
Usually, the more people a middle manager is responsible for, the more important it is for them to have a strategic leadership role. When you know what is most important for your company, you also know what you are looking for. Is growth important for you? If so, make sure you ask future candidates what change processes they have been through at their current employer and what the result was. Is turnkey expertise important? If so, get one of your specialists to attend the interview and ask questions specific to the expertise you are looking for.
Are you recruiting internally or externally?
The next challenge is to decide whether you are going to recruit internally or externally. When it comes to recruiting a middle manager, it can be advantageous to pick someone from within the company. Someone who knows the company, its employees and who knows what your goals are. But at the same time it is also important to think outside the box and bring in someone new who can complement the existing team.
A fresh pair of eyes and new energy is sometimes preferable – particularly if you feel you are stuck and not reaching your goals. Recruiting externally can generate new perspectives and business ideas that otherwise might not have emerged. To know which route to take, you need to identify the demand – what skills and experience does the organisation currently have? Perhaps you already have enough or even have untapped resources that you could be using. Or alternatively you reach the conclusion that you need to recruit someone externally in order to fulfil the needs you lack.
How will the new middle manager fit into the team?
When you have identified the characteristics that you need and decided whether to recruit internally or externally, it is time to consider how the new middle manager will fit into the team. What personality traits are there in the organisation at present – and how will they complement the new person entering the organisation? It is important for the new middle manager to function well with other managers, management team and team members.
To make sure they do, you need to ask around at the company. Perhaps the person you are appointing needs to be independent and results-oriented, but what does your team think? Talk to them and find out! What kind of challenges have you had with previous middle managers? What was missing and what worked well? Allow your team members to participate in the recruitment process and bring their own input. After all, it is ultimately their manager you are recruiting.