Five Tips for Hiring Your Next HR Leader

posted on February 16th 2017 in Hiring

When I first launched uniquelyHR, I could not have imagined the success that we’ve had so far. I’m truly grateful for the rapid growth of the business, and for the team that sustains us. Credit goes to my network of friends and colleagues for helping me kick-start the company by hiring HR leaders that I’m proud to work with. My team of senior HR professionals are individuals that I feel lucky to work with every day.

uniquelyHR has experienced the old adage about not knowing where a path will lead yet being open to trying it out. One example was when clients started asking us to help them identify and hire senior HR leaders for full-time roles, in addition to consulting help.

Placing full time HR professionals was not originally part of my business plan. As clients continued to make this request, I realized it was a natural extension of our work in the HR space. And, HR consulting stayed true to my original vision of connecting strong HR professionals with mission driven companies who value their talent.

I wanted to share some tips and learnings based on my own experience hiring HR leaders. While these qualities are important for all leadership roles, I find they’re especially critical when hiring an HR leader who’s going to role model your principles and values for the organization.

Hire for influence.

What style and personality will best influence the leadership team and the company? HR often needs to influence in ambiguous situations where it’s not always clear who has authority.

Diversity of thought.

One trap to avoid is “just like me” by testing your unconscious biases and choosing a diverse set of interviewers. An HR leader should represent all employees, be open minded, and willing to champion new ideas.

Look for a cultural ambassador.

I believe culture is owned and role modeled by all leaders versus just being owned by HR. With that said, can your HR leader be the culture conscience by modeling the right behaviors, flagging inconsistencies, and helping your culture evolve and scale as you grow?

Make the company better.

This isn’t about years of experience, but adding intangible value to the overall organization. HR should be a strategist and thought leader. Like all good leaders, can they juggle long term thinking and short term doing?

Be deliberate about skills for the long term.

For example, are you anticipating rapid growth over the next few years? If so, it’s important that the HR leader can build a staffing team and figure out things like onboarding, performance management, and compensation planning.

All HR roles are not created equal, and neither are all HR professionals.

Hiring – especially senior leaders – can be an iterative process. A good recruiter will help you scope and define the role before bringing candidates in. With that said, if you can remember just one thing, I’d ask you to remember the word “clarity.” Being clear serves you well not only when hiring HR and other senior leaders, but in running your organization.

If you’re looking for a contract or full-time HR leader or need to fill other senior HR roles, contact us for more information.

Mikaela Kiner

Mikaela is a native Seattleite who’s spent the last fifteen years in HR leadership roles at iconic Northwest companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redfin. She has an MS in HR Management with a certificate in Organizational Development and is an ICF credentialed coach. Mikaela delivers results by building trust and engaging her clients in creative problem solving. Clients appreciate her strategic thinking and hands on execution.