By Nikita Fedorov, founder & CTO at Qase
One of the most valuable skills an executive or manager can have is the ability to discern growth potential in their employees. This is especially true for businesses that are ready to scale up and need more people in management roles.
Because tech managers are essentially an extension of the CEO and top management, it’s critical that you not only learn how to hire and communicate with them but recognize when they have the ability to build and oversee their own teams.
Fortunately, this discernment can be developed, just like any other skill. Here are five things to consider when hiring tech managers:
1. Find a management mentor.
Mentorship is one of the best ways to learn a new skill, especially in the business world. Finding a mentor within the company or your industry is ideal because it is easier to learn relevant tips and tricks this way.
Studies show that employees who are mentored end up getting promoted up to five times more often than those who are not, and they have a 72% retention rate. Mentorship also empowers both the mentor and mentee, strengthening team connections and boosting overall confidence in their job roles.
2. Prioritize soft skills
It’s no secret that there is currently a substantial soft skills gap in the global workforce. According to The National Soft Skills Association, at least 85% of job success stems from well-rounded soft skills, while only 15% is a result of technical competence. This “soft skills disconnect” makes candidates with decent soft skills far more valuable than one with the tech know-how for a role.
Remember that teaching hard skills is far easier than instilling soft skills. When looking for tech managers, you need someone who is adept at things like stress management, emotional intelligence, time management, teamwork and decision-making. It’s helpful if they are also competent in or at least familiar with the technical aspects of the job, but soft skills are a far greater priority here.
3. Look for a learner
Hiring someone who is passionate about and capable of deeply learning their role is an excellent long-term investment. This is especially true for companies that will be scaling operations. Someone who possesses both soft skills and a learner’s mindset is an immeasurable asset to your management team.
These are the types of people who can think outside the box, consider the big picture and look for new or better ways to improve team performance, boosting your entire organization. They are also better at managing a team because they are willing to listen to all inputs, value suggestions outside of their own and instill a passion for knowledge and innovation into their team members.
4. Hire a person with a long view
First, you should ensure that the entire C-suite has a clear, long-term strategy for the growth and success of your company. Without this, even the best managers cannot succeed.
When it’s time to onboard new management, a great question to ask during an interview is about their long-term goals. If they can articulate not just the plan but the steps needed to achieve it, they are likely able to translate that into taking a long view at work, too.
Management often doesn’t get immediate results when they take action, so you need someone with the ability to execute “the long game” when it comes to company growth and success.
5. Find a strong communicator
For tech managers in particular, communicating effectively and managing people with tact and discernment is essential.
Tech teams are often comprised of introverted individuals who may be more focused on data and results than colleagues or communication, so a manager who can bridge that gap between “techies” and other departments is crucial for success.
Solid communication skills also translate to someone who can create and execute an effective presentation to C-suite executives or other teams. There are many instances when a department’s productivity depends on management’s ability to communicate and coordinate with other department heads or relay information to executives to solve problems and move forward.
Good Hires Are the Foundation of Great Management
Not all founders naturally possess the ability to discern when candidates have the growth potential needed to become excellent managers. This is normal, and it’s something that can be practiced until it becomes more intuitive.
The five tips listed here are a strong foundation for developing the skills needed to hire great tech managers who can help your company scale up quickly and thrive for years to come.