How to Hire and Train Managers and Set Them Up for Success

Sean Lund-Brown

Hello, 2021. My name is The Rise of the Virtual and Remote Workplace. How are you doing today? Generally productive, maybe a little overwhelmed, still in your pajamas drinking your morning coffee, fighting off your toddler's advances to your keyboard, stressed—yeah, maybe stressed is it. Not only do you have so much to manage at home, but you also have so much to manage as a stay-at-home employee, including hiring new managers to accommodate your growing business.

That's why you can't afford to sit around and wait for the right candidate to show up at your door — erm, email. You need the right employee now and you need to get it right on the first shot. But let's face it. It doesn't matter how often we mention the benefits of our "new normal" of virtual and hybrid workplaces.

We are accustomed to the ease of in-person hiring processes and training. Adjusting our routines, expectations, and PowerPoints to be virtual-friendly is still a challenge, and no amount of hair-pulling, late nights at the computer, or extended deadlines will change the fact that we are making a massive transition to virtual work and, therefore, the hiring process.

Amongst these new circumstances, we thought that we'd help you through some of the difficulties of hiring and training managers virtually and offer up advice. In this article, we will review how you can not only hire managers virtually but also how you can set them up for success.

Who do you want your manager to be?

If there is one thing that is not new to us virtually, it's dating. Follow us with this one. When you set yourself up to hire someone, you are essentially engaging in a form of professional dating. When you receive resumes, you either put them into the file on the right for later review or put them in the trash to your left. But you need to figure out what disqualifies this resume, this "date," in the first place.

To do this task, be transparent with your expectations and what your company is in order to build interest and find a match. Clearly lay out what your company does, its values and expectations from potential employees, and what the applicant has to do to be considered for the position. It's your "dating profile." Don't fabricate a profile that will attract candidates you don't necessarily want.

On the same note, you need to decide who you want to apply for this job. You may think you know, but remember, this managerial position is for a fully remote or hybrid office environment. Their skill sets will have to be slightly different. Personality, work experience, and education aside, look for these qualities in a potential virtual manager:

Communication

Managers need to be excellent communicators. In an office, this task is easier. Typically, when someone sees your face, it's a trigger that they need to check in with you, assign you a task, or bring up an issue. Management is more likely to share information with you, engage in casual conversation that leads to bigger work issues, and keep you up-to-date on the latest progress reports.

But when things are virtual, there can be a lot of distractions that can take away from one's ability to communicate. Perhaps the biggest distraction to communication is the computer itself. The age-old paradox of technology connecting and disconnecting is age-old for a reason. Except now it leaches into itself. Because we work virtually, solo in our living room, surrounded by our personal lives and favorite TV shows, we tend to lone wolf daily tasks.

A manager cannot be a lone wolf. To effectively run a virtual office, a manager needs to treat the virtual office as if they were in a real one. They should be able to engage in the same conversation through text, email, or a messaging service, share charts and data, and concisely convey information within a reasonable time frame.

Tech literate

You don't need to hire a manager who knows five different programming languages, will tell you all about new technology, or can troubleshoot every tech snafu. But you will need to hire a manager who has an above-average grasp of technology.

They should know how to work in Zoom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, to name a few. They should also know how to create multiple tabs on an Excel sheet, compress and unzip files, transfer data over cloud apps, and at the very least, not be afraid to learn how to connect with people virtually.

Team builder

Because your employees won't be meeting in person every day if you run a hybrid office, or at all if completely remote, you need a manager who can make everyone still feel as though they are on the same team. This ability is dependent on communication skills, but it also requires a "glass half full" approach to managing projects.

Level headed

Yes, you want a firm, pragmatic manager, but you also want them to be level-headed. We are beyond fiery-tempered managers throwing around their anger and frustrations to get what they want. When someone is screaming at you, you eventually grow numb to it. When someone is screaming at you virtually, they can now mute you.

Ouch. Harsh, but true. Don't hire someone that your employees will put on mute.

Don't be swayed by introversion

Data from Forbes

Your manager does not have to be an extrovert to excel at managing projects and teams. If we're working off of personality test stereotypes, candidates who are introverts may possess qualities that you'll find useful for remote work:

● Observant

● Good listeners

● Thoughtful doers

● Compassionate leaders

This information is all to say that during the hiring process, you shouldn't limit yourself to the candidates who know how to throw their voice around. Find someone who can speak, lead, think, and listen.

What does seniority have to do with hiring and training managers?

From University of Massachusetts Global

Before you even put out your job listing, look within your team. Is there someone you can promote from within, someone with seniority, and do you have a clear seniority path? But what is seniority anyway?

There are two ways to think about seniority. The first is in terms of workplace seniority.

Very important, seniority has nothing to do with the age of the employee. Rather, it looks at experience, time with the company, and knowledge. Usually, those with seniority are older because they have racked up more time with a company and have had years more opportunity than someone ten years their junior, but age, in this case, doesn't matter.

Say, for instance, you have an associate editor who has been working with the company for five years, is bilingual, knows multiple software programs, and displays leadership qualities. Think of them for the managing editor position before your sister's friend who has only worked in the company for two years as an editorial assistant.

The second is hierarchical seniority. When you're hiring a manager, do you need them to be an assistant manager, a temporary project manager, or a department manager? The level to which you need them to manage will help you determine the qualifications you're looking for in resumes.

How to interview a manager for a virtual or hybrid office environment

Since you're interviewing virtually, your interview options can be as simple as a virtual meeting or as creative and thorough as a series of online skill assessments.

Virtual interviews

There are plenty of videotelephony platforms you can use to interview candidates. Apps like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime are all now your basic live options. Though these are perfectly fine options, other apps and software give you a little more leeway in terms of what you can do.

VidCruiter

VidCruiter allows you to hold both live and recorded interviews, which means you don't have to worry about time zone constraints. You can even integrate with existing recruitment platforms, like LinkedIn, ADP, and Workday, to make the interview process even easier. The program also keeps candidates updated on their status so that you don't have to worry about forgetting to tell someone they didn't get the job.

EasyHire

You can hold live and recorded interviews, and you can even add tech-related questions if you want to rate someone's practical skills. Even better, you can host panel interviews so that there’s no need to worry about your remote hiring team missing out on an interview. EasyHire also offers emotion analysis — a neat AI feature — that helps you analyze candidates down to their emotional reaction to questions.

SparkHire

SparkHire is a big name in the video interview world, with clients like the US Postal Service, Ikea, and Volkswagen. The service includes a one-way video interview option, has no startup or contract fees, and interview evaluation and collaboration.

You can also integrate SparkHire with many other recruitment and workplace apps like Salesforce, Jazz, and Slack — we would venture to say that it has the most integrations of any of the other platforms on here.

Premier Virtual

If you want to hold a virtual career fair, interview on the spot, and match candidates before the event even begins, then Premier Virtual is the way to go. With the JobSeeker track feature, candidates can message different job booths in real time.

XOR

By incorporating AI, XOR allows you to focus on speaking with candidates and less on searching for them and sifting through an endless pile of inquiries. XOR increases engagement with candidates by interacting with them via text, email, and more. They automate repetitive workflow, work in 100+ languages, and recruit talent virtually.

Skill assessment interviews

Though it's always nice to be able to put a face to the name, a skill assessment interview may be more effective in showing you how well someone can perform tasks. It's like turning your candidate into a demo version of themselves. Ultimately, a skill assessment can better target the manager you want to hire, whether the assessment is your sole deciding factor or an additional requirement.

TestGorilla

This platform includes a thorough skill library that can assess coding abilities, language mastery, and even things like social media management.

Vervoe

Vervoe is a skills assessment service that makes hiring remote workers easier by testing for "the bigger picture." It evaluates technical skills, like different programs, and soft skills, like communication, leadership, etc.

iMocha

iMocha's AI skills assessment service specializes in digital skills (including a coding simulator), cognitive abilities, and can even conduct live and pre-recorded coding interviews.

Recruitment websites

You can capture effective leads by using recruitment websites. What are leads? Leads are the people you want, the ones who are qualified for the job; the people you won't be wasting precious interview time with. You've probably encountered dozens of these websites in the past as you scrolled through job after job.

Remember the dating profile metaphor we used earlier? Well, consider these recruitment websites your dating websites. By advertising your job listing, these sites can connect you to the candidates you need and a few of them even include skill assessments.

ZipRecruiter

This website allows you to customize your job posting using one of their 100+ templates. While you wait for resumes to flood your email, ZipRecruiter scans resumes of job seekers and invites them to apply for the job.

You can also send personalized messages to candidates inviting them to apply, as well. Between screening questions, 24/7 support, and a mobile responsive platform, posting a job, ZipRecruiter makes finding the perfect manager a breeze.

Indeed

One of the most well-known job recruitment sites, Indeed gives employers the benefit of an easy-to-navigate dashboard where they can manage their job posting. Even better, Indeed groups higher-ranking candidates at the top of your list so you don't have to sift through candidates who are "sort of" qualified. They also provide skill assessment services.

SimplyHired

SimplyHired is a network that allows you to post your job for free. You only pay when you want to move forward with a candidate. Because SimplyHired is a network, you can post one listing to multiple sites.

In SimplyHired's case, you post to: careerbliss.com, gethired.com, jobrapido.com, jobtarget.com, and livecareer.com. Oh, and, don't you know, Indeed.com is part of that network, too!

Training your new manager for success

Congratulations! Now that you've finally landed the manager of your dreams, it's time to set them up for success. You'll need to train them in the ways of your world. As such, you don't want them to think they know everything. After all, this is your business. You need them to run their part of it according to your work values, goals, and culture.

Tips for training

Approach training a senior position (a manager) as you would with any one of your other employees. They may be special because they are management, but they are still employees and need to adhere to the rules and workflow like everyone else, even if their role is different. So, consider their training as you would an entry-level employee's training.

Educate them

Give them your Business 101. Run through the guidebook, the style guide; tell them how people usually communicate and where and how they can find files. If you use a program with which they aren't familiar but hired them anyway (because the pros outweighed the cons), train them in the program! Explain to them why their job is important.

Don't let them flounder. You don't want a messy manager.

Essentially, get the newcomer on the same page as you and everyone else. Doing so will make their foray into the world of virtual management all the easier.

Report coaching

Report coaching refers to planning the developmental process and guiding employees to meet their goals. Managers don't know how to do this task automatically, so never assume. Then again, never discriminate. It's an art that requires training, mentorship, and lots of trial-and-error. Basically, it's something you learn on the job.

When it comes to virtual workplaces, coaching is particularly important, as it helps foster a sense of teamwork, purpose, and efficiency. It also helps managers know when to reach out to an employee who may be struggling to meet their personal work goals or falling behind on a project.

Employers can easily offer workshops and other literature on how to "coach reports."

Encourage reflection

Journaling is a useful way to reflect and evaluate—a performance review, of sorts.

If journaling doesn't fit your business's vibe, you can hold regular sessions that allow managers to reflect as a community on their performance as well as the performance of their teams. This method could potentially help them assess what worked and what they can do better.

Virtually, this is easily done, though it may be more effective through live, one-on-one or small group meetings with other managers, like department managers, or whomever they may report to.

Offer technical skill training

Soft skill training, leadership skills, communication, etc., are, of course, important. But if you are operating a hybrid/remote work environment, you need to keep your managers up-to-date on the technology that will help them succeed.

Even if you need managers to attend an hour-long session a couple of times a week for a month, it's time well spent if it means your managers can leverage the technology that will push your company forward.

Training platforms

Don't feel that you have to do all the training. Take advantage of some of the great tools out there to hone your manager's skills. With them, you can either tap into pre-made programs or customize what your employees learn.

Hone

Speaking of Hone, this service provides effective leadership training that you can scale according to your and your managers' needs. You can tailor skills to your team, track their behavioral progress (attendance, feedback, etc.), and take advantage of Hone's network of expert facilitators.

Each online class is 60-90 minutes long, with Hone's Manager Essentials class lasting four weeks. There are options to train an individual, groups of 5+, and groups of 50+.

Cornerstone

Cornerstone takes a professional and holistic approach to leadership training and certainly does not limit you in the ways you can deliver your educational content. You can send your managers training material in the form of videos, quizzes, and interactive assignments. You also can track their progress and access reports that provide insight on how you can better train your employees.

MasterClass

MasterClass isn't just for learning how to cook, act, or paint. You can give your managers the gift of MasterClass business. The program teaches soft skills like leadership, negotiation, and storytelling from well-known figures in business: Robin Roberts, Chris Voss, Daniel Pink, and Bob Iger.

The tools of the trade

Depending on where your business is tech-wise, you could be in a position to upgrade your old software and programs. In fact, bringing in a new manager is a great way to try something new. But you should at least have something "old!" How can you expect a manager to manage virtually if your business doesn't give them the tools to do so?

Dropbox

An oldie, but a goodie. Dropbox is a cloud-based service that allows people to share team files. It is particularly helpful for hybrid office environments where employees need access to files on both their work computers and personal home computers. Simply upload to Dropbox, download when ready, and re-upload when finished. Dropbox is great for managers to disperse and delegate files to teams.

Asana

Asana provides simple, easy-to-read templates for project organization. Managers can assign and group tasks and privately or publicly message team members.

Mural

Mural is a team collaboration tool that lets employees brainstorm and create action items/solutions simultaneously. The virtual whiteboard offers a powerful visual aid and managers can use its facilitation tools to control how a team works. It gives managers a sense of transparency in terms of what their team is thinking in real-time.

CultureAmp

CultureAmp is another team networking program with a Millennial-professional aesthetic. CultureAmp allows managers to build stronger teams, get employee feedback, and keep track of project goals. The service's development tools also help managers be better virtual leaders, allowing them to check in with their employees on more than just their project status.

BlueJeans

BlueJeans is a service offered by Verizon that gives you all the Zoom features without it being Zoom. Its video conferencing plan includes real-time transcriptions, unlimited calls, and integrations with Microsoft Teams.

Slack

Asynchronous communication is communication that you can "save for later" — although we suggest responding to your manager and coworkers promptly. Slack is one of those asynchronous communication platforms. Using channels, or organized workspaces, employees can communicate with each other and managers can better see the conversations revolving around projects. Managers can also initiate a brainstorming channel.

Hiring and training managers for success virtually or in a hybrid environment

Smith.ai's 24/7 live receptionist services are for more than providing the ultimate customer service. We can help your company or small business with your hiring and staffing needs.

Reasons why you may want to choose our third-party answering service

First, when you need to hire a manager, assistant manager, or any kind of employee, a significant part of your office turns into a hiring and staffing agency — it just so happens that you're placing these employees in one of the roles in your company. Fortunately, Smith.ai provides virtual receptionist assistance to hiring and staffing agencies regularly so if you go this route, you won't be in the hands of rookies.

Second, think about who you would normally ask to handle hiring and staffing and the time it will take away from their regular work. If you would rather keep this person free to focus on operations and don't necessarily trust anyone else with the process, place another tick mark next to the specialized service option.

Third, consider your budget and how many employees you currently have. Hiring isn't just a simple, zero-cost effort. It takes a workforce that may or may not be available. Taking them away from their normal work can impact efficiency (and therefore cost you money). And let's face it, hiring a receptionist to answer every inquiry, review every resume that comes in, and schedule interviews might not be in the budget. That position is, what, $30,000/year? That's about as much as the average Smith.ai client saves annually when they opt for their services.

Fourth, you and your team are experiencing administrative work overload. Instead of planning that annual fundraiser, you're stuck answering the phones all day. You can't keep track of incoming data and schedules. You feel short-staffed. If that's you, you need help.

Capturing the manager leads you want and need

Once you've determined that you do need an answering service, you can prepare live receptionists to capture leads.

If you decide to sign up with Smith.ai, you'll customize your instructions for the live receptionists. They will then answer the phones just as you'd want them to. Assuming that you use these live receptionists as a pre-screening for the manager you want, they will then collect the data of those who fit your requirements and send them to you. Alternatively, you can have them schedule an interview for you right then and there.

Essentially, Smith.ai live receptionists are your filter. This assistance allows you and your team to do what you do best: grow your company.

Think of the benefits of using Smith.ai for hiring and training managers

Consider the general benefits of Smith.ai and if you can use us in more than one way.

24/7 phone answering service

SMS text answering

Bilingual services

● Boost productivity

Schedule appointments

● Live receptionists answering frequently asked questions

● Offer a human option, as opposed to a recorded one, when it comes to off-hours customer service

Ultimately, you can entirely up your customer service game in other areas of your business. But what we really want to focus on is how Smith.ai can specifically help you with hiring managers virtually.

You can begin the hiring and training process with us by booking a free, 30-minute consultation. You can also contact us at (650) 727-6484 if you prefer. If you want to partner with us and see how well our services work for you and your business, Smith.ai will give you a 14-day, money-back guarantee. Any other inquiries may be sent to our email: hello@smith.ai.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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