What is the Hiring Process for an HR Manager?

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The process for hiring a human resources, or HR, manager can be different than other positions; although this ultimately depends on the company’s size, organizational structure and whether it is a start-up or established company. These factors in conjunction with a hiring protocol determine who makes the final decision.

Responsibility for hiring an HR manager for a start-up company may rest solely in the hands of the business owner or the company’s founding partners. In this case, an HR manager will likely play an integral role in the development of the organization due to her role in shaping the initial workforce and employee base. Managers of human resources departments for start-ups are also more likely to become a member of executive leadership. Therefore, the hiring process may be lengthy or complex in the search for candidates with the right blend of strategic and functional expertise in addition to business acumen and specific industry knowledge.

Requisite Skills and Qualifications

The first step in the hiring process is to determine the requisite -- or must-have -- skills and qualifications. It’s also wise to prepare a list of preferred qualifications. Education, experience and credentials are areas you can use to classify the basic qualifications necessary for the job. Businesses in a niche market may also seek candidates with specific industry expertise as part of their knowledge cache. A small business owner with limited HR knowledge and expertise should recruit seasoned professionals in the human resources field.

Preliminary Screening

After a thorough review of applications, cover letters and resumes, the next step in the hiring process for an HR manager is a series of interviews. A preliminary interview by phone is essential -- preliminary interviews save time and money and cut down time in conducting face-to-face interviews with applicants no longer interested in the role or nonviable candidates. One of the most important questions to ask during a preliminary phone interview is whether the applicant is still interested in the job.

In-Depth Interviews

Candidates for an HR manager should anticipate at least two to three interviews, including an interview with the company president, as well as a panel interview with other department managers. If a human resources department is already in place, there should be an opportunity for the human resources staff to meet with short-listed candidates to determine which prospective HR manager is the most appropriate fit. Depending on the size of the company and the human resources department, you may want to invite candidates to spend several hours at the worksite, or at other company locations, to learn more about the business.

The hiring process for manager-level positions -- particularly for an HR manager -- should consist of in-depth interviews, as well as time devoted to observing how the business operates and how supervisors and managers run their respective departments.

Professional and Personal References

Final matters in the hiring process also include checking candidates' professional and personal references. Human resources managers generally have a tremendous amount of influence on the organizational structure, professional latitude, authority and responsibility. Therefore, conversations with the candidate's professional references should yield information about the prospective HR manager's ability to exercise independent judgment, engage analytical and critical thought processes, and develop positive working relationships with employees at every level of the organization. Professional and personal references both can provide comments about the prospective manager's work ethic, business principles and integrity.

Negotiating an Employment Offer

Negotiating an employment offer includes discussions concerning compensation and benefits, performance incentives, management perks and bonuses, and determining the date on which the new manager assumes his role. Many executive-level HR management positions are under contract of employment, which means a written agreement contains the terms and conditions of employment and appropriate clauses for termination of the agreement, non-compete and confidentiality assurances.

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