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Let's create a hypothetical scenario. You're a startup CEO with a core team. You've just raised a Series A, and to beat competitors to market you need to scale rapidly. This means you're going to need to bring on talent quickly - but you're already wearing too many hats and have no bandwidth to shift focus from strategy and execution to hiring operations. So you've decided to hire a manager, someone who can take up the reins of recruiting and onboarding employees; all while supporting the growth of your company.
As the CEO or founder of a startup, attracting top talent for your fast-paced environment is crucial. You need a high-impact leader with strong managerial skills to help shape your team. However, when it comes to interviewing candidates for a hiring manager or head of HR role, many founders are lacking in frameworks and structures to help them make great hires. That's why we've compiled a list of sample interview questions for hiring managers, based on our experience in building and scaling startups. These interview questions for hiring managers will help you narrow your candidate pool to the right fit for you and your team.
Sample Interview Questions and Answers:
1. Tell me about your experience running hiring operations for a fast-moving startup.
I have extensive experience working with startups, particularly in the tech industry. In my previous role at XYZ startup, I was responsible for all recruitment and onboarding processes. I worked closely with the CEO and core team to develop a hiring strategy that aligned with company goals and culture. Through effective sourcing strategies and streamlined interview processes, we were able to rapidly scale the team from 10 to 50 within a year...
When hiring for a startup, one of the most important factors is finding someone who's "already been there." Kyle Lacy, current CMO of Jellyfish used to say, "If you want someone who can do the job well, hire someone who's already done it."
2. Can you tell me about the systems and frameworks you used to build a great team?
In my experience, having a structured hiring process is key to building a great team. I have implemented various tools and systems such as applicant tracking software, interview intelligence software, personality assessments, and performance-based interviews to ensure we are bringing in the right people for our company culture and values. Additionally, I prioritize communication and collaboration with other team members to ensure alignment on goals and expectations for new hires...
Building the systems and frameworks to scale rapidly will be a vital focus of this person's role, so they must show past performance in this area. Otherwise, they'll only be able to hire at their own personal capacity which can be easily outpaced by company growth.
3. How do you handle a difficult conversation with an underperforming employee?
I believe in open and honest communication with employees. If I notice that someone is not meeting expectations, I will schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss their performance. During this conversation, I aim to understand any challenges they may be facing and work together to find a solution. I also make sure to provide constructive feedback and set clear goals for improvement. If necessary, I will involve the appropriate stakeholders in the conversation to ensure transparency and accountability...
As a hiring manager, it's important to not only bring in top talent but also maintain that talent through effective management and support. A candidate who shows an understanding of how to handle difficult situations with employees is a valuable asset for any growing company.
If interview questions for hiring managers like the ones we've listed would be helpful to chat with someone from our team to see our questions library. At Pillar, we've built a database of interview questions to ask candidates to help you find the right candidate for your team. Each question can be added to our interview intelligence software with a couple of clicks to make your interview go smoothly. Whether it's a 30-minute interview with a hiring manager candidate or you'd like to prepare for a first-time manager interview with questions and answers, we have a list of more than 1000 questions to fit your needs.
Effective interview questions for hiring managers look a bit different than those being asked of individual contributors (ICs). First and foremost this person will be managing other people, but also because they should be setting the bar for quality hires.
In addition to asking about their past experience and systems/frameworks used, here are a few more hiring manager interview questions to help you dive deeper into a candidate's potential impact on your team:
- How do you approach creating and maintaining company culture through the hiring process?
- Can you walk me through an example of how you've helped a previous company improve hiring processes? What was the end result?
- In the past, how have you managed team performance with a fully remote workforce? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult hiring decision. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
- How do you prioritize diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices? Can you share any strategies or initiatives you have implemented in the past?
Remember, the right candidate for your team will not only have the necessary skills and experience but also align with your company's culture and values. Use these interview questions for hiring managers to ask deeper questions and find the right fit for your team's leadership. Don't forget the pivotal role that this person will play- so hiring them will set the tone for future hires and the overall success of your team.
Let's shift the conversation to the types of interview questions to ask candidates. There are in fact several types of interview questions and each performs a different function when identifying the right person for your company. Here are a few examples of different types of interview questions and when to use them:
1. Behavioral Interview Questions: These questions focus on past behavior to predict future performance. They are typically used to assess soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork.
2. Technical/Functional Interview Questions: These questions assess a candidate's knowledge and expertise in a specific area of their job function. They can be used to evaluate hard skills such as coding, data analysis, or project management.
3. Strategic Interview Questions: These questions aim to understand a candidate's thought process and approach to problem-solving. They are useful in assessing a candidate's critical thinking abilities and their fit for leadership roles.
4. Situational Interview Questions: These questions present hypothetical scenarios and ask candidates to explain how they would handle the situation. They are useful in assessing a candidate's decision-making skills and ability to think on their feet.
Here's an example of a behavioral interview question to ask candidates: "Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult team member? How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?" This question will help you assess their behavior when faced with a situation they may experience in the role you're hiring them to perform.
Often behavioral interview questions are followed by strategic interview questions. The reason for this is once a problem is identified, what systems and processes can the candidate build to create an ongoing solution to that problem?
An example of strategic interview questions to ask candidates would be: "How have you implemented continuous improvement processes in previous roles? What was the impact on the team and company?" These types of questions will help you understand a candidate's approach to creating long-term solutions and how they measure success.
It's important to use a combination of different types of interview questions to get a well-rounded understanding of a candidate's skills, experience, and fit for your team. Remember to also tailor your questions to the specific role and company culture, as well as actively listen to the candidate's responses and ask follow-up questions to gain more insight. This will help you make a well-informed hiring decision and bring in top talent that will contribute positively to your team's success. Overall, by asking thoughtful and relevant interview questions, you will be able to find the best fit for your team and set them up for success. So don't underestimate the power of a well-designed interview process!
In conclusion, interviewing is more than just a formality. It's a crucial process to ensure you're bringing in the best talent for your team. Remember, the right questions can be the difference between finding a good fit and an exceptional one.
If you're currently struggling to find the best fit for your open roles, give Pillar's interview intelligence a try to see how our solution can help you make better hires for less. Book your demo today to see how it works.