Hiring for an Agile Team: Possible Questions

Way back in November, I taught a half-day tutorial called “Hiring for an Agile Team” at Agile Development Practices. The participants had several questions I thought you might find useful.

Several participants wanted to know how a candidate would deal with challenging others and taking “criticism” during the workday. They had these questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you participated in a debate on differences of opinion
  2. Tell me about a time when you went along with a team decision you disagreed with
  3. Tell me about a time you needed info from elsewhere but were initially unable to get it

All of these questions help an interviewer see how a candidate manages the day-to-day interactions with others, including the issue of initiative and getting along with a team.

Several participants thought they needed people who were “out of the box” thinkers. (No, I don't know what that means, those were the participants' words.)

  1. Tell me about a time when you were successful at getting/having the team take a different approach?
  2. Tell me about a time when you challenged the team’s direction.

Some participants were more interested in how a candidate would remove impediments to the team:

  1. Tell me about your day to day activities as a scrum master
  2. Tell me about your most challenging impediment on your most recent project

When I lead this tutorial, I always hear about “negative feedback.” Esther has renamed this to correcting feedback, and I much prefer her term.

  1. Tell me about a time you received feedback. How did you respond to it?

This question could be about reinforcing feedback too (what other people call positive feedback).

Several people wanted to know about flexibility in terms of role:

  1. Tell me about a time you started in one rule and transitioned to another role?

This question partially answers some of the commenters in Why Projects Don’t Need Specialists.

None of these questions might be right for your team or candidates, but maybe they'll suggest questions that fit for you.

One Reply to “Hiring for an Agile Team: Possible Questions”

  1. Pingback: HR World » Blog Archive » Friday Links: Walk the Walk in 2009

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