Six Interviewing Tips for Engineering Managers

Are you an engineering manager? If so, one of the most critical aspects of your position is hiring the proper candidate for each and every opening within your department. The way that you conduct an interview will directly affect whether or not you hire the right person.

Here are six tips to follow as you interview potential candidates:

  1. Ask detailed questions and resist the temptation to answer them yourself. Try to listen more patiently. Learn to tolerate uncomfortable silences, rather than bail out the candidate to resolve your own discomfort.
  2. Ask specific enough questions to truly validate whether a candidate has the requisite domain knowledge, skills and expertise you seek. For example, if they declare strong knowledge of a specific CAD program, ask a question that reveals whether their knowledge is as deep as they claim.
  3. Have the right people ask the right questions. Don’t have your CFO asking engineering questions.
  4. When having multiple people interview the same candidate, divide up the questions – to some extent. You don’t want five different people to ask the same nine questions. That said, some overlap with some interviewers can be useful – so that you can validate whether you’re getting the same answers to the same questions.
  5. Plan ahead. Start by being very clear yourself on the critical criteria for the client. Then come up with questions that really flush out whether the candidate meets the criteria.
  6. Check for a cultural fit. Even if your candidate answers every question to your satisfaction, did his demeanor reveal the kind of person who would work well with your team? Here your instincts can be as useful as your detailed questions.

Every engineering manager has his or her own interviewing style. What works for you may not work for the next person. If you are looking to improve your interviewing skills, consider putting these tips into practice!


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