Why you Should Hire an All-star Associate as Your Next Manager

by: Steven Haug, Ph.D.


In a difficult hiring market, managers can be hard to come by. While the pool for manager talent is larger than the pool for the director, VP, and C-suite talent, the interest rate for managerial jobs is much lower. This means that, even though there are plenty of managers on the market, finding one for your role can require more resources than recruiting for more senior-level positions.


When searching for your next manager, consider all-star associates rather than candidates with proven managerial experience. Here are three reasons why:


1. The Best Associates are Likely to Leave their Job for a Manager Position

Your company may have a compelling mission, a great culture, and compensate well, but the number of managers willing to take a lateral move in title and responsibility is much smaller than the number of associates hungry to take the next step in their career.


By adjusting your search strategy to include associates, you’ll likely have interviews on the calendar faster and find a candidate more quickly.


2. When you Hire an All-star Associate, You’ll have an All-star Manager in a Few Months

The appeal of hiring someone with the manager title to be your next manager is that they have experience leading. We can expect that they will be comfortable with the responsibilities right off the bat.


Associates will need coaching and training to move into the manager role, but if you hire an all-star associate, the time it takes them to settle into the manager role is likely not much longer than the amount of time it takes any new employee to learn how to navigate a new job at a new company.


3. Recruiting Firms are Able to Evaluate Management Potential

Because associates have likely never been managers, employers should be concerned about an associate’s ability to move into the role. However, good recruiting firms will have strategies for evaluating candidates’ abilities and potential. They will likely know which companies prepare associates to eventually become managers, they will know which questions are effective for evaluating interest in, and potential for, becoming managers.


For example, in the management consulting world, many pre-MBA consultants at firms like McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and LEK, are exposed to situations that help prepare them to step into a management role in a short time.


Recruiters will evaluate how candidates motivate colleagues and how they handle conflict, in addition to discussing ways candidates think their company or business unit could be improved. Leveraging questions that test managerial qualities, recruiters will be able to identify associates likely to be excellent managers.



Steven Haug, Ph.D. is a Project Manager of ECA Partners. He can be reached at [email protected].



Steven Haug
Engagement Manager

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