This blog shares thoughts related to effectively recruiting for the auditor position. One suggestion may surprise you.
Nearly 100% of the people I train as auditors were not hired specifically to be auditors. Instead, auditing is something extra that they were asked to do, in addition to their regular job. This situation creates three problems for the audit program manager:
- You have difficulty getting enough people to perform the audits.
- Most auditors will come from your department, so who is going to audit you?
- Auditors have little or no motivation to develop their auditing skills.
Stop begging for “volunteers” from other departments and start recruiting.
When I am recruiting someone to audit, I always get asked two questions:
- Who/What will I be auditing?
- What will I have to do?
You need to motivate people to become auditors because it requires extra work. The answer to #2 should be specific. I recommend creating a “sell sheet” that explains the process of performing an audit. I also like to develop educational sell sheets. Therefore, I recommend adopting the flow chart in ISO 19011:2011 (Figure 2 on page 15). I would add time estimates for each step of the process (6.2 – 6.7). This will serve as a training tool for future auditors and will eliminate the fear of an unknown time commitment for your potential recruit.
In order to answer #1, I recommend you assign the recruit processes that are upstream and downstream. I have recommended this concept in previous postings, but essentially you are assigning the person to audits of internal suppliers and internal customers. By doing this, utilizing the process approach will be more natural to the auditor and they will have a vested interest in doing a thorough audit. This also creates a situation where the auditor is typically assigned to at least two process audits per year.
The next question is one that your potential recruit will never ask, but they are always thinking…
Why should I become an auditor?
The biggest reason why you want to be an auditor is that it will make you more valuable to the company.
Auditors are required to interview department managers and ask tough questions. This gives the auditor a better understanding of the organization as a whole, and it gives them insight into how other managers work. This insight is pure gold.
If you want to be effective and get promoted, you need to demonstrate value to your boss and top management. If you don’t understand what other departments need, how can you help them? No manager will promote a selfish, power-hungry hog. They promote team players that make others better. Auditing gives you the insight necessary to understand how you can do that.
Auditing other departments will also give you insider information as to where new job openings will be. Sometimes you can’t wait for your boss to get promoted. In that case, you might want to know more about other departments in your company.
Each corporate culture is different, but the audit program manager needs to “sell” the recruit on volunteering to be an auditor.
Where to find recruits
Due to the cross-functional nature of auditing, I have found that my own personal experience working in multiple departments was invaluable. I have a better understanding of how a department functions than other auditors because I have worked in that department at another company. Operations, engineering and research experience are extremely valuable for auditing, but I believe the experience that transfers best to auditing is any position where you are addressing customer complaints and returns—such as technical support or service.
If your company is large enough to hire full-time auditors, I recommend searching for potential auditors at your suppliers and their competitors. These people will bring unique knowledge that is critical to a successful supplier selection process, and these individuals will increase the diversity in your company—instead of duplicating knowledge and expertise.