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Last year I read a great book called, "Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter." In the book, the author, Liz Wiseman talks about two dramatically different types of leaders; “The Multiplier,” and “The Diminisher.” Liz classified The Multiplier as a leader who, "uses their intelligence to magnify the smarts and capabilities of those around them." The Diminisher was "a leader who drained intelligence, energy, and capabilities from the people around them."
Liz notes a study of leaders who were multipliers to the companies they worked for and the people around them. She showed that with fewer resources, these "multiplier" leaders could get double the intelligence, productivity, and engagement from their team, whereas, the "diminisher" leaders cut their overall team intelligence in half, resulting in high turnover, lower productivity, and decreased engagement.
Now, you may be thinking, why are you starting an article on supervisor interview questions with quotes from a book? The simple reason is this - hiring supervisors will either make or break a team. A great supervisor has the potential to turn a team of average performers into an absolutely dominant one - but the opposite is also true. For this reason, it's important that you select the right candidate to lead each team.
If you consider the ramifications of the multiplier/ diminisher effect, it's easy to see why it would be vital to hire a leader who is classified as a multiplier. The question is how do you recognize these "multiplier" traits? What type of questions should you be asking in the interview process to identify them? And, how do you know that this person is the right fit for your team?
"Heads of," managers, and operations supervisor interview questions not only need to cover the metrics by which this new leader's performance will be measured but also need to focus on their capability as a leader. Questions should be rigorous and cover:
In Pillar's interview intelligence database, we have more than 1000 questions, specific to each role, that you can add to your interviews as prompts with just a couple of clicks. Questions like: "If your previous team and ICs (individual contributors) were asked about you, what would they say your greatest strengths and weaknesses are?" This type of question can give you insight into how the prospective manager leads a team and interacts with colleagues and customers alike.
Interview questions are like a blueprint. They should give you the information needed to make an informed decision on how an applicant thinks, solves problems, and give you insight into who is best suited for the role. Say for example that you're a SaaS startup launching a new product and hiring a marketing manager to oversee the rollout. You already have a content marketer on the team and an agency that handles all paid media on retainer. How would you create interview questions for a supervisor candidate that show they can succeed in the role?
A great place to start creating questions is the job description. A well-written job description will contain most of the key points you'll need to cover and can be used to create "supervisor interview questions and answer examples."
Now that you have a framework, use it to create semi-structured supervisor scenario questions. Questions like: "Tell me about the last time you launched a product to the market. If possible tell me about the product roadmap and be specific with timelines, KPIs (key performance indicators), milestones, events, and team dynamics."
This type of question gets the candidate to talk in detail about their experience and gives you a strong indication of their ability to lead, stay on target, and hit milestones on the product roadmap. Remember, an interview is not just about finding the right candidate—it's also about ensuring that they are the right fit for your team and culture. If you're talking to an applicant with incredible technical skills, but no leadership ability and that core element will comprise more than half of their job, then it'd be better to pass on the candidate than hire a destructive leader.
A few years ago, the startup I was working for was looking for a new Head of Sales. We interviewed a handful of great candidates but one of them happened to be close friends with the CEO. As you can imagine due to the relationship, this person was hired despite the fact that they had no past experience working as a leader in our type of SaaS product or with our customer base. They immediately started putting restrictions in place, changing sales procedures, and using different lead-generation methods that had previously helped us hit world-class growth numbers. Within 3 months our team was 40% short of our revenue goal. Within 6 months half of the original sales team had left, and by 9 months in the company was forced to RIF more than half the team as revenues were down more than 60%.
Hiring incredible leaders is pivotal to the success of a great company - especially one in growth mode. Never underestimate what a great leader can accomplish with an average team, or the destruction a poor leader can cause a great team. Ask yourself: Does this candidate have the skills, experience, and temperament to handle the role and the team we've built? Have I asked questions that will reveal their true personality, skills, and abilities? Are they a good fit for the team and culture of our company? Can they hit our goals and milestones with this person? Will they make us better or worse in the long run?
These are often hard questions to ask, but by taking an honest assessment of the applicant's skills, abilities, personality, and EQ/ IQ, you'll be able to make great hires. If you've noticed a high turnover rate in your company and would like to see how our interview intelligence software has helped our customers lower employee turnover by more than 50% in the last 12 months, reach out to someone on our team, we'd love to show you how you can see the same results.
There are quite a few types of interview questions, the most common types of interview questions are:
Situational interview questions focus on the candidate’s ability to handle a situation in the present moment. Questions like “How would you respond if an employee was not meeting deadlines?”
Behavioral interview questions are typically more open-ended and require candidates to draw from their past experiences to answer. An example of a behavioral supervisor interview question might be: “Describe a time when you had to provide feedback to an employee in a difficult situation. How did you deliver the news?"
Scenario-based interview questions involve hypothetical situations that the candidate must consider and respond to. For example, “How would you handle a situation where two of your employees have conflicting opinions on how to complete a task and nothing is getting done but you're under a tight deadline."
Performance-based interview questions are intended to assess the candidate's ability to complete certain tasks. For example, “Give us an example of a project that you managed from start to finish and how did you ensure its success?"
Case-based interview questions are used to evaluate a candidate's problem-solving abilities, and ability to think critically and come up with solutions to specific problems that your company or customers may be facing. An example of a case-based quality supervisor interview question might be: “Your team has been tasked with creating a new product from scratch, how would you go about the process ensuring that deadlines are met, quality standards are surpassed, and the expectations set by management are exceeded?"
Competency-based interview questions focus on the candidate's skills and abilities. An example of a competency-based interview question might be: “Describe a situation where you had to manage multiple projects at once all on tight deadlines - how did you handle it?"
Overall, the questions you ask during interviews will define the employee performance and engagement challenges you'll face in the future. Ensure that you're asking the right questions to get a comprehensive understanding of the applicant's abilities, attitude, and potential impact on your team. By creating a holistic assessment of the candidate's past experiences and behaviors, you can make great hiring decisions that will bring value to your organization.
If you're currently seeing gaps in your hiring process or experiencing high turnover, schedule a demo with someone from our team. Our platform was built to help you make better hires. Powered by Ai (artificial intelligence), Pillar allows you to automate many of the steps that waste hours of your day and helps you uncover candidate insights often missed by human eyes alone. Schedule a demo, today!