4 interview tips to help you prepare as a NEW manager 👊

So, you just got promoted (yay!) and are now managing people for the first time (another yay!).  It’s a great opportunity for anyone to gain people management experience and when you do, you learn a ton not only about others but about yourself.

When you step into your first leadership role, you’ll inevitably be faced with the task of hiring people as well.  Whether it’s hiring someone for your own team, or simply participating in an interview for a role in your dept./division and you’re elected to be on the interview slate.  What’s important in either situation, especially if it’s your first time is knowing how to conduct an effective interview.

There’s no manual on how to perfect an interview and I would confidently say, it’s all about practice, practice, practice!  But there are some best practices you can learn and adopt to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot.  I for one early in my career remember sitting in on interviews as an observer, listening in and it was a great learning opportunity on not only to understand what questions to ask (pertaining to that specific role) but the importance of preparing ahead of time.

Besides, second to being a great leader and leading your high performing team, hiring people will be one of the most important sets of responsibilities you’ll hold in your role.  Too many times, new managers are entering their leadership position with little to no guidance on how to interview and more importantly, how to assess talent.   Having some guidance and structure on what to keep in mind at the offset can be helpful and set you up for success!

Keep in mind your approach may vary depending on if you’re hiring for your team or someone else’s, however the below tips can serve as a great starting point to help you prepare before diving into your first interview as a first-time manager.

  • This may seem obvious; however, be sure to understand the position / scope of the role you’re hiring for AND ensure everyone that’s part of the hiring team is aligned and on the same page on what to look for.  The last thing you want to do is walk into an interview and not be clear on expectations and what you or your team are collectively looking for.  This will allow you to position and customize your questions appropriately.
  • Ask what you want to know. 
    • I can’t stress this one enough.  It’s been my experience, too many hiring managers will draw conclusions or make assumptions based on what a candidate said in passing or a comment they made vs. having asked a specific question.  *Get curious*, ask open-ended questions, learn the story, then form an assessment. 
  • Talk to your boss or other colleagues who have experience interviewing.  
    • You’re likely not the only one going to be interviewing whether for your direct team or someone else’s.  Find out if there’s a structure in place amongst the interviewers on the interview slate.  In some instances, if there are multiple interviewers, each person may focus on assessing a different skill set or component of a candidates background specific to the open position, i.e. one interviewer interviews for technical aptitude, another interviewer focuses on assessing for team or project management skills, etc. etc.
  • Design your questions to learn of a candidate’s WHOLE self vs. just their professional skill set
    • As a first-time manager new to interviewing, this is a great opportunity to develop a best practice of assessing for a candidate’s WHOLE self vs. just their professional background.  Learn to get to know the individual and assess for all skills. 

Remember, interviewing is a practice and a skill to cultivate.  The best thing you can do is prepare, then practice.  The best opportunities to learn are also when you fail, so if you feel as though your first interview doesn’t go as well as you would have liked, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try again.  Learn from those experiences and apply those learnings to your next interview.

Here are 2 questions I’d love to get your thoughts on. Leave a comment below and share your experience!

What other tips would you add to the above list?

If you’ve gone through this experience before, how did you prepare as an interviewer when you became a manager for the first time?

Stepping into your first people leadership role can be nerve wrecking to say the least, so be brave and share your experience that might just help someone who’s in this very place today.

With so much love ❤,

Lisa xo

What skills should you take notice of and why are they important?

What’s the most important skill you’re assessing when you’re interviewing talent?

Does a talent’s soft skill vs. hard skill and/or competencies to do a job hold the same level of importance for you?  I can probably guess that your answer would likely be no, although I’m sure you would agree it’s important just not as important as the hard skills to actually do the job.

In a world where artificial intelligence is creeping its way into many different industries and jobs, there will be forever the skills that AI simply will not be able to offer or do. That’s the human skills that we bring to the table, or otherwise known as soft skills.  Effective communication, compassion, empathy, passion, drive, etc. just to name a few. 

Why is this important and how does it effect you?  Well, if you’re a company that hires people, you want to focus on the FULL package a talent has to offer; meaning ALL skills are becoming increasingly important.  Not just their ability to perform a task and do a job.  It all matters.  In fact, LinkedIn‘s data as noted in their 50 Big Ideas in 2019:  What to watch in the year ahead article, suggests the fastest growing skills gap are related to soft skills.

If you’re someone who will likely be looking for a job at some point in your lifetime, your creative abilities and soft skills are what will set you apart.  They are the skills that can not be taken away from you and be automated.  The workplace is evolving, technology is constantly changing and skills and jobs are being automated.  As a job seeker, you want to understand how this affects you.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine, soft skills I find are typically more difficult to measure and assessing them can be tricky.  Simply reviewing a resume for key or ‘buzz’ words isn’t enough either.

For hiring managers and recruiters, here are some questions you can ask to help measure a few of the more common and important soft skills during interviews:

  • Communication skillsTell me a time when your communication skills were imperative to a problem you solved?  How were they used and what was important about that? (here, you’re not just looking for oral or written. Communication also includes what’s not being said – body language. You want to go deeper here)
  • Adaptability & FlexibilityHow have you dealt with change in your organization and what soft skills were critical to demonstrate during that time?
  • CollaborationWhat are some examples you can share when you’ve had to work with others you don’t know and how did you approach the situation? 
  • EmpathyShare an example of a customer service issue with your company or make one up.  Ask what soft skills they would demonstrate in that situation

I would also add to these.  You can also ask a candidate to share a real-life work issue at their current company (if they’re employed), and what soft skills are needed to solve it.

There are all kinds of different questions you can come up with and likely add to this.  The ones above are those I have found helpful in my experience, but please feel free to play around with these.   Also, don’t be shy to ask directly, what soft skills they deem themselves to be strengths of their’s and how they would relate to the position at hand.  As simplistic and obvious as it may sound, it’s a good question to ask, as chances are, candidates aren’t commonly being asked about their soft skills.

What are your thoughts on the skills gap being related to soft skills?  

How important are soft skills when you’re assessing talent for your organization? 

Please share your thoughts below! 

Thanks so much for your time,

Lisa  😉

Not sure what direction to take following your mat leave? Here’s what you should be thinking about

Taking a break from a thriving career to focus on starting and building a family can be such an exciting time.  For my go-getter, hustler, career-driven women, I know this can also be an adjustment when taking that step back.

Now that your mat leave is up and you’re ready to return to the workforce, you might realize the adjustment is more difficult than you anticipated.

So where do you start?

If you happen to work in a corporate environment and returning to the same job, your adjustment might look different than someone who is taking a leap a faith and deciding to start something completely different and new.  Particularly if you took more than the traditional 1 year of maternity leave (standard in Canada), but perhaps, a couple of years off.

The return can be confusing, difficult to understand where to start, and you may have a slew of other questions you might be challenging yourself with.

How do I re-brand myself when I’ve been out of the workforce for so long?

What level should I be targeting?  (you might consider this depending on where you were in your career before you left, etc.)

My resume has a gap in it, how do I best reflect my time off and stand out?

Naturally, the answers and your direction will vary for each of you depending on your needs. 

Some of you might want to return p/t, while some might want/need flexible hours, some need something close to home and are not open to a commute, etc.  Starting your own business may become an even more attractive option, as a result, to cover off on all these factors, thereby eliminating a traditional job search altogether. 

The idea is, you need to get *crystal clear* on what your “must haves” are and what you’re looking for.  From there, it will be much easier to target the appropriate opportunities for you and embark on a search.

Often, I’ve had candidates share they had a resume writer put their resume together as they were preparing to embark on a job search.  If you do take this route, make sure you know what you’re looking for and what your target is beforehand.  No sense in updating a resume to simply look ‘eye-catching’ on paper if you have no idea what you want, right?  Work from the inside out. 

  • Self-reflect – What’s important to you now that you’ve had a child?
  • Consider what you loved about your career – industry, role, etc.
  • What direction do you want to go in now – take a step back?  Go in a new direction altogether?
  • Think about your strengths and skills 

When it comes to your resume, include the things you’ve been doing while you’ve been off work such as:

  • Volunteer work – any charity work, whether you simply participated or organized directly
  • Contributing to your son/daughters’ school – PTA committee or other
  • Freelance/consulting/project related assignments you did even for a short period of time
  • Courses/workshops/conferences that you might have participated in or attended to keep up to date with what’s been going on in your industry
  • If you contributed to a blog or even started one while you were off to share your insights, etc.

The idea here is you want to be able to highlight anything you’ve been doing in addition to raising a family.  Without meeting and interviewing you in person to explain your gap while on maternity leave, your background and experience is what people see on paper, so you want to highlight everything and anything that is relevant.

The little things are important so don’t leave them out!

The transition back to the workforce can be an adjustment regardless of which direction you take.  Taking the time to self-reflect, figure out what your vision for yourself looks like returning to the workforce, can help alleviate the stress associated with the lead up when it’s time to go back to work. 

I’d love to hear from you as always!  Remember, your comments can help inspire someone who may need to hear YOUR perspective, so don’t be shy!

If you’ve ever made the transition back to the workforce after a maternity leave, if you found you struggled to make the return, what could have helped with the transition to make it easier for you?

Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re in this very place in your life, I wish you the greatest success on your return!

Lisa ❤

You’ve had one, I’ve had one – here’s how to talk about it in an interview

Most of us can relate to going through a bad experience throughout our careers, some of us, unfortunately, more than once.  Anything from a terrible boss, to being fired, to dealing with a difficult peer/colleague, to a toxic work environment, the list goes on and can all be attributed to bad experiences on the job.

The truth is, when it comes to our careers, there are times we fall short, even when we do our due diligence to make the right choices with the information we have.  For instance, we miss a sign, ignore that feeling we might have about an opportunity whether it’s the people, structure, culture, etc.  Before you know it, we find ourselves choosing a company that ultimately is in misalignment with what you’re looking for and what’s right for us.

Continue reading “You’ve had one, I’ve had one – here’s how to talk about it in an interview”

Why giving back is not just good for you but your business too!

As a client when you’re researching companies to buy from, what do you typically look for?

As a candidate when you’re embarking on a job search, what do you look for in the companies you’re interested in?

Today, where technology is at our finger tips, we have more options and ways to research companies which offers us more decision-making power than ever before.  We may do some fact finding through research, ask for referrals, read reviews, navigate through websites, etc. all in an effort to help reach a decision.

What if part of your clients decision-making process was considering organizations that give back?  

Continue reading “Why giving back is not just good for you but your business too!”

Leading your company through adversity? 3 things to keep in mind as leader

The workforce has changed tremendously over the last 10 + years.  Virtual set up’s, flexible working environments, social media has exploded and has influenced and impacted business’s and the way we do business.  Not to mention the landscape for talent has changed across the board with an increase in competition and more choices than we had before.

So, with how quickly and how vast the workforce has changed and evolved, shouldn’t leaders also evolve in their approach when it comes to challenging times in your business?

Continue reading “Leading your company through adversity? 3 things to keep in mind as leader”

Have you ever been in the transition stage?

Ok, this one is a little longer than some of my other posts so I hope you’ll stick around long enough to read to the end as it’s got some helpful insights that I hope you’ll find helpful.  If it doesn’t apply to you today, maybe someone in your life can benefit, so please share it with them.

You’ve been laid off.  You’ve spent 10 + years with your employer, given them your all, dedicated your time and energy to achieving a common goal and find yourself shocked and an emotional mess.

Continue reading “Have you ever been in the transition stage?”

If you don’t know, now you know

Most of my posts so far have been around topics outside of actual recruiting.
I’m passionate about a lot of areas within business in general, however when it comes to PEOPLE in the workplace and talent, recruiting, hiring and everything else in between I get REALLY tuned in.

I’m so amazed at how there are such various types of interview processes across organizations all to find the best of the best’ when hiring for an open position.  Gone are the days where you would put an ad in the paper, someone would apply, you would call them in for an interview, you would interview them once maybe twice with someone else on your team, and they were hired.

Continue reading “If you don’t know, now you know”