A manager has the power to make or break the employee experience, so organizations take this hiring decision seriously.
If you're finding yourself in a position to hire a manager, we understand the pressure you are facing.
The role of a manager is unique and can be challenging for recruiters to fill. Moreover, replacing a bad hire will incur a large financial and moral toll on a team. Of course, you want to avoid this at all costs.
In short, proceeding with care and attention is crucial when recruiting people in management positions. Hiring the right person has important implications for the growth and success of your business. This is particularly true for young growing companies.
That said, the expectations of management vary from business to business.
Some companies need managers to be a conductor of sorts, responsible for overseeing high-level tasks, for example, managing budgets, establishing success metrics, planning growth strategies, and training employees. Other businesses, however, expect managers to roll up their sleeves and do the work. Not only be the supervisors.
One overarching expectation of ALL managers is to have a well-rounded set of "soft skills." In short, to be a respected leader and someone who pushes and inspires a team into production and action.
But how can recruiters properly assess these intangible soft skills?
It's important to mention: hard skills are essential, too. When hiring a manager, you want candidates with a balance of hard and soft skills.
Hard skills refer to particular learnt knowledge and expertise. Normally acquired through hands-on experience, training, and education.
Determining whether a candidate's hard skill levels are sufficient is simple—ask them about their proficiency and give them a test. You will quickly find out if they are honest about their level of skill.
What can be much more challenging to test in an interview are those elusive soft skills.
For example, measuring how good a candidate is at conflict resolution, critical thinking, leadership, and some of these other essential qualities of excellent management:
This is when interview questions come into play. Key questions must be designed to carefully assess the potential of each candidate in terms of these "invisible" interpersonal skills.
What to look for: Every question in a job interview is an opportunity to assess communication skills. Pay attention to how they speak--can they clearly articulate their ideas with few words. Or do they struggle to get their point across, frequently pausing with too many “uhs” and “likes.” That said, look for signs that this person can verbalize a negative piece of information in a non-confrontational and tactful way.
What to look for: Look for answers that prove the candidate's practical knowledge of motivational techniques. Look for evidence that they have implemented these strategies in real life. Most importantly, ask about the tangible results. Also, be mindful of the candidate's tone. Do they express excitement, enthusiasm, and passion in regards to leadership? Those who genuinely want to be in a leadership role will be eager to discuss their opinions on the topic.
What to look for: Ask these questions to test a candidate’s ability to problem-solve under pressure and with limited information. Look for answers that prove the candidate’s ability to make decisions without much personal bias. Pay attention to how they factored in the knowledge that was available to them at the time. Prime candidates should demonstrate an ability to discern when to rely on intuition versus quantitative data to make decision.
What to look for: Ask these questions to assess how good someone is at controlling their knee-jerk emotional responses. Can they make honest self-assessment? Moreover, these questions will show their capacity to practice empathy and compassion for others. Look for answers that show the candidate is sincere and pensive about their past failures and weaknesses. Candidates that are unable to think about their shortcomings or have a tendency to blame others for failure may not be the best fit for a management role.
What to look for: A significant part of a manager's job is dealing with changes and unexpected events. Look for answers that prove experience with sudden events. More importantly, look for answers that show a positive and open-minded attitude. Candidates who express negative feelings in the face of unexpected change—like defeat, skepticism, frustration— may not be a good fit for management.
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