Why is it so difficult to hire your replacement?

Many of us know the situation by now: you’ve been hired by a new company in a more senior role with better pay but you’ve been asked to fill your current role with a new hire before you leave. Seeing as you’re on good terms with your firm, you are happy to take on one last role as the hiring manager for a new job. After all, you know the position backwards and forwards, inside and out: who better to discern who the qualified candidates are than you? But soon you find yourself underneath a pile of CVs of candidates who just don’t quite fit the role and you’re running out of time before your new gig starts. So what is it about this process that makes it so difficult?

The Weird World of CVs Is Slowing You Down

 For every candidate you review, it seems like there is a new CV template they’re using, mixing up the order of their qualifications and experiences, highlighting their achievements in a thousand different ways, and some using terrifically unreadable fonts. The lack of uniformity makes it difficult to feel that you’re making an informed decision about candidates and your judgments about CV formatting and style might be influencing your decisions. But recruiters are fluent in the language of the CV, they know how to spot the right experience and qualifications in a snap, even on some of the most dense and difficult ones. And getting through the initial CV pile is half the battle! 

You’ve Got Too Much Wrapping Up To Do

Leaving a job is arguably just as difficult, if not more so, than starting a new one. You’ve got good-byes to say, documents to file, processes to train existing colleagues in, overviews of current progress of project, and then exit interviews on top of all that. Finding your replacement should be one less thing on your mind and handing it off to someone else will be a welcome check off your To-Do list.

 Looking For Replica Instead of a Replacement

It is not uncommon for hiring managers to seek out and prefer candidates with whom they share common traits, backgrounds, and interests, even over candidates who are perfectly qualified to do the job. When a parade of candidates comes through your inbox and you don’t find yourself reflected back, it can translate into overlooking strong candidates for the role whose path toward the job might be different from what your own was, but is no less or more valuable to the job. A recruiter can see the role more objectively and get through this process without being bogged down by seeking out his or her or own mini-me.

It Feels Like Your Legacy Is At Stake

You’ve put a huge amount of work into making your company grow and thrive, creating processes and programs that have improved the workplace and garnered you the appreciation of your colleagues and superiors. Leaving that role behind to someone with whom you’ve only spent a few hours interviewing feels like a huge gamble. What if they don’t adopt your protocols? What if they change the systems you’ve put in place and they fail? What if people forget my contribution here? We spend a huge portion of our waking hours at our jobs, it is understandable that we have difficulty letting go of these roles, which makes it advisable to have a recruiter or other human resources professional fill the role so that you can bid farewell with less fear. They might not find the perfect match straight away, but they will find a match in whom they can see the most potential to grow into the role as you once did, making it their own as you make your next big career move.
Andy Selway MCIPD, Specialist HR Recruiter and Founder, Selway Search HR. Founder of Corporate & Cocktails HR Events.