Discovering Management Material

By Troy Van Hauen, Accelerated Performance Technicians

Recently, a customer challenged me to develop a “quick hit” set of interview questions his hiring manager could use in the field. His core quest—to discover whether or not the applicant would be competent. The best way to kick off this journey is to establish the characteristics necessary to fulfill the job, then formulate questions around them.

A manager needs to be skilled at getting critical tasks done and making things work. They are required to be resourceful, organized and punctual. 

  • Illustrate a situation when you had to procure internal and external resources to achieve an important team objective. 
  • Give me an example when you achieved a goal despite your task being too big for your time frame or too short, so it limited your resources.
  • Tell me the most efficient process you’ve designed that had the greatest impact on the business.

A person in this position must be able to adapt to fluctuating priorities while still accomplishing the must-dos. 

  • When did your priorities not match the priorities of a significant shareholder? How did you handle that situation? 
  • How do you keep your team up to date and focused while living in a rapidly shifting priority environment? 
  • What’s the quickest decision you’ve made that has had the most impact on a business?

Officials in a company need to be efficient at assembling resources such as time, people, material and money. They must be able to work on multiple tasks at once without losing track; in other words, they should be able to foresee and plan around obstacles. 

  • Tell me about the most successful time you had to continue to change or adjust your plan of action to keep up with the ever-changing business agenda. 
  • What’s the most impactful time crunch you’ve experienced?
  • Describe a time when you had to fly by the seat of your pants yet achieved something significant in the process.

A manager knows how to maximize people’s potential. To do this, they set and communicate goals, measure accomplishments, hold people accountable and provide quick feedback. They inform the team of big-picture status while delegating assignments.

  • What do you typically do when a team you were managing fails to deliver? Please provide an example.
  • Describe a situation in which you delegated an assignment and ended up having to rescue a failing effort. Would you do it differently next time?
  • Illustrate an instance in which it was difficult to get others to cooperate.
  • Recount a period when you managed a group of widely varying skill levels to peak performance.

Managers are required to be effective in more ways than one. They’re designers who establish a system to regulate work flow. Even though the structure should be self-managed, they are prepared to quickly diagnose and fix any problems. Along the way, they track progress and improve the system one step at a time.   

  • Describe an instance in which you made an improvement to the process just in time or even ahead of schedule. What was the effect on the business?
  • Tell me about a process improvement effort you directed that fell seriously behind schedule. What was the effect on the business? 
  • Explain the process improvement design you implemented that achieved increased production while reducing cost.

Finding the right manager can be like finishing a puzzle. Companies envision a big picture and work their magic to fit the pieces together. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Interviewing brings you one step closer to completing the puzzle.  

Troy Van Hauen, CEO, Accelerated Performance Technicians brings to the table intimate knowledge, as well as leadership tools and experience that executive-level and front-line supervisors have come to depend on.