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Why this matters:

Either on their own or with the help of cybersecurity specialists, an IT manager may be tasked with securing a company’s data against unauthorized users or those with harmful intent. Good candidates understand how crucial network security is — and have at least a passing familiarity with some basic or advanced tactics.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of the importance of network security
  • A few effective methods for improving network security
  • Past experience with a vendor or colleague to ensure security

Why this matters:

Changing risks or regulations may require IT managers to create new IT policies for company employees. This question evaluates the candidate’s experience with creating new policies, or implementing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that would align with the new environment.

What to listen for:

  • Experience evaluating the need for new IT policies
  • A clear sense of how to translate a policy to an SOP
  • The ability to communicate these changes clearly and concisely

Why this matters:

IT managers may be responsible for planning or managing budgets that affect their department, such as setting aside funds to purchase software licenses and equipment, outsource IT-related work, hire new headcount, install a major network-related change, or similar. This question reveals the candidate’s experience and showcases their priorities and decision-making methods.

What to listen for:

  • Experience setting or managing project budgets, if relevant
  • Ability to prioritize certain expenses, while de-emphasizing others
  • Ability to stay within budgetary parameters

Why this matters:

Better infrastructure can speed a company’s agility — and increase productivity and effectiveness. This question assesses the candidate’s ability to identify issues and resolve them, especially if the right solutions may require gaining budget and getting internal stakeholders on board.

What to listen for:

  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • The ability to identify weaknesses and implement necessary changes and improvements
  • The ability to advocate for change — and achieve it

 

Why this matters:

A big part of an IT manager’s role often includes communicating technical information to nontechnical colleagues or customers. This question can help discover how a candidate might adjust their style, terminology, and delivery to help the message or explanation to be more accessible and memorable.

 

What to listen for:

  • Strategies for explaining technical details to nontechnical audiences
  • Ability to break down complex material
  • Adaptability in communication style

 

Why this matters:

IT managers are commonly tasked with understanding the technological needs of their companies and locating the resources to address these needs, including software. Beyond the budget involved to purchase new software is the issue of how to drive usage within the company. This two-part question helps you understand how the candidate advocates for something they believe in, through all levels of an organization.

 

What to listen for:

  • A clear understanding of a company’s technological needs — and how to resolve them
  • Successful internal influence and advocacy, at various levels
  • A drive to implement impactful changes, one step at a time

Why this matters:

Many companies value an IT manager’s ability to stay up to date with new trends, so that their brands can harness updated software and systems, take advantage of powerful new technologies, and appear innovative — both externally and internally. This question explores a candidate’s curiosity and passion for reading about what’s new in the world of tech.

What to listen for:

  • A drive to read about what’s new and exciting in tech
  • Awareness of recent or major developments in the industry
  • A lifelong commitment to learning

Why this matters:

Measuring performance motivates both managers and employees to make better decisions that benefit the organization overall. If the candidate has partial or full departmental responsibility, you might ask them to detail how they set realistic goals and reach major decisions, while boosting team morale. Ultimately, you want to find out the candidate’s contribution to overall departmental success.

What to listen for:

  • A focus on departmental performance
  • Ability to set lofty but realistic goals — and reach or exceed them
  • Personal effectiveness within a team environment

Why this matters:

The workplace is full of challenges — both human and system-related — that keep many IT managers on their toes. This question helps determine how well a candidate performs under pressure, and how quickly they can pivot and adapt to changing circumstances or unfolding problems to emerge successfully.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to think quickly under pressure
  • Ability to communicate clearly despite barriers or stress
  • Effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills
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