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Post: How to Hire the Right Supervisor



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Hiring a capable supervisor is no small undertaking. As daunting as this task may be, it’s necessary to create a productive work team. Finding the right fit can be a game-changer for the workforce – and your bottom line.

A supervisor isn’t just a title; it’s a critical position that bridges the gap between executive vision and on-the-ground execution. Supervisors drive company culture, motivate employee performance, and troubleshoot daily challenges.

Hiring the right supervisor isn’t just a staffing decision – it’s a strategic one. However, finding the right supervisor can be much harder than it seems if you do not take the correct path. This article will give you some steps you can take to make sure you find and hire the right supervisor for your business or organization.


Create a Detailed Job Description

Naturally, the first step toward hiring a competent supervisor is defining the expectations and responsibilities of the job. The hiring process actually starts much sooner than the interview. Whether you’re hiring internally or externally, direct communication goes a long way, especially in those early stages.

Clarify within the job description what exact requirements you have for the job. This helps ensure that only qualified individuals apply. It’s also important to be upfront about compensation. Paying a competitive wage puts you ahead of your competitors, and top talent in the industry takes notice.


Don’t Overlook Your Current Talent

It’s worth mentioning that promoting from within is usually your best bet when hiring a supervisor. Not only do your current employees have more hands-on experience, but they’re already familiar with your company’s culture and routines. 

Promoting from within also offers hope for other employees and can boost morale. Creating growth opportunities for your employees improves their motivation to succeed. Research shows that internally promoted employees perform better than external hires.

Besides getting an employee who is already familiar with the company and its processes, hiring from within is also great for employee engagement, morale, and employee retention. All of these things are impacted by the available growth opportunities within a particular company. When employees see that there are opportunities for advancement within a company, it encourages them to do their best and to stay with the company.

One of the more common reasons why good employees will leave a company is due to feeling like there is no future with the company. Before looking for an outside hire, examine your current team to see if there are talented individuals who can fill the role. 



Whether you promote from within or externally, networking is critical when hiring a new supervisor. Use job-finding apps such as Indeed or Zip Recruiter to see who your competitors are hiring, and what things job candidates are looking for.

Consult other business owners if possible. They may know someone who recently left a supervisor position elsewhere or someone who deserves a promotion. You can even discuss this with your other employees. Ask them what they value in a supervisor, and if anyone might be interested in interviewing for the position. You might be surprised at where the connections can lead.


Outline the Ideal Candidate

When you’re looking to hire a supervisor, it’s paramount that you first visualize the ideal person for the job. Reflect on the characteristics and behaviors you wish to see in the future hire. If the position requires someone who can manage numbers and accounts, for example, look for individuals with expertise there. Try not to let small, irrelevant details such as appearance or charm sway your decision. Instead, focus on finding someone capable and qualified.

There are several traits good supervisors should have. One of them is great communication skills. Great communication by any type of leader can help with meeting deadlines, work segmentation, and employee conflict resolution. It also helps with team building and minimizing communication-related issues.

Good supervisors should also be organized and able to solve problems. While outlining this candidate, formulate a way to vet the candidates you plan to interview by asking good questions during the interview process. 

Another important trait great supervisors possess is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence means that a supervisor is able to manage their own emotions as well as being aware of the emotions of other people.

While someone’s emotional intelligence in a leadership position cannot be seen until they are actually on the job, you must emphasize the importance of it during the hiring process. The good news is that emotional intelligence is something that can be learned with proper training. 

While outlining your ideal candidate be sure to include universal attributes desired as well as some that are very specific for your business and industry. Ask yourself what type of supervisor fits your company and culture. Knowing this will allow you to eliminate the candidates that may not be right for your business.


Perfect the Interview Process


Interviewing job candidates is never easy, and unfortunately, the process only becomes more complicated with hiring supervisors. You’re not just looking for someone who can perform a job, but someone who can inspire and lead others. That’s a hefty responsibility, and the position shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Too many business owners make avoidable yet disastrous mistakes during the hiring process. Nine times out of ten, this is caused by an inefficient hiring method or rushing the process. It’s crucial that you spend as much time as you need to find the right fit. It’ll be worth it later!

Don’t be afraid to try a multi-step interview process. In the first interview, you’re able to gain a first impression and some basic knowledge. In the second, you’re testing the candidate’s dedication and consistency. Between stages, you’re eliminating candidates who didn’t make the original cut.

If you’re struggling to put together the right questions for a supervisor job interview, here are some questions to get you started.

  • Tell me about your previous supervisory experience.
  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • What is your typical decision-making process?
  • How do you deal with conflict among employees?
  • Tell me about how you motivate your team to be their best.
  • How do you handle underperforming team members?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a supervisor?



Start a Dialogue

It can be helpful to discuss the hiring process with your employees. Obviously, it’s wise to omit names and personal details. However, talking to your employees about what they liked or disliked in their previous supervisors can provide some valuable insight. Even if they bring up negative experiences with supervisors from other jobs, that’s information you can use to make the right pick.

If you’ve already settled on a candidate to hire, you can debrief them before starting. Starting a dialogue with your employees can also give you insight into what they need from their supervisor. Communicate regarding what your employees excel or struggle with, and how the new supervisor can offer their support. Being direct and honest is always the best policy.


Consider an Introductory Period

An introductory period, sometimes referred to as a probationary period, describes a brief interval time during which a new hire “tests out” their responsibilities. This is a great way to integrate a new supervisor hire into your work environment and see how they handle the workload. During this time, you can see how your team works with your new supervisor, how well the supervisor manages their time, and if they fit the company culture. You can also collect feedback from employees to see if they’re a good match for the work culture.

Oftentimes, the introductory period lasts anywhere from 30-90 days. After it’s concluded, you can meet with the supervisor privately and discuss their experience so far. At this point, you should feel certain whether or not they are a good fit.

Identifying the Right Fit

There are a few things that can clue you into whether the new supervisor is a good match for your company, including:

  • Handling feedback with grace
  • Team-oriented mindset
  • Positive, can-do attitude
  • Unafraid to be firm when necessary
  • Committed to delivering results
  • Team members respect them
  • Accountable for their own mistakes/shortcomings
  • Push team members to do their best
  • Empathetic and understanding
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Proactive problem-solving and planning

A good supervisor inspires and motivates their team. When your employees are feeling positive and supported, it’s a strong indication you’ve picked the right person for the job. You can also identify the right fit by the attitude they bring to work. Someone who comes to work ready to succeed and uplift others is absolutely a great choice.


Hiring a supervisor is a complex process with many factors involved. However, with focus, patience, and open communication, the right fit is always nearby. Finding a supervisor who meshes well with your company has some great benefits.

Also read:

9 Goals Supervisors Should Set

8 Things Supervisors Can Do to Improve Themselves

What is the Difference Between a Manager and Supervisor?

8 Challenges of Being a Supervisor

Ari Bratsis

Team Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington state.

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Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Productivity

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