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Free Man Sitting With Laptop Computer on Desk and Lamp Stock Photo

Through the years I have witnessed many unsuccessful management promotions and equally bad managerial hires.  Often, the outcome would have been obvious if the employer had taken some time to ask a few basic questions during the screening process:

  1. What is your personal definition of management?
  2. Why do you want to manage other people?
  3. Have you ever been in a management or supervisory position before this one? If yes, how did that go?  If not, why not?
  4. If I polled previous co-workers about your management potential (and or impact), what would they say and why would they say it?
  5. If I asked people who know you well personally whether a management position suits your personality, what would they say and why would they say it?
  6. Do you consider yourself an empathetic person? Please provide an explanation either way.
  7. Do you consider yourself a positive person? Please provide an explanation either way.
  8. Does spending time in groups with other people sap your energy or give you energy? Please explain?
  9. Who have been your management role models? What were the biggest lessons you took away from them?
  10. Have you ever worked for a poor or bad manager? If yes, please explain why and the impact this had on you?
  11. How would you describe your communication style? What would those who know you the best say?
  12. What is (or would be) your approach to motivating other people? Is this only theoretical or have you applied this thinking in other situations (professionally or personally)?  If you have applied your ideas previously, how did it work, and please provide concrete examples?
  13. What is your approach to conflict management? Walk me through three specific examples where you have dealt with conflict successfully?
  14. How do you handle it when other co-workers or colleagues make a mistake? How do you respond when you make a mistake?
  15. How do you handle the pressures of having too much to do and not enough time to do it in?
  16. What is your personal approach to time management and planning your work?
  17. In what type of work environment do you thrive? When have you struggled with your work responsibilities? Why?
  18. Please provide a definition of what the word “accountability” means to you? How have you applied this to your career to date?
  19. Please provide a definition of what “professionalism” means to you? How have you applied this to your career to date?
  20. How would you approach the first two weeks in your role? How about the first 90 days?
  21. How much professional reading do you do outside of work? Please share something you’ve learned recently.
  22. When we look back on the management legacy you’ve had in this and potentially other management roles years from now, what do you want to be saying? What do you want others to say about you?

Hiring management talent is both a science and an art.  Take your time to do it right.  Engage in multiple conversations with the person.  Ask a lot of questions.  Have them meet with the people they will be managing and colleagues they will be working with.  If they are moving into the role of supervising their peers, ask for feedback from their co-workers. Make sure your existing top managers spend some time with them.  Check their references carefully.  I also encourage you to have them take a personality profiling tool (e.g., MBTI, DISC, PI, etc.) and the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment.  If you do the proper work upfront and practice deliberate discernment, your hit rate will improve dramatically.  To scale a business, you need to not only have individuals who do their technical work well, but you also need individuals who can step up and lead groups of people doing technical, administrative, and sales work.  The skills sets are different and often not transferable.  Asking the right questions WILL yield better results.