Filling a vacancy with an outsider

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By Goke Ilesanmi


In hiring a manager, you will naturally be looking for a combination of characteristics in your prospective candidate. You will want him or her to be an experienced and mature person who is also very dynamic, energetic and able to do the job for you. Ideally, you will like to hire somebody very dedicated and honest. One very sensitive aspect of recruiting a manager is when you have to choose from outside even though there are some or many within that are expressing interest in a vacant position. But after you have interviewed them, for one reason or another, you could not find any of them suitable. This has made you to decide to go outside to find the knowledge, skills and abilities you need, that is, the most suitable person for the job.

Complexity and positive effects

The fact remains that this seemingly simple scenario has both positive and negative effects, and many business owners often overlook these. As regards positive effects, the new external manager theoretically has all or most of the necessary qualifications you need. Also, he or she will bring a fresh, new and hopefully objective perspective to your organisation. His or her views will probably be free of any of the aspects of your company’s culture that may have inhibited past managers.

Negative effects

  As far as negative effects are concerned, one of the things that can happen is de-motivation of employees. Patty Vogan, an executive coach and chairman of TEC International educates that on the negative side, you need to look at the implications for the unsuccessful internal candidates as well as other employees who have observed the process. Some employees may conclude that the organisation does not promote from within. In that case, some of them may believe they have no future in the organisation or, at best, that their chances of promotion may be limited. They may be looking elsewhere for career advancement opportunities.

     David G. Javitch, Ph.D., an organisational psychologist and president of Javitch Associates, an organisational consulting firm in Newton, Massachusetts reinforces this assertion by saying, “Previously loyal internal people will feel rejected, angry and frustrated with their potential for promotion into key positions. This is especially true if the new, external hire is not familiar with the processes, procedures, market or customers in their new job. Existing employees, especially those passed over for the job, will resent having to train their new boss or having their own productivity slowed down while the new hire gets oriented and acclimated to the new position.”

Procedure and solution

Due to the complexity of hiring an external candidate as a manager, organisations should try as much as possible to proactively make his or her entry into their business smooth so as to achieve expected increased productivity and profitability. Experts such as Stever Robbins, a human resource expert educate that one of the strategies organisations that find themselves in this type of situation can deploy is explanation of their corporate culture to the new manager. This should include the stories, myths, heroes and norms; the way things are done around in your organisation; and your spoken and unspoken rules, policies, procedures and attitudes. “But be careful: In doing this, try not to shape this person into the mould of their predecessor—unless, of course, that’s your express purpose in hiring this candidate,” advises Javitch.

Explanation of landmines

Another thing organisations are advised to do is to explain the potential “landmines” that predecessors have experienced. Experts say this caveat is not made to necessarily encourage the new manager to avoid certain topics, procedures or issues, but rather to simply point out what may have not previously worked. An intelligent, experienced entrepreneurial individual who sees potential in something that previously failed will not simply avoid that issue; also the creative manager will try to figure out how to turn the unsuccessful endeavour into a successful one.

Discussion of the past

Discussion of previous successes and failures in the organisation, especially with regard to individual employees is another strategy recommended by experts. According to Javitch, you need to be cautious not to prejudice your new manager against anyone, because in so doing, you may be encouraging him or her to avoid building and improving a potential resource. It would be fair and appropriate, however, to tell the new manager that certain individuals or units have not been as successful as possible. Most effective managers will analyse the situation and seize the opportunity to make improvements.

Smooth transition

You also need to ease the new manager into his or her full responsibilities in an appropriately timely manner. Specifically, this means slowly adding more responsibilities and authority based on visible positive outcomes. Research shows that overloading any new manager with every one of his or her responsibilities can be too challenging, especially in complex situations.

Introduction and encouragement

Another thing is to introduce the new manager to peers, staff and direct reports. Lend the manager the power and status of your office by officially passing power to him or her there. Explain the credentials and successes this person brings to your company to help people understand why you have decided to employ him or her. You also need to encourage others to welcome the new manager and make sure they understand that he or she has your complete confidence and support. This process truly helps the new manager to successfully get necessary support and credibility from colleagues.


Final note

As an employer, you need to serve as a mentor to the new manager. You need to act as a guide, especially in the first few months, to help ensure an easy and positive integration into your company. Note that you are the one that has hired this new manager, and his or her success is your success.

NOTE:  Those who are seeking job assistance can now go to the “Links” section of my website and apply for local and international jobs there.


GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO  of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee,  Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.


Tel: +234(0)8056030424; +234(0)8187499425

Email:  gokeiles2010@gmail.com; info@gokeilesanmi.com.ng

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng

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