How to identify (or recruit) a good manager?

We don’t need to tell you that making a recruitment mistake can be very costly: loss of time and money, internal reorganisation, projects fall behind, and of course the risks become greater the more senior the position.
Recruiting a manager can be a major challenge as managerial positions play a pivotal role in a company. During the recruitment process you will need to find a candidate that has the ability to decide, delegate, communicate, question oneself, and also be a driving force in making proposals for business and sector developments.
Therefore, it is essential you validate not only the technical skills but also assess the inter- and intra-personal qualities of each candidate.

1. The voice of the company

The manager you hire will be the spokesperson for their team and will act as an intermediary between them and upper management. As a result, you will need to ensure your candidate is supportive of the company’s strategies and is able to make decisions which will align to it. 


Like any other employee, the relationship between the candidate’s values and the company’s culture must not be neglected. 


Also, you will need to ensure they have particular traits which are often found in a good manager: respect for rules, measured ambition, open-mindedness, and empathy.


It’s not always easy to gauge a candidate’s personality in a one-hour interview. At SP Search, we are qualified and certified in management and personality assessments in order to assist you in your search for “the one”.


2. The makings of a manager

Autonomy, capacity for innovation, leadership, and support for change, are just some of the necessary and indispensable qualities of a good manager. So, how do you check them?

Managerial qualities

Ask the candidate about their management style and what they consider to be the most important factor: ability to arbitrate and make a decision, to manage a team, to build up skills, to communicate, or to manage a crisis? But also, what is their communication style? Do they have an appetite for administrative tasks? The order in which the different skills are mentioned will enable you to gauge which skill your candidate feels is more important, which you can then assess against your own criteria.


A good manager must be able to listen and effectively communicate with their team, which in turn enables them to motivate them in obtaining the required results. Team members should be able to appreciate their managers and feel supported in the role they do.


You can ask the candidate to tell you about their challenges as a manager. This will test their ability to take a step back and question themselves, but also allows you to assess whether they are suited to take on the available role.

Concrete examples

“Please can you give me an example of when you have needed to delegate work?” “Can you talk me through a time you had to handle conflict, what was the impact?” “Which skills, qualities, and attitudes have you developed in the past to succeed?”


Always try to identify the candidate’s management style from their answers. The most effective way of doing this is to ask the candidate how they would go about completing a particular task or solving a problem.

WARNING: Keep in mind that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate, but only an ideal candidate for the position in question. Certain characteristics can be a strength or drawback depending on the type of team to be managed, the sector of activity, or the culture of the company.

3. The manager is an employee like any other

Although their responsibilities are more complex than others, a manager is still an employee.


What people respect first and foremost is competence. A manager may be a great communicator, empathetic, and intelligent, but if they don’t understand the roles of their team, it brings into question their credibility.


TIP: Whatever technical skills are required; you should verify a candidate’s experience by carrying out reference checks, and/or asking them to complete a practical test.

Recruiting a good manager is essential for the general atmosphere within the team and more broadly within the company, but the task is difficult. It can be tricky to judge the ability of a person to manage, to be heard, to create team spirit, all in a meeting as short as an interview. Technical skills can be identified on a CV, but are also easily developed through training. On the other hand, personal development allows us to expand our values and is often linked to our past experiences. Take the time to identify the compatibility between the company’s values and those of the candidate you are looking at.

Remember, “if you have a doubt, there is no doubt”. Going your separate ways with a co-worker is never a pleasant experience, but if you feel like something doesn’t add up, don’t take any risks.

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