I'm starting my new job next week, and my manager has suggested that I'll need some staff under me in order to keep up. He also has someone he thinks would be good, who actually interviewed for my position, but was a bit too junior/green for it.

I'm not clear how I want to proceed. I don't have a good feel yet for the work I'll be doing (a lot of which will be creating new business, so it's fairly undefined aside from the strategies in my head), nor do I have a solid grasp of how my colleague's and their directs' roles play out in the real world.

So my instinct is to hold off until I have my sea legs a little bit. Maybe not for the full 90 days, suggested in the new managers podcast, but for a while.

At the same time, I have a great deal of respect for my manager (having him as a mentor is one of the reasons I took the job!), so if he recommends someone, I think they're well worth a look. If he'd be a real asset, I don't want to lose him to another employer. I'd also hate to lose the opportunity to hire some staff.

My predecessor had no staff, so there's nobody in place already, which makes this even trickier. (I suspect that my mgr. thinks my predecessor would have been more effective with some backup -- hence his suggestion)

Any ideas on how to proceed? I think that no matter what happens, I'll interview this candidate and talk with my manager to see what he's thinking. But it's going to be very hard to interview if I'm not entirely sure what position he'll be interviewing for!

jhack's picture

Take this opportunity to define the role. Don't interview him right away. Schedule it a month out. Actually write the job description and work on it with your new boss. Once you've got the role defined (don't forget to include performance metrics and expected deliverables) you can start to interview.

PS: In fast growth environments, I've often found that the job description evolves after the first round of interviews. Don't be afraid to use the interview as a honing process (as long as you're honest with the candidate about the uncertainty regarding the role).


tlhausmann's picture
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[quote="Nik"]...He also has someone he thinks would be good, who actually interviewed for my position, but was a bit too junior/green for it.

Do set up the meeting with this other person. Although you may not hire the person in the near term, it may be a person with whom you can develop a relationship and hire down the road when you have your "sea legs."

Consider it more of an information meeting, "My manager suggested you would be a good person to get to know--have you time to swing by our site for lunch or a cup of coffee? I'm new and your background may offer some insights on...."

You get the idea. Start building the network. You have a staff to assemble.

ctomasi's picture


I'm in a similar situation as you. I'm old to the company, but creating a new department. Not only do I have to figure out what my role is, but what is required of the people I'll be hiring soon.

I agree with John - define your role, define the position you're looking to fill. The job description is a great way to do that. Even if you don't have all the answers, you'll get some good questions to answer.

Tom's suggestion to get to know the recommended person is also good.

It might not hurt to talk to you boss. Did he recognize any shortcomings from your predecessor that lends to the desire to have a staff?

HMac's picture

All good advice.

My only addition: [b]it ALWAYS takes longer to hire than you expect it will.[/b]

So start the process sooner than you think you need to.