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How should an interviewer evaluate management skills in a candidate?

by Maxwell Peterson1 min read5th Oct 20211 comment

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My small Data Science team is hiring a new manager. I have some skill at evaluating the technical abilities of a candidate, but very little in evaluating their management abilities.

In Data Science technical interviews I don’t think one needs a picture of what domain a person works in or what the size of their team was etc. to evaluate their technical and mathematical abilities and their intelligence. Is the same true of a manager? Is so, what are the underlying dimensions of management ability that I should be trying to uncover and evaluate?

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I think you are right that management skills, like technical skills, are transferrable across domains. Though one caveat may be that size of team and overall organizational structure and reporting relationships can be influential dynamics on actual experience and skill. I would look to evaluate the candidate's ability to help others problem-solve and set priorities (rather than just dictating), clear communication skills, and "strategic empathy". Lots of good searchable behavioral and other interview questions available online. One nice thing about management skills is that communication is a core competency in the role AND at least somewhat interrogated by the interview format. Not always the case. Good luck!