Who is Hiring Your Training Manager?

I marvel at the process of hiring a training manager in some organizations.  When this role is not reporting to human resources, but rather administration or operations, why is the recruiting process being screened entirely by human resources?

I go back to the basic role of training as a support function that enables the skills that employees need to perform their job.  So when a training manager is being hired to align with an operational line function, doesn’t it make sense that these are the same folks that should be interviewing candidates before they are eliminated?

I am a strong supporter of human resources when it functions as part of the team, and that team is defined as the entire organization.  I strongly oppose human resources when it thinks it knows better how to select good matches for the company and screens out qualified applicants without letting the hiring manager have a say in the process.

Recently I read that a serious mistake that many companies make in the process is to have the outgoing manager interview their replacement.  I recently took part in an interview like that, and thought about what an awesome opportunity it was to meet the outgoing manager and gain their perspective on the role and challenges.  That was until she said something that didn’t resonate until later that day.  On my way out the door, she commented, “you could sure bring a wealth of new life to our company, and yet you would also make me look bad.”  I knew then that I would not be getting a call back because the wrong individual was interviewing.

A friend of mine that is also looking for work was called after applying for a job online, and the first comment was “you are really too qualified for this job.”  My friend wanted to say, “so why are you calling me?” but thankfully resisted that temptation.  She instead asked if that was a barrier to being hired?  Good question, huh?

The response was that they were fearful she would get bored quickly and quit.  She responded with something I have used before and said. “finding someone who just fits the requirements will be difficult.  And while you don’t want to hire someone who is underqualified, do you really want someone who is only good to go for the job requirements today, and unable to show the experience to take on greater responsibilities?”

While this was a solid response, she was not asked to interview.  Why call her in the first place?  Were they hoping to find out that she was underqualified?  I read of a similar story online this morning, and the applicant called the recruiter “a twit”.  But that is not fair, as they are obviously just not understanding their role in the hiring process.  They see their job as one that needs to reduce the number of applications in the pipeline by using check-marks.  Not enough check-marks and they don’t get an interview, and too many check-marks and they also get eliminated for being too qualified.

My advise for anyone that has training reporting to them is that you want to see all applications and judge for yourself.  These people need to support your efforts if they are running training, and I would never leave that up to anyone else to do for me.


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