As you’re interviewing with a hardware engineering manager, you want to get a feel for their management style, their personality, and what motivates them. One of the best ways to plan strategically is to blend impact-driven questions with culture-driven questions so you can know exactly what traits lead to success and how the company measures that metric.

Skills and traits that tech hiring managers look for

  • A sense of personal responsibility
  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Self-motivated
  • Driven to succeed
  • Dependable
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • A positive attitude
  • Superior problem-solving ability
  • Sound engineering knowledge
  • Excellent mathematical knowledge
  • Teamwork and collaboration skills
  • Professionalism
  • Ability to see the bigger picture
  • Ability to work well within a team
  • Ability to solve complex engineering problems
  • Works well under pressure and deadlines
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Sound engineering judgment
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • A love of learning

Not what you say, but how you say it

If you ask basic questions, you will get basic answers. As the job market evolves, this is no longer enough for candidates; people want more than just a job description— they want an inside look at what it takes to stand out if hired.

Try to avoid asking questions like:

  • What do you want to pay?
  • What are the primary responsibilities?

Most likely, these will be covered in a job description. Does this mean the above isn’t helpful information? Certainly not, but it lacks the detail that sophisticated job seekers crave.

Some pro tips on extracting detail

Frame questions in a way that force hiring managers to justify their request. An example: What three adjectives immediately come to mind when describing the candidate who will be hugely successful in this role?

The framework of this question forces the hiring manager to articulate the soft skills they’re looking for in a candidate. It also provides an opportunity for a follow-up, asking them to validate why they chose each one by giving an example of how that adjective would support their success in the role.

Some other framework “hacks” include:

  • Limiting the must-haves to three forces the hiring manager to shorten the qualifications or skillsets and manages their expectations.
  • Use the word “ideal” and not “perfect” when describing a prospected candidate. “Perfect” is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, you must get hiring managers to be realistic about non-negotiables. Explain to them how much the candidate pool can deplete with each must-have.

Culture questions

Even if the position is remote, roles in this industry thrive on collaboration. Therefore, it’s vital that each time you fill a role, you’re offering the job to someone who’s not only highly proficient but a good culture fit for the company (and vice versa).

The following are a few questions to help clarify the type of culture within the company and the type of people who best fit:

  1. What do you think are the best ways to keep an engineering team motivated?
  2. Can you describe your management style?
  3. How does this position contribute to the company’s short-term and long-term goals?

Impact driven questions

Impact-driven questions are a way to communicate root problems that need to be solved strategically.

  1. What do you believe are three qualities that describe the ideal candidate to succeed in this role?
  2. Can you describe the most significant challenges someone in this role will need to overcome?
  3. Does the workload generally remain steady or are there a lot of peaks and valleys?
  4. What behaviors do team members who struggle the most exhibit?
  5. How soon are you looking to get someone started?
  6. How do you stay up to date with the software engineering industry?
  7. How do you measure success for your team members?

The takeaway

The best way to ensure that tech hiring managers hold up their end of the bargain is to ask questions about their end of the bargain. However, the real takeaway is that you must be thoughtful with the questions you ask. The more valuable information we get from them before posting the job, the easier it will be to get them the talent they need. Once you have answers, you can set expectations for what will happen from beginning to end of the contract, providing clarity for all involved.

Let TeamUP connect the Qs for you!

At TeamUP, we pride ourselves on our vetting process to work with the best of the best in the tech industry, meaning we connect with top-quality, experienced professionals that can fill all your staffing needs. Our database extends into software, hardware, data engineering, IC design, cloud enablement, and application and software development. TeamUP also gives its clients the edge with access to off-the-market candidates who aren’t mainstream and can pitch curated opportunities for clients with whom we have existing relationships.

Contact us today!


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