The Scrum Master role is critical when dealing with project management methods. So much so that the success of an entire project is dependent on the strength and ability of your Scrum Master to keep your team on track and delivering value. That’s why, when conducting job interviews, it’s essential to come prepared with solid interview questions for Scrum Master candidates that can help identify potential strengths and challenges in your candidates.
Below you’ll find some excellent scrum master interview questions to help you learn more about your candidate, their experience, and skill set. You will also find some guidance on the kind of insight each question provides and how that can be useful.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">💡 Remember: A job interview is a two-way street—your candidate is also interviewing you about what it is like to work at your company. They need to feel confident in their decision to join your team. Be ready to answer candidate questions and share information that’d get them excited about accepting an offer to be your next Scrum Master.</p></div>
Beyond what’s written on the CV or job application, you’ll want to hear directly from your candidate about their Scrum Master background. How did they get to where they are now? What or who inspired them to start a career in this industry? There’s a lot more to a person than what’s on paper.
Listen for: An easy-to-follow story of how they landed a career as a Scrum Master. Be aware of your unconscious bias when hearing their answer — they don’t have to have a linear career path and there’s no right or wrong answer. Remember that it’s okay if your candidate has taken a somewhat unconventional career route.
📣 Check out our essential hiring guide on how to interview someone
This question can help you gauge whether their career aspirations align with your needs as an employer. It will also help you gain a deeper understanding of their motivators which is an integral part of keeping employees happy, productive and loyal.
Listen for: Identifiers as to what makes this person tick and what it will take to help you keep them around for the long haul. That could be money, growth opportunities or a passion for the work. It’s important to listen without judgment and try to meet them where they’re at.
Ideally your candidate would have done their research on your company values. However, depending on your interview stage, it’s also possible your candidate may not be super familiar with this information. Be sure to share a proper introduction to your company, including your values and what they mean to you as a team before you ask this question. Their answer will help you figure out if your values are aligned.
Listen for: Someone who is particularly interested in the company’s future. People who are already thinking of ways to help your company are valuable assets.
Their answer will let you know if they see themselves thriving in your particular work environment and what they’ll bring to the team.
Listen For: Examples of their strong communication skills, a collaborative spirit, and leadership qualities. Their answer should also demonstrate organizational skills and attention to detail.
Every role comes with its fair share of trials and tribulations, and a Scrum Master’s is no different. Ask this question to get insight into what challenges your candidate foresees. Who knows? They may even teach you something about the role based on their own previous experiences.
Listen for: How they’ve previously overcome their challenges and limitations in the workplace. What has been their greatest struggle? How have they dealt with those challenges? The vital part of their answer will tell you how they handle adversity and problem-solve to overcome it.
Ask this question to get a sense of what your candidate enjoys most about being a Scrum Master and also how they might stay up to date on the latest industry trends. They may also mention something they’ve recently learned about being a Scrum Master.
Listen for: A sense of passion in their response. An ideal candidate enjoys what they do and should also see that there is always room to learn and grow in their career.
The definition itself should be relatively simple and easy to understand. Your candidate should also be able to speak about the importance of Scrum and how it can benefit your team and add value to your business.
Listen for: Your candidate’s ability to address ways that Scrum can help your company specifically. They should have a strong idea of what it means to be a Scrum Master and why it’s a vital role for an Agile team. Additionally, listen out for mention of the artifacts of Scrum.
Keeping the development team operating productively is one of the main functions of the Scrum Master. This question will give insight into how much working experience your candidate has as a Scrum Master.
Listen for: Talk of removing roadblocks that impede the team’s productivity. You will also want to listen for examples like facilitating team discussions and Daily Scrum meetings.
There are many widespread benefits to using Scrum in your organization. But there are also some less talked about limitations to Scrum. It’s crucial that your Scrum Master knows how to recognize the limitations of the framework and how to overcome them as well.
Listen for: Other project management methods your candidate may have worked with in the past. They should also display an ability to recognize when Scrum won’t work for your team and how to continue the project with another management method.
With this Scrum Master interview question, you’re testing your candidates’ knowledge of Scrum events. It also gives you a subtle insight into their style as a Scrum Master.
Listen for: One of four different events that take place during the Scrum process. It can be sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review or sprint retrospectives. Your candidate should be able to elaborate on which event they prefer and why.
This is a crucial question to display how well the candidate understands the responsibilities of the role they’re interviewing for. It will also provide insight as to how experienced they are in the industry.
Listen for: An understanding of and respect for Scrum's rules, values and principles. You’ll want to learn how they remove distractions from their work environment and ensure their team delivers real value. They should also put a focus on leading their team, not managing. They understand their role is to manage roadblocks to make sure their team stays productive.
📣 Kickstart your hiring with the best recruiting software for small businesses
The answer to this question will give you an idea if your candidate is going to be able to work well with your team. Working in a collaborative environment requires shared mutual respect among everyone — no matter the seniority level.
Listen for: Talk of communication, mutual respect, teamwork and participation. Your candidate should display a sense of empathy, patience and openness in their response to how they work with others.
📣 A Guide to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the workplace
This Scrum Master interview question is all about feedback, which is a vital part of any team member’s professional growth and development. Feedback is tricky but as an employer, you need to know that your candidate can embrace any constructive feedback in a productive way, and also views feedback as a positive thing.
Listen for: Someone who speaks of feedback as an opportunity for growth and development. They can both receive and deliver feedback professionally and positively.
Continuing on with the theme of the importance of feedback, ask this interview question to get insight into what your candidate has learned from feedback in the past and how they’ve improved with it. You can make this question more interesting by opening it up to their personal life as well — there’s no doubt the feedback we get in our personal lives can positively impact our professional lives too.
Listen for: A real-life scenario and how they took on this feedback to improve themselves. And remember, an example from outside of the workplace could be incredibly enlightening!
It’s only natural that conflict among team members will happen. When it does, it’s important that a Scrum Master can resolve it quickly, with calmness, empathy and a healthy dose of communication.
Listen for: Your candidate’s ability to de-escalate a situation. You will also want to pay attention to their conflict resolution skills and how they manage to take care of their team members in the face of an internal issue. It would be helpful if they mention one-to-one meetings, encouraging team members to come up with a solution and bringing the issue to leadership only if necessary.
This is a big question to answer but nonetheless an important one to ask! Your Scrum Master candidate should display prioritization and smart multi-tasking skills. Additionally, they should be able to identify tools and techniques to maintain organization.
Listen for: Their ability to prioritize their workload, manage their time well, delegate to their team and communicate to stakeholders.
The five Scrum values — commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect — are what drives a Scrum team and the Scrum Master’s success. A Scrum Master candidate should be very familiar with these values and have a strong connection to some or all of them. They should also be able to explain why any of these values are important to them.Listen for: How they have applied these five values to their work in the past and how they will carry them with them in future roles, namely as your potential Scrum Master.
The goal of this question is to learn how a Scrum candidate handles mistakes in their role. The truth is, mistakes are inevitable — communication may break down, team members may run into issues or details may be missed. What you’re looking for in a candidate is how they deal with those roadblocks to come out on top.
Listen for: A real-world scenario. You want to hear that they displayed sound judgment, applied logic to the situation, and collaborated with their team to resolve the problem.
📣 A collection of hiring templates to make your life 10x easier
It’s likely your candidate will encounter this at some point or another in their career and it’s their job as Scrum Master to keep everything in check. They need the ability to be empathetic while also figuring out a fix for the issue so the task can be completed successfully and on schedule.
Listen for: How they approach the situation with the team member, ideally in a one-to-one conversation. They should also mention how they work to create an open and understanding work environment while providing suggestions and support for team members.
This is your candidate's chance to brag and demonstrate their abilities. It will provide you with a glimpse into their personality as well as their passion and dedication to their work as a Scrum Master.
Listen for: Excitement or pride as they talk about their accomplishments. Listen out for what motivates them and consider if you as an employer can meet that motivational need — Is it money for them and their family? Promotion potential?
In an increasingly remote-first world, it’s likely that you’re looking for a Scrum Master with remote work experience or a preference for remote work. Your candidate will need to understand the limitations of remote work and how to excel despite them.
Listen for: Examples of strong communication skills, adaptability, organizational skills and solution-based action. Also make sure they understand the importance of being accessible to their remote team members.
Being a Scrum Master comes with a lot of responsibilities — one being the infamous sprint planning. These meetings are incredibly importance to Agile teams and help make sure a Scrum team runs smoothly. It’s possible that a team member may become bored of the meetings and eventually skeptical of their effectiveness. It’s a Scrum Master’s job to get to the bottom of this.
Listen for: What the candidate does to come up with a solution. They should first try to understand why the team member is feeling this way. They should also communicate to them that each Scrum team member is integral to the project, as are Scrum planning meetings.
Now that you’ve armed yourself with the essential interview questions for a Scrum Master, it’s time to get set up with the right hiring tool. 🎉
Homerun helps you organize and streamline your interview process, creating a positive experience for candidates (and making it a piece of cake for you). With Homerun you can:
Ready to get started? 💪
<div class="explainer-block color-bg-lightskyblue"><img src="https://assets.website-files.com/58d684124f3644b01d649b26/611e5c54aba88f50fff715d1_cover-organize-big.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="banner-image padding-top" data-airgap-id="23"><div class="div-block-243"><div class="h3">Grow your team with Homerun<br></div><p>Organize your hiring and interview workflow so you can focus on the important stuff: hiring your next talented Scrum Master.</p><div class="btn-container horizontal"><a target="_self" href="https://www.homerun.co/product/collaborate" class="btn-primary color-black w-button">Learn more</a></div>