Recruiting a Great Manager Part 1: Finding the Talent Pool for Your Tribe

How many times have you thought, “If we just found the right people, everything else would fall into place.” A good hire can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your bottom line, and a great hire transforms that one-time bump into an annuity paying dividends year after year. But how will you find that great hire?

Recruiting Best Practices

Make Sure People Know You’re Looking

Before you contact online job sites and recruiting firms, the first well of candidates to tap is your network. Current employees, past employees, friends, colleagues, suppliers, and even competitors in some cases, can be a great source of leads. Let them all know that you’re looking and what you’re looking for.

Write an advertisement that people will want to pass along. Something that expresses what you’re looking for and your company’s personality – and something that makes readers click the forward button. Ideally, you’ll tell two hundred friends, and they’ll tell two hundred friends and so on. For example:

HERE YOU ARE. Another day at the office. Remember how proud you were when you landed that great management role? And now? Your work is OK, but you feel you’ve done it all. And what are you doing in the office when what you love most is being in front of clients? Of course you’re keeping your eyes open – you’re very ambitious. You want new energy, something that you can build and make your own. That’s great if you’re a Sales Manager with 10 years under your belt and a track record of building great teams. You speak your mind and love to learn. And that’s exactly what we’re looking for.


Mission accomplished! Your ad went viral. Unfortunately, the prize for this achievement is 100 resumes to review. Contrary to popular practice, you should take the first pass through the resumes yourself. Ugh. Could there be a less glamorous role than sifting through the slush pile? If you hand it off, do so at your peril – but remember that you’re looking for the x-factor – the perfect person for the job. No one can recognize the hidden gems that will fit perfectly with your organization better than you. Screening for standard qualifications will only get you so far – this step requires your unique and uncompromising eye.

At this stage, you want to err on the side of inclusiveness. Quickly sift through piles of 20 at a time and grade them A, B, or C. The B category should have 60 – 70% of the applicants. Toss the Cs and take another pass through the Bs, giving them a rating of 1, 2 or 3. You will want to promote the As and B1s along to the next round, but keep the rest of the Bs for possible review later.

Phone Screen

Anyone you want to talk to in person you have to call anyway, so you might as well make this call a step in the recruitment process. These interviews can be delegated to others in your firm – just be clear about the objective and process. The objective is to test for some basic qualifications, and should the candidate pass the basic test, the next step is to schedule an interview.

Scheduling is the easy part; the testing process is trickier. Examples of testing criteria include:

  • If they must be able to speak a certain language fluently, test them on the phone.
  • If written communication is important, ask them to email you something in the few minutes following the call. If they pass this test, save time by scheduling the next interview via email.
  • If they require a specific designation to complete the work, ask if they have it. No qualification? No interview.
  • Ask about salary expectations or what kind of income they are trying to replace. Way out of your comfort zone? No interview.
  • If they must begin immediately, can they? No? No interview.

Short List

This article outlined how to find a larger pool of great people – the long list. Our follow up, Finding The One, explores the short list by delving further into the selection process. Specifically, it will explain how to test for a perfect fit.

Bellrock is a management consulting and change management firm where remarkable is expected. If you found this article valuable, don’t be stingy. Share!

Written By:
Tara Landes

Tara Landes is the Founder and President of Bellrock. She has spent over 20 years consulting and training in small to medium-sized enterprises. A sought-after speaker on a wide range of business topics, Tara has delivered workshops and seminars at conferences and industry associations across Canada. Tara obtained a BA (Honours) in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and earned an MBA from UWO's Richard Ivey School of Business.

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