How to Hire Entry-Level Employees, Managers, and Executives

Whether you need to hire entry-level employees who might be fresh out of college, managers to inspire direct reports, or C-Suite executives who need to chart a new business course, consider these necessary steps to find the best talent for each level of your organization.

Remember that each position in your organization requires specific capabilities. A one-size-fits-all approach to hiring often leads to misaligned employees, either with their fellow employees or with the company as a whole. Consider the following best practices for hiring entry-level employees, managers, and executives to positively impact KPIs tied to productivity and reduce the risk of unwanted turnover.

Hiring Entry-Level Employees

Hiring entry-level employees, especially individuals who do not have significant work experience, can be challenging for any hiring manager. The key is knowing what roles need to be filled in your organization and understanding how to identify the candidates who best fit those roles.

When to Look Internally vs. Externally: Most companies will look externally for entry-level employees. However, you might offer a college internship program or a "volunteer work program" where unpaid entry-level workers are already in the door. In this case, you need a method to compare the individuals who already have experience in your company versus external candidates.

Match the Competencies tied to Highest Performance: To narrow down your candidate pool, hiring managers need to take three crucial steps:

  1. Identify the emotional intelligence competencies required for each job opening.

  2. Establish benchmarks by identifying the competencies tied to high-performing employees currently in the role.

  3. Use a validated pre-employment assessment tool that measures emotional intelligence to match each entry-level candidate to the benchmarks.

The results of the comparison to your benchmarks will lead you to the next important step of conducting a behavioral interview with each candidate.

Identify Traits for Success: Because many entry-level candidates do not have a significant work history, you need to examine their resumes, talk to references, review their assessment results, and conduct a behavioral interview.

Hiring Manager Roles

Knowing when to promote an internal candidate versus hiring an external candidate is an important decision all leadership teams face. However, by following an objective process, you can take the guesswork out of this decision.

When to Look Internally vs. Externally: Hiring a new manager can significantly impact your company culture and the KPIs tied to productivity, both positively and negatively. Consider these four potential outcomes:

  • Promote a respected individual contributor from within = boost company morale

  • Overlook a respected individual contributor and promote an unpopular employee = detrimental to company morale

  • Hire a new manager from the outside who has the respect of their direct reports = more likely to be productive

  • Hire a new manager who is not respectable in the eyes of their direct reports = less likely to be productive

It is important to remember that promoting or hiring an individual who carries the respect of their peers does not automatically boost morale and productivity growth. Your task is to gather and evaluate measurable information about each candidate to support your ultimate hiring decision.

Match the Competencies tied to Highest Performance: Obtaining measurable information will help eliminate the guesswork from promoting or hiring a new manager. You need to identify the competencies required for each managerial role, establish the benchmarks based on your highest-performing managers, and use a pre-employment assessment to evaluate each candidate's emotional intelligence competencies.

Identify Traits for Success: To complete the process of evaluating your internal and external managerial candidates, you need to assess their leadership traits, talk to references, and prepare behavioral interview questions. This applies to both sets of candidates -- even internal candidates because you are hiring for a different position than they currently hold.


Hiring C-Suite Executives

Hiring for the C-Suite is challenging because of the higher risk of potential damage to your company from a bad hire. Additionally, executives at this level command a higher salary than other employees, which means costly turnover from the wrong hire.

When to Look Internally vs. Externally: There is an inclination to only look externally for an executive hire to provide a fresh perspective for the leadership position. However, that fresh perspective could already be in your company, so it is imperative to evaluate employees from other levels in your organization.

Match the Competencies tied to Highest Performance: Because of the critical nature of hiring at this level, you need to focus on the competencies for each executive role and compare each candidate to the role's unique competencies. You cannot treat one executive position the same as another; each role requires an individual measurement.

  • Internal Candidate: Match up the candidate's competencies to the persona of a high-performing executive. Is there a strong or weak fit? Could you be sitting on a hidden gem in your company? Would they need minimal or extensive training to advance to this level?

  • External Candidate: Compare the candidate's competencies to the benchmarks for the high-performing executives in your company. Does the candidate match the benchmark? Does the measurable information lead you to believe they would be a good fit for the role?

Identify Traits for Success: After narrowing down your candidate pool, you should conduct a behavioral interview. This process will help you dig into the candidate's work history or discover red flags that were not apparent before the interview. This will help you reduce the risk of a costly hire.


How Does ZERORISK HR Support You When Hiring?

ZERORISK HR offers the ZERORISK Hiring System to help hiring managers make informed hiring decisions and manage human capital at all levels in your organization.

The hiring system features a pre-employment assessment that measures the emotional intelligence competencies of each candidate. The system also produces hiring benchmarks to compare each candidate's competencies to the position they are applying for, and a custom behavioral interview guide.


To see how the system can work in your organization, request a free assessment. We look forward to hearing from you!