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Great managers are the bond that holds world-class teams together. They are the leaders that inspire our teams to achieve more than they thought possible and inspire the strategic thinkers that help organizations continue to grow even when challenges arise.
Great managers also help your company build capable & diverse teams and retain your top talent, which will not only save your company money in the long run but also make it much easier to attract new talent as well.
They are the multipliers and coaches that help individuals and teams reach their full potential.
So how do you find, identify, and interview great managers?
Start by meeting with your team and assembling an ideal candidate profile. Once you’ve identified the traits necessary to be successful in the role, now begin the search for candidates.
LinkedIn can be a great tool for finding potential managers to interview. Having your team post open roles, sift through their connections and search for keywords related to the role, title, and experience you're looking for can yield great initial results.
You can also use LinkedIn's advanced search features to narrow down your results by location, industry, company size, and title.
We've found through data and experience that a great hire starts long before the phone screening. It starts with your team and needs. By taking the time to understand what your team is looking for you can identify the necessary skills, talents, and experience the person must have to succeed in the role.
Once you have a good understanding of what you're looking for, it's much easier to find the right manager that will fit in well with your team.
From there, the interview process is key to making sure you find the right person for the job. We recommend using a list of semi-structured behavioral and technical questions that will allow each candidate to showcase their skills and experience while setting a baseline for each interview. This baseline will be how you measure each candidate by what they bring to the team, eliminating personal bias.Before you start the process, here’s a checklist of things to help you make the most of your interviews.
We recommend a six-step interview process:
1.) Phone Screening
2.) First Interview
3.) Technical Assessment
4.) Team Panel Interview
5.) Final Stage Interview
6.) Reference Checks
To learn more about why this process works, check out our Ebook, A Sales-Leader’s Guide to Hiring.
In preparation for the interview, you’ll want to assemble a list of semi-structured questions to ask each candidate. Interview questions for a manager candidate fall into four primary categories.
Behavioral questions often refer to a candidate's soft skills, like how they handle people. Questions like, "Tell me about a time that your direct report didn't hit quota, how did you handle it?" are meant to understand how a candidate deals with difficult conversations and people.
A great leadership scenario question to ask a candidate while assessing their capabilities is, "Describe a time when you had to lead a team through a difficult situation. How did you navigate the situation, team concerns, and executive expectations to achieve the desired end goal?"
Past-success questions are often where a candidate gets to brag on themselves a bit. However, this is also where egos come into play. If you're going to refer to these while verifying references, later on, make sure they provide data in metric and KPI formats so you can check their results.
Trust but verify.
Technical questions are much easier. For a manager candidate, you might want to focus on the coding languages they're familiar with, and project management experience, or ask them questions about how they prioritize tasks, handle risks and issues, create project schedules, and monitor progress.
You can also ask them about their experience leading remote teams and how they manage to build a company culture and team cohesiveness at distance. These are key indicators of a team's success in the post-Covid world we live in.
You'll want to make sure that the questions you ask are open-ended, which allows the candidates to provide detailed responses that will give you a better understanding of their abilities.
Interview Intelligence software can help you do this, turning the interview into an unbiased, data-driven, repeatable process that helps your team make equitable hiring decisions.
Here are a couple of tough interview questions for managers. These questions are meant to assess a candidate's technical abilities, as well as their ability to lead and motivate a team.
"Describe a time when you had to lead a team through a difficult situation. How did you navigate the situation, team concerns, and executive expectations to achieve the end goal?"
Tell us about a recent employee who left your team. Why did they leave?"
"What are the three most important qualities that a manager needs to be successful?" Tell me about a time you showed one of these qualities under pressure."
"How do you prioritize people and tasks when leading a team?"
"Tell me about your experience with remote team management. How do you keep a remote team cohesive and motivated?"
"Describe a time when you had to give critical feedback to a direct report. How did you deliver the feedback and tell me about their response."
How a manager candidate answers these and other pressing questions will tell you a lot about their level of empathy and leadership style.
As you interview senior managers and executives, you'll want to go a level deeper. Senior manager interview questions and answers are important for so many reasons, but chief among them is that these people will be a public representation of the brand. How they treat employees, communicate overall vision, strategy, and plan for changing economic conditions all affect the company as a whole.
Interviews for managers are supposed to be challenging. If hired, these candidates will lead the future of your organization, so they need to be thoroughly vetted. Just make sure that you're using an unbiased process to assess each candidate. With the help of technology, like Interview Intelligence software, you can do just that.
A manager should take a leadership role with their team, providing guidance and support while also delegating tasks and giving employees the space to grow. A good manager will create an environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks, trying new things, and making mistakes. This type of positive reinforcement will lead to a more engaged and productive team.
So how do you identify whether or not the candidate you're interviewing will be a good manager?
Here are the top 10 questions to ask a manager in an interview.
1.) Describe the last time you had to fire an employee. Tell me about how you did it.
2.) How have you led positive change in an organization? Describe how you did it. What would you do if an employee came to you with a personal problem?
3.) How do you deal with difficult employees? Can you give me an example?
4.) What is your experience with coaching and developing employees?
5.) Describe a time when you had to make a tough call that affected others on your team. How did you navigate those conversations?
6.) Tell me about a time when you made a mistake that had repercussions across a team or organization. How did you handle it?
7.) When was the last time you initiated an organization-wide change? Tell me about how it went. What's your management style?
8.) How do you handle conflict within a team? Can you give me an example of a time when you had to de-escalate a situation?
9.) What are the most important qualities of a good manager? Describe a time when you showed one of these qualities under pressure.
10.) If asked, what would former employees say about you?
These are all tough interview questions for managers. They will give you insight into how the candidate operates under pressure, how they handle difficult conversations, and what their management style is like. With this information, you can decide if the candidate is a good fit for your organization.
Remember, the goal of an interview is to get to know the candidate on a personal level, as well as assess their technical abilities.
An interview intelligence software can also help you identify top candidates by tracking their performance across multiple interviews. This will give you the data you need to make great hiring decisions.
While the questions above will give you a good idea of how the candidate operates under pressure, impacts the team, and handles strategic and organizational change, there are other questions you can ask to get to know them on a more personal level.
This article will give you tips from the world’s best interviewers. It’ll show you how interviewers like Oprah and Barbara Walters build carefully constructed interview questions to uncover an interviewee’s best (and worst) traits. Here are some unique interview questions for managers:
1.) What motivates you every day?
2.) What are your values do you think will make you a great fit for our organization?
3.) What do you like to do in your free time?
4.) What's your favorite hobby and why?
5.) What is your favorite book or article that you've read recently?
6.) What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
While these last 6 aren't tough interview questions, they provide great opportunities to build rapport with a candidate, hear how they talk about the things they love, and give you a window into their world. These things can all indicate whether they'd be a good fit for your team or not.
There are also questions you should never ask in an interview: By asking tough questions, you can get a better sense of how the candidate operates under pressure, what their management style is like, and how they handle difficult conversations. With this information, you can decide if the candidate is a good fit for your organization.
Pillar's Interview intelligence software can help you make hiring decisions on objective reality rather than subjective opinions. Interview effectively, efficiently, and equitably to find the best people for your team. Schedule a demo today.