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The best 33 hiring manager interview questions to assess candidates’ skills

The best 33 hiring manager interview questions to assess candidates’ skills featured image

Hiring managers are responsible for filling open job positions at your company – so it’s easy to see why making the right hire is essential for your organization’s long-term success. 

Every hiring manager should have managerial experience, be an excellent communicator, and have expert negotiation skills to get the best deal for your company and your new employee. 

How do you evaluate those skills, though? 

Thankfully, the answer is simple: With the help of skills testing and the right interview questions. 

Using those two methods together will enable you to reduce bias, assess applicants’ skills objectively, and find the perfect match for the role.

In this article, we’ve selected the best 33 hiring manager interview questions and added sample answers to make your interviewing process as easy as 1-2-3. You’ll also find out how to use talent assessments to identify outstanding candidates and make sure you’re making the right hiring decisions.

How to evaluate hiring managers’ skills

When looking to hire your first (or next) hiring manager, you want to make sure you’re only interviewing qualified candidates and not wasting time with those who simply don’t meet your criteria. 

As mentioned, you should be looking for management, communication, and negotiation skills, among others. But how do you know a person really possesses these skills? The only way to find out is to test them – and pre-employment skills testing is an excellent way to do just that.

Not only do skills tests save you time and resources, but they also help you avoid bad hires.

With TestGorilla, you can test several skills at once (up to five), depending on what you’re looking for. For a hiring manager, you should use a combination of the following tests:

  • Communication: Evaluate applicants’ interpersonal skills to see if they’ll be able to clearly define and communicate job roles, expectations, and feedback to candidates and team members.

  • Leadership and People Management: Strong management skills are key for successfully overseeing the recruitment process and ensuring it’s aligned with organizational goals.

  • Talent Acquisition: Check whether candidates are able to identify, attract, and select the best candidates with the help of this test.

  • Negotiation: Successfully negotiating salary, benefits, and other conditions is a cornerstone of the hiring process. 

  • Business Ethics and Compliance: Make sure candidates have the skills they need to ensure fairness, diversity, and compliance with legal standards throughout the hiring process.

  • Critical thinking: To make informed hiring decisions, hiring managers need to evaluate candidates' skills and potential fit. Critical thinking is essential for that. 

  • HR fundamentals: Evaluate applicants’ understanding of human resources policies, procedures, and best practices in recruitment.

Once candidates take your skills assessment and you look at their results, you’ll be able to make a shortlist of the ones who have the skills you need for the role. Then, you need to interview them to find the perfect fit. 

Top 18 hiring manager interview questions and answers

In this section, you’ll find our top interview questions and answers you should be looking for when recruiting a hiring manager. 

1. Can you share an example of how you've improved the efficiency of the recruitment process in your previous role?

Look for candidates who are able to demonstrate a proactive approach to streamlining recruitment processes. For example, they might explain how they introduced a new software tool for efficient applicant tracking and communication, or optimized job postings to attract a more diverse and qualified candidate pool. 

The best hiring managers will be able to talk about their achievements, such as reducing the  time-to-hire or improving the quality of hire, and support their claims with specific metrics or feedback they’ve received from teams and candidates alike.

2. How do you measure the success of your hiring strategies?

Do candidates have a robust, data-driven methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of their hiring strategies? 

To answer this question, they might mention metrics such as:

The most effective candidates will have experience with tracking and analyzing these metrics to identify trends, make informed decisions, and refine their recruitment process. 

3. How do you build and maintain a talent pipeline for hard-to-fill roles?

Focus on candidates who understand the critical role of employer branding in attracting top talent, especially for highly specialized or niche roles. 

They might discuss how they've created targeted content that highlights the company’s culture, values, and career opportunities in a previous role. Furthermore, they might mention leveraging campus recruitment, attracting passive candidates, or creating an internship program to maintain a consistent application flow for hard-to-fill roles.

4. Describe a time when you had to recruit for a position that was difficult to fill. What approach did you take?

This question helps you follow up on the previous one and dive deeper into the topic.

Expect skilled candidates to talk about creative and unconventional strategies they’ve used in the past to fill challenging positions. They might mention:

  • Leveraging niche job boards

  • Conducting targeted headhunting through platforms like LinkedIn

  • Engaging passive candidates with personalized messaging

They might also discuss the importance of flexibility in role requirements and working in tandem with team managers to broaden the scope of acceptable candidates to increase the candidate pool.

5. How do you ensure a diverse and inclusive recruitment process?

Expect candidates to discuss strategies that prioritize fairness, inclusivity, and the elimination of bias in the recruitment process, such as: 

  • Conducting structured interviews

  • Using inclusive language in job postings

  • Diversifying sourcing channels

Skilled candidates will likely mention providing training on unconscious bias for hiring teams and the significance of having diverse interview panels to ensure a wide range of perspectives.

6. Have you used data analytics to improve hiring processes in the past? How exactly and what was the outcome?

Here, experienced candidates should be able to provide specific examples of leveraging data analytics to improve the hiring process. 

For instance, they might mention how analyzing talent sources helped them reallocate resources more effectively or how they used talent assessment platforms like TestGorilla to evaluate candidates objectively and at scale. Strong candidates will be eager to share specific results, as well. 

7. What is your experience with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)? Do you have a preferred system?

Do your applicants have hands-on experience with ATS platforms? Are they able to explain what functionalities that they find useful and why? Do they know how to integrate ATS systems with other tools from their HR technology stack? Are they able to explain how ATSs can help manage candidate pipelines more effectively? 

8. Can you tell us about a time when you had to overhaul the recruitment process? What changes did you implement?

Look for candidates who are able to demonstrate strategic thinking and a willingness to challenge the status quo. For example, they could explain how they created an easier application process, introduced new sourcing methods to access new talent pools, or adopted a new skill evaluation tool. 

They should also explain the impact of these changes and discuss specific metrics to support their claims.

9. How do you approach setting and managing recruitment budgets?

Look for candidates who take a data-driven approach to budget planning and management. This could look something like: 

  • Analyze past recruitment efforts to determine cost-per-hire, the effectiveness of different sourcing channels, and the ROI of recruitment tools

  • Work closely with department heads to make sure recruitment budgets and organizational goals are aligned

  • Prioritize investments in high-return activities to optimize the recruitment budget

  • Negotiate better rates with vendors to further reduce costs

  • Set aside a portion of the budget to try out new recruitment strategies or tackle unforeseen challenges

10. How would you reduce time-to-hire for critical positions?

Here, candidates might discuss revamping job descriptions to attract more suitable applicants, leveraging technology like skills assessments to adjust the screening process, or implementing a more aggressive outreach strategy for passive candidates. 

Additionally, they could underline the role of clear communication with candidates to maintain engagement and readiness throughout the hiring process.

11. How do you ensure a positive candidate experience, even for those not selected?

No candidate should condone ghosting applicants, but that’s the bare minimum.

Transparency, respect, and communication should be the pillars of a positive candidate experience – for successful and unsuccessful applicants alike. Expect hiring managers to describe specific ways in which they engage with rejected candidates. 

For example, they might use automated emails to notify candidates of the progress of their application but personalize rejection letters and even encourage them to apply to other, more suitable roles, or provide resources for improvement. This helps build a positive employer brand, regardless of the outcome.

12. How do you prepare for interviews?

Do candidates have a structured approach to planning and conducting interviews? The best ones should, and it’ll probably include the following steps: Use the right selection process, such as skills testing, to identify the best applicants

  • Discuss expectations and requirements with other members of the hiring team

  • Define interview questions to assess applicants’ skills

  • Review each candidate's application and social profiles

  • Come up with personalized questions that probe into relevant experiences, skills, and achievements

  • Schedule interviews with suitable applicants

13. Describe a time when you implemented a new technology or software tool in the recruitment process. What was the result?

Look for candidates who are proactive in finding and adopting new tech tools to overcome hiring challenges. The best ones might mention how they’ve leveraged AI tools, such as Workable, ChatGPT, or IntelliHR, to improve outcomes. 

Skilled hiring managers should have a well-defined process for selecting the right technology and implementing it into the hiring process in a way that isn’t disruptive for others – and give you specific examples of how they’ve done this in the past. 

14. What strategies do you use to source passive candidates?

To find and recruit passive candidates, hiring managers need to use the right mix of:

  • Direct outreach via LinkedIn or other platforms

  • Networking, for example at industry events, conferences, or even online forums

  • Social media engagement via their own profiles or the company’s profile

Skilled candidates will recognize the need for a long-term engagement strategy that nurtures relationships with passive candidates until they are ready to apply.

15. Can you discuss your experience with remote hiring and onboarding?

Even if you aren’t hiring remotely at the moment, you might need to do that in the future – so, it’s a good idea to look for candidates who know how to create a structured and engaging remote hiring and onboarding process and know which tools to use.

They might talk about their experience with:

They could also highlight the significance of regular check-ins and one-on-one meetings with new employees to ensure they have the right resources to succeed and feel connected with the rest of the team.

16. How would you handle a situation where a top candidate declines an offer at the last minute?

In such scenarios, the best hiring managers would demonstrate resilience and strategic thinking. 

They might discuss ways in which they’d: 

  • Aim to maintain a positive relationship with the candidate for future opportunities

  • Look to identify and understand the reasons behind the decision

  • Move on to engage backup candidates as quickly as possible

They should also mention the significance of reviewing and adjusting the offer process to prevent similar situations in the future.

17. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment channels and sources?

The best candidates will consider quantitative data and qualitative insights in their evaluation, instead of just focusing on one or the other. 

Expect them to describe how they would conduct regular reviews of recruitment channels. Their process might include the following steps:

  • Perform a cost-benefit analysis for each channel

  • Seek feedback from new hires on their application experience

  • Assess the long-term success and retention rates of hires from different sources

  • Compare time-to-hire metrics for different channels

18. A new hire is not performing as expected. How would you address the situation?

This is a tough question – but the best candidates will rise to the challenge. They should approach such situations with a focus on actionable solutions that would give the new hire a chance to improve their performance. For example, they might: 

  • Discuss training needs with the new employee, their manager, and the HR team

  • Provide more support and resources as needed

  • Develop a performance improvement plan

  • Monitor progress to make sure they’re on the right track

  • If all else fails, consider ending the employee’s contract

Skilled hiring managers will not only look to address the specific situation but also identify what led to it and define ways in which they’d prevent it from happening again. 

15 additional hiring manager interview questions you can ask

Here are some additional questions you could ask your future hiring manager to evaluate their skills: 

  • How do you ensure that your personal biases do not influence the hiring process?

  • Can you provide an example of a successful employer branding initiative you've been a part of?

  • How do you approach negotiating job offers to ensure acceptance?

  • If you need to hire for many roles at once, how do you prioritize them?

  • How do you ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations?

  • Have you ever had to deal with a high volume of vacancies? How did you handle this?

  • How do you manage relationships with external recruitment agencies?

  • What methods do you use to keep candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process?

  • What steps do you take to ensure the confidentiality of applicant information?

  • Can you share an example of how you've contributed to workforce planning at a strategic level?

  • How do you deal with internal disagreements on a candidate's suitability?

  • How do you approach the challenge of hiring for a newly created role with no clear benchmarks?

  • Describe a scenario where you had to use unconventional methods to find the right candidate.

  • What strategies do you use to ensure the retention of newly hired employees?

  • How do you assess soft skills during the recruitment process?

Recruit the best hiring manager with the help of skills tests and the right interview questions

Hiring the right hiring manager is key for the future success of your company – there’s no doubt about that. 

To make your recruitment process easy, we’ve built a platform that enables you to assess applicants’ skills quickly and objectively – but skills testing should always be a part of a holistic hiring process

Structured interviews are another essential element of it and to conduct them successfully, you need the right set of interview questions for hiring managers. The role-specific questions we outlined above will help you prepare for interviews and find the best candidate effortlessly. 

Evaluate candidates’ skills with the help of TestGorilla. Sign up today for your free plan and enjoy a hassle-free recruitment process, or book a demo to chat with one of our experts to see how you can optimize your hiring and find the best match. 


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