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A Man from This Market

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A Man from This Market

When filling a new vacancy, many employers traditionally use job experience in the same position at a similar company as the criteria for selecting a successful candidate. Usually, the first to interview the applicant is the HR manager (or his subordinate, if the company is big), or the department/area head (if the company is not particularly large). There are also external headhunters, who generally behave like regular HR managers, writing vacancy ads and monitoring the vast labor market.

Who are these HR managers? Usually, they are employees who have proven themselves over a relatively long period of time and been entrusted with the responsibility of recruitment. Yes, it is indeed recruitment, since the provided selection of candidates has already been limited and filtered; the three or four who proceed further to the chief executive have already been determined by the aforementioned circle at the initial stage. The “final decision-maker” then selects among those introduced to him. Just think about it: the “recruiters” are the same employees within their narrow function; they are not from “another caste,” so they have all of the common human weaknesses (not necessarily “bad,” just human traits). Thus, for example, the trap for business in recruiting someone to the same team as the recruiter is vividly described in an article about elite groups by Aleksey Efimov1. Another trap is lack of the recruiter’s professional insight into your specific business.

Developing with you, he will develop your business, too. These two “developments” are equal.

“He is an experienced manager; he’s been working leasing space for the opening of similar restaurants for seven years already; we need to attract him at a higher salary…” What kind of motivation and professional level does this manager have? Seven years is an entire lifetime. Over seven years, the man has experienced repeated change, and he must have been performing more than this limited function. Why should he need to come to you if he is so good? He should have opened his own restaurant already, and in fact, he has. What kind of money will you pay such an employee from your investment budget? Evidently, higher than the market rate, and he will be very lucky with you. What will he contribute to your business? Sure, his experience. But besides this experience – a multitude of clichés and stereotypes, indeed. Yes, that restaurant chain is very similar to yours. But it is slightly different. And this tiny difference requires you to change your approach. How fast has he usually been working and thinking over the recent years of his smoothly-developing career? Hardly as fast as needed for your breakthrough.

So, you need this manager, but as he was seven years ago. Developing with you, he will develop your business, too. These two “developments” are equal. His success in seven years may be a threshold for another ambitious manager, but not for him.

What should worry you in a newcomer? That he is inexperienced, that he will make numerous errors and waste your time. Certainly, you should not hire such a person. But have a look at his competencies – how fast he developed and in what direction. All right, he’s been selling foodstuffs at his last job. But do you really suspect he won’t be able to master all of the hidden pitfalls in the function you assign to him in a short time? For his part, he wants to come to you. Apparently, in such a situation and with your experience in hand, you won’t have to overpay him.

The interesting part is choosing a successful manager – not as he is today, but as he will be in seven years. This experience is yours. Intervene actively in the recruitment process, too. Certainly, you will hardly have enough time to follow it all in full. You will need to assign certain stages to someone else. But you should control and discuss all vacancies that you can, as much as your agenda and company size allow, even if you have no chance of meeting the hired person in the future. Recruitment is a key process for a developing business, and the filling of every new vacancy is a separate project.

  • 1 The article by Russian scientist A.Efimov, "Elite groups, their origin and evolution", 1988. Available only in Russian.
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