Engaging With a Candidate During the Interview

Xun Tang

Engineering Manager at Reddit



Recently, I have been given the opportunity to hire as a hiring manager for the first time ever.

After conducting the interview, we extend offers to the candidates who interest us. My job involves approaching these candidates with a call selling the proposition and encouraging them to choose us.

The first time that I had to do this, I actually felt very underprepared. They asked a bunch of questions that I was unable to answer well. Afterward, I spent some time thinking about the questions that we had both asked. I came up with a template that would allow me to hone in on what was important to the company and a potential hire.

Actions taken

In this document, I cover multiple key points. I make a note that I like to see a candidate who:

  • Has exhibited periods of growth in the past.
  • Is able to show me how they and their team had an impact.
  • Is able to show how they will form a partnership with our organization.

I also now come prepared with much more information and context on the company itself for the candidate to consider. I have my entire team’s background and roles outlined, showing what they do and what they contribute to. I share where I was able to help some of my people fill any gaps that they may have had in their knowledge. I show them the company-wide resources that we offer to those looking for somewhere to grow, as well as my own personal strategies as a manager. I tell them how many people they will be reporting to as well as any ramp-up plans that we have in place for them.

When I bring somebody new onto the team, I like to stretch them comfortably. I want them to be able to see what can be on the path ahead of them — the prospect of managing a larger team, for example. I show them that they can be a part of the growth that we are all contributing to as they gradually begin to take ownership of larger, cross-functional projects that span the entire organization.

By talking them through their potential with my company and by sharing my own experience and style of working, I am able to establish this relationship very early on. We are then able to join forces and to cultivate our group together.

Lessons learned

  • The greatest lesson that I learned through this process was the value of always being prepared.
  • Before hiring anybody into your company, you need to be thinking about this person’s career and their long-term success.
  • Hiring managers always need to be authentic and transparent. You don’t want to hire somebody into the company under false pretenses and then have them realize that your company is not where they should be.

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Xun Tang

Engineering Manager at Reddit

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