Leadership Blog

Posted By: Eva Grabner | on June 26 2019

Key Challenges when Recruiting for a Newly Created Role

Recruiting for a newly created position is not without its own unique challenges.  These challenges if not addressed prior to the recruitment process can have a big impact not only on your new Team Member but also on your Team and the results required of both, to say the least.

Firstly, you need to question deeply – Is the position warranted?  Especially if it is a full-time position.  Why are you recruiting? Establish the rationale for the new role.  For the most part, newly created positions are a result of additional work or the winning of a new contract or similar. Could alternative means be used to address this work? The use of contractors or the assigning of additional duties throughout the existing workflow could prove to be a more viable option. To lay the best foundations – you need to have a secure business case for this new appointment.

Clarity – It’s extremely important to devote time to a develop a solid position description which states key responsibility areas (KRA’s) – prioritised of with weightings to show the new employee where his/her focus needs to be along with the associated tasks and duties associated with these KRA’s.  Any position description needs to be written in clear, objective language and quantifiers and qualifiers are to be used.

Expectations – Stating what results you expect your new appointee to achieve and by when is critical. You need to know what you want the person to achieve at various intervals such as in 3, 6, 12 months.  At this stage, you are developing the position description in line with your business case – it’s about the role not the person.  Once you have hired your new appointee, your position description becomes a living document and you can modify the time-frames and readjust your results to ensure you get the best out of your new Team Member and to allow for any ‘teething issues’ with your new role.

Must-have’s – You are well advised to establish what key attributes are non-negotiable prior to recruitment. What are the values of your organisation and have ensured these are covered in your position description and in your interview questions.  Give thought to your ideal candidate – what attributes would make the best fit for the role, for your team?  Being aware of course of the dangers in recruiting like to like, diversity equals strength.

Do you hire for skill versus will? Knowing where you stand on this matter can be of key benefit when recruiting for newly created positions – particularly if you are the Line Manager.  As a Line Manager, it goes without saying that you need to coach and guide your new Team Member, but especially so in the case of a newly created role.  It’s new to you both, as well as new to your Team and your organisation, so make sure if you are hiring for will over skill that you have additional time to work with your new appointee.

Too often, Line Managers spend too little time with candidates before they are placed (at considerable expense).  New appointees are given significant responsibility to prove their worth based often with less than an hour face to face with his/her Line Manager, therefore placing significant trust into the interview process.  Given this it is hyper-critical to ensure interview questions are well designed and constructed. Hiring and Line Managers, interview panel members and anyone involved in the interview process needs to be well trained. Never so more as in the case of newly created roles.

Reference Checking – Just as important is securing valid referee reports. The questions you pose to a referee need to be well prepared and include questions to close any gaps or reservations you may have as well as confirming the information provided by the candidate.  Be mindful of hearing what you want to hear.

Be prepared to be flexible.  The candidate pool can be shallow, you are advised to not to immediately dismiss a candidate over minor shortfalls. Keep an open mind and be sure to duly consider potential candidates and their overall applications, don’t stick to your ‘ideal’ of a candidate, when the ‘ideal‘ candidate may not be available or perhaps may not even exist.

It goes without saying that a positive induction experience is essential when it comes to successful recruitment and is a proven asset when it comes to retention.  Increasingly organisations of all sizes are focussing more on ensuring they have strong induction programs, which is excellent and in the case of a new starter in a newly created role – essential.  There are virtually no parameters, gauges or paradigms to revert to when a new appointee takes on the responsibilities of a new role and that can make it extremely hard going for that person if they don’t have a clear understanding of the organisation as whole, what the organisational goal posts are, the organisational environment, where to find things and who to turn to in certain situations.

Having a strong onboarding program (3 to 6 to 12 months), is a proven means to ensure your new appointee can become a valuable Team Member in line with your expectations. Make sure your onboarding program includes regular meetings with the Line Manager to discuss progress to plan and a mentor/buddy system.

When you recruit for a new role, in effect you are recruiting blind, you are recruiting in the great unknown with an extreme amount of variables in play and knowing how to find the right person for your new role is today, arguably the greatest challenge of them all.


Alison Hucks

Senior Recruitment Specialist

Elite Executive