When it comes to building your team, perhaps no hire is more important than the one who is also ultimately responsible for building their own team. Making senior hires can be much more stressful than the average hire, as more is at stake and the evaluation process is longer and more comprehensive. Further, you're assessing this person not just on their own abilities within their field, but their ability to build and retain a team. As you start assessing team leads for positions demanding more varied experience, keep the following interview questions and assessment considerations in mind.
Pre-Sourcing Pow Wow
A great way to start making this hire, even before you start sourcing, is to consider the qualities of the previous individual in this role. What did they do well, or more importantly, not so well? Why are they no longer in the role, and how does that relate to the type of person who can last longer than they did? Sync up with their team, who will presumably be more candid in light of their boss' departure, and discuss what could have went better. The answers to these questions are great fodder not just for sourcing, but in terms of areas to push on during interviews.
Asking the Right Questions
Once you've delineated the must-haves, nice-to-haves, and areas in which you want the new hiring manager to be similar, or not, to the previous one, you can begin some more personal and direct assessment. When it comes to interviewing this person, you may want to leave some of the technical assessment to members of the team more versed in their field. However, there's no shortage of questions you can ask them to determine what they'll be like at the helm of a team, and how their potential hiring decisions can affect your company moving forward. For example:
What have been the most important qualities of successful team members under you in the past?
This one is great because it allows you to learn several different things about your candidate. In addition to hearing of their successes, you'll get a sense of the values they find important in their team, and you can measure that with what's worked at your company in the past. Also, this will provide insight on what they'll look for in future hires, which has implications for how the culture of the company will progress as a result of their team growing.
Tell me about a project you saw through from inception to completion.
This one may seem obvious, but hey, the classics never go out of style. From this question, you can learn about their process of ideation, delegation, checking in on team members, and jumping in to help when necessary. Ask them follow up questions about specific snags in the process and how they got around them, and then finish by asking them to identify the specific reasons why the project was able to be wrapped up successfully.
Pitch me on joining your team.
Since this person will be expected to do some recruiting themselves, they'd better be able to paint a compelling argument about why prospective talent ought to join their team. From an auxiliary assessment perspective, you'll get a sense of what the candidate truly finds exciting about their own role, and may receive a much more candid and meaningful response than you would for the question "Why do you want to work here?"
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