Hiring And Interview Tips For Managers

6 Hiring And Interview Tips For Managers

Hiring. It’s one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, duties as a manager. I have had the good will to have hired over fifty people between my current role at Justworks — and previously at Groupon — over the last few years. With that kind of volume, I have learned a number of important lessons on what attributes to look for and what questions to ask in order to determine if a candidate can be the right one for you and your organization.

Must-Have Attributes

  • Raw Intelligence: This is not only demonstrated by high GPAs or great test scores, although those are all great signs. Does the candidate understand your business? When you ask detailed questions about your business, is it clear that the interviewee has done his or her diligence? Are insightful questions asked about the future of the business? I also like to ask a brain teaser or two that tests analytical ability. No need to have a PhD in Math, but having a solid analytical foundation is helpful for almost all roles.
  • Hard Work: While this might be an obvious and a no-brainer, it is extremely hard to determine this in an interview. Asking a candidate if they are a hard worker will surely get the answer you want to hear, yet you are better off wasting your time watching paint dry than asking that question. It’s better to ask about projects worked on that the candidate is extremely proud of and what it took to get it across the finish line. In those descriptions, it is easy if passion comes out while the candidate is describing the project.
  • Proactive Approach: This is probably my favorite — especially in high-growth environments. If someone always needs to be told what to do, I would prefer that they not work on my team. Of course, structure and goals are imperative, but once given, the person needs to run with it. Ideally this would include proposing new systems that make current processes more efficient or bringing an additional client on board that was not expected.

My Go-To Questions

  • What are you most proud of professionally and why? I love this question not only because you gain insight into what the candidate is passionate about, but also, you can align their answer to the requirements with the role being interviewed for. For example, if you’re interviewing someone with a financial background for a sales role and a candidate tells you about an excel model that was built, he or she is probably not the one. However, if the candidate talks about a presentation they did and how they convinced their broader team to buy-in to the idea, then you have a solid candidate.
  • Give me an example of a time when you failed, what you learned, and how that shapes your thinking. We all make mistakes and it’s important to acknowledge them and try to learn from them. This question also shows how self-aware the candidate is.  Self-awareness is huge in my opinion because people who are self-aware and more open to feedback have a lot more potential to grow.
  • What gets you excited to come to work and what are you passionate about? I love this question because it can really bring out the physical cues in candidates. Body language is extremely important and the combination of the answer and the way the question is answered is a great combination to tell if you are being bs’d or the candidate truly wants to come work in your organization. 

It’s also important to note that mistakes will be made – as much as you try to weed out the bad ones, it’s inevitable that you hire somebody that won’t work out. What do you do in this situation? I’ll leave you with this advice: try to make sure that you identify this as quickly as possible. Ask any good manager – it’s extremely difficult to change people so it’s better to make the tough decision sooner rather than later.

Good luck.

Justworks frees entrepreneurs to focus on their business and their team. Its simple platform automates HR, payments, benefits, and government paperwork while saving companies up to 30% on healthcare. Headquartered in New York City, Justworks is funded by Bain Capital Ventures, Thrive Capital and Index Ventures. Learn more at Justworks.com.

This is a guest post reprinted with permission from our friends at Justworks, a simple platform that automates HR, payments and benefits.

Robert Lopez

Robert is the Senior Vice President at Justworks. Prior to joining Justworks, he was in charge of Sales and Business Development for Groupon in Latin America and then served as the GM and Managing Director of Colombia, Peru and Panama.