Overall, when screening for potential, look for signs of stepping up, caring about the people on the team, and thoughtfulness about the processes. In general you should also be looking for excellent communication skills, and everyone who interviews the person should feel pretty comfortable with the idea of working for them.
Hiring Engineering Managers: Screening For Potential
Camille Fournier

Excellent advice here. I’ve found from experience that it’s much harder to teach a senior engineer and budding manager these skills as it is to teach technical skills.

Personally I’d favour an applicant whose empathic, has good communication skills and is eager to lead people over the battle tested senior developer who just wants to move up in their career.

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