tips for successfully passing an interview for Scrum Master position

Last post 09:31 am November 13, 2014
by Ludwig Harsch
3 replies
04:41 pm November 12, 2014

Hello guys,

I am appointed for an interview next week for the Scrum Master position at a respectable german company. I am currently acting as an Agile PM and recently passed PSM I.

What tips can you share for getting prepared for such an interview, practices, personal experience, questions that you were asked if you passed similar interviews.

Your input is much appreciated.

05:13 pm November 12, 2014

Be able to recall a time when you - helped the team navigate through conflict, removed impediments for the team, had to enforce scrum or how you have taught an agile value in the moment (the best time for teaching). What different methods of retrospectives have you used? which was most effective & why? How do you foster a self-organizing team?
I would also do plenty of research on the company and find out what their vision or mission is and ask questions on how your job will help them achieve that.
Always be prepared with 5-10 questions that you want to ask/learn about from the company or position. How can you help them improve? Is there a community of practice for SMs at the company? If not, would they be opposed to you starting one?
Be aware of yourself and what accomplishments you have helped your team achieve.
Be open and honest. An interview is a 2 way conversation.

08:19 am November 13, 2014

Hi Adrian,

if the interview were at my (also German) company, it would be really recommendable to show understanding for the company's current situation. As people are often afraid of changes, improvements are facilitated when they feel understood by the "improver" and know why which action is taken. Make sure your interviewers see that you don't just want to impose your "known best practices" on them.
Be aware of your best practices but do also show willingness to call for help if you're not sure about a method.

A sensible question could also be what "Scrum" means for them. Because many companies (or sometimes the teams themselves) call their processes "Scrum" but it's something completely different.

And, I think, Tim is right: Be open and honest. The pillars of Scrum (Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation) are also useful for every collaboration - independent from the applied processes.

Good luck!!

09:31 am November 13, 2014

As an addition to what Tim and Anke said:
If the interviewer is experienced, on a PSM II level, you should not use the expression "best practices" at all. You know there is not one "best" practice in a complex environment. Instead you can work with the team to find good practices that work for them via inspect and adapt.