Organizational Changes – The Search for New Managers, Part 2

This post continues a series discussing the handling of some major organizational changes at my company.

We had identified seven candidates for our managerial openings: five internal and two external.  We still were uncertain as to how many positions we were going to hire – at least two, possibly as many as four.

Our interview process for the internal candidates was a bit unusual.  We had five very strong employees interested in the positions.  We already knew we liked them, we knew they were good at their jobs, and we knew we wanted them on our team.  We recognized that we were immediately setting ourselves up to create disappointment for several of our strongest employees: each of them, naturally, hoped to get one of the new manager roles, but there weren’t enough roles to go around.

During the interviews, I made a point of discussing this openly and directly with each candidate.  I emphasized that the worst case outcome would be that they’d have a job they liked and were very good at, for a company that appreciated them.  Based on follow-up discussions with each candidate, that honest and candid approach was helpful.

Following the interviews, we had a “group debrief” meeting, with all six members of the interview team participating.  I like this approach and prefer it to the “have each interviewer send feedback to the hiring manager” method.  It allows each interviewer to hear and consider the pros and cons identified by the other interviewers.  It also allows for discussion of the priorities for the position and comparison of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses against those priorities.

In this situation, the group debrief meeting also allowed us to determine how many positions we were filling.  We decided to add two managers, leaving ourselves the option to grow further as our team adds more headcount.

In the group meeting, we reached consensus fairly quickly.  One internal candidate and one external candidate stood out above all the others.  In addition, the other external candidate was deemed a good fit for our team, but not in a managerial role.  We decided to offer him a position as a Senior Consultant.

Next step: communicate the decisions, both to the candidates and to the rest of the team.

For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:

Proceed carefully when interviewing internal candidates for a new position.  You likely disappoint the candidates not chosen and you want to make sure you don’t alienate them in the process.

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