Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

What to Ask During an Interview (part 5 of 5)


Interviewing someone to fill a vacant position can be daunting for a manager.  Many managers just don’t know what to ask or why to ask it.  In our book, “The Manager’s Toolbox,” we have 67 questions that can guide a manager through the interview process.

A “Manager from the Heart” hires to the position, while keeping the “bigger picture” in mind.  I   look for someone who will be compatible to working in an “Open Heaven” environment.  I want someone who is teachable.  I can do almost anything with someone who is teachable.

First of all, I am the one who interviews the individual, not someone from personnel.  It’s important I chose my staff and not someone who will never see them again and has no idea what I want in my staff.

For interviewing managers:

55.   Describe your management style.

Many managers aren’t aware they have a style – they just do what they do.  Depending on how involved the answer is tells me how aware this individual is about what they do.  Every good manager has given this some thought, has tested different styles, and has worked on improving his or her style.   A good manager is constantly “honing” his or her craft.

56.   Under what circumstances would you be willing to change your management style?

I’m looking for someone who is willing to try new things in an effort to improve themselves.  I am not looking for someone who is entrenched and fears change.

57.  What is your greatest satisfaction as a manager?

Is this individual bottom-line oriented or people oriented?  Of course the “bottom-line” is important, but it’s your greatest asset (your people) that makes your bottom-line what it is.

I’m looking for someone whose focus is on his or her people.

58.  What is your greatest frustration as a manager?

If this person’s greatest satisfaction as manager is his or her people, then I will expect this will also be their greatest frustration as well.

If this person is bottom-line oriented, then depending how much frustration they display toward their people will tell you how “people oriented” they are.   A manager who can only complain about staff has no people skills, and thus, no ability to manage people.

59.  How do you typically resolve disputes between others?

Again, does this individual have people skills?  Do they actually resolve disputes or do they just order those involved to stop?  Ordering to stop only makes the problem worse by sending it underground where it will fester and eventually affect others.

60.  How many employees have you fired?

I prefer someone who has experienced the firing process.  If an individual has been a manager for a while and has not fired anyone – I want to know why.  Does this individual fear confrontation?

On the other hand, if an individual has fired an inordinate amount of people, I also want to know why.  Either this person is poor at hiring qualified individuals or they are poor at guiding, mentoring, and managing.

61.  How does firing someone make you feel?

I want someone who doesn’t enjoy firing someone, can empathize with the individual, but also realizes it’s the best thing for him, the business, and the person being fired.

62.  How many other jobs are you applying for?

This tells me how serious this individual is, who and what they think they are suited for, and their level of confidence.  If they are applying for other positions, I will be concerned with why they think they will be satisfied with this particular position with us.

63.  If you were hiring a person for this position, what’s the main question you would ask?

This gives me an idea how this individual thinks of their feet, how they view this position, and their style of managing.

64.  What has frustrated you about upper management?

This tells me what problems this person has had with upper management.  I can also get an idea if this person is an innovative thinker who has been stifled or if they are just defiant.

65.   Do you know anyone employed by us?

Some companies have a policy against family members being employed at the same facility.  Besides this, I can tell something about the individual by who he or she associates with.

66.   What do you need to work on professionally?

Now is an opportunity for this individual to get real and impress me.  If they are honest, they will come up with at least a few things.  If they say, “nothing,” or are superficial, they damage their credibility with me.

If they are real, speak openly, and have some good points,  they greatly enhance their credibility with me.  I can’t work with someone who is perfect, but I will often be willing to go the distance with someone who is authentic.

67.  What makes you the best person for this job?

Again, this question gives this individual the opportunity to get real.  Plus, I am sometimes surprised with insight, which I hadn’t thought of before.

–  excerpt from “The Manager’s Toolbox”

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June 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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