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Skillful managers play a crucial role within a company. They are in charge of making sure employees are completing tasks to the expected standard and projects are running and delivering on time.
Some of the core characteristics of the best managers include interpersonal, leadership and communication skills. It is also important for a great manager to have qualities such as building a culture based on mutual trust, being assertive while empathetic and diplomatic, being open to new ideas, and acting as a role model.
Finding a competent manager is key to ensuring the success of a business and its team and interview questions for managers are thus specifically designed for companies to assess those qualities in a candidate; they are especially interested in your management style.
The interviewer often asks various behavioral questions and situational questions in an interview for managers depending on the particular values the company is fostering.
Other qualities like carrying an inclusive DEI mindset and motivation in contributing towards CSR goals might come into consideration in an interview for a managerial position and questions asked in it.
To clearly and coherently display those characteristics might seem a daunting task, but we’ve got you covered with our guide and sample manager interview questions and answers. Let us help you to nail your next management role interviews and prepare for the questions.
Preparing for a management interview might be different than preparing for questions asked in a non-managerial level interview.
Below are some guidelines on how to answer interview questions for managers.
The very first step to take when preparing for a management interview is to look at the job description. Check clearly what the expected responsibilities for this role are and make sure you understand what kind of tasks you will need to perform if successful in securing this role.
This will not only help convince the interviewer when you answer questions for a managerial interview, but it also allows you to assess whether this is the right job for you.
There has been an increasing emphasis on a candidate’s match with a company’s business culture, as more companies begin to realize the importance of finding an employee that believes in the company’s vision and mission, as well as sharing a similar outlook and attitude as his or her potential colleagues. This is especially true for managers.
This is called hiring for “cultural fit,” which is the concept of screening the alignment of values, beliefs and behavior between a potential employee and an employer, to determine the kind of cultural impact they would likely have on the company through interview questions, for both employees and managers.
It is therefore crucial to make sure you read and understand the culture of the company you are preparing a management interview for, while linking to examples that show you truly share the same views.
You can do this when asked questions about your management style in the interview. For example, if the employees at the company enjoy freedom at work, don’t give the impression that you tend to micromanage your team.
Another thing to look out for when you prepare for a management interview is to scan through the required skills and qualities for the role, which are usually included in the job description. You should match the skills and qualities mentioned to those of your own, and see whether you are able to link them to any of your past experiences and professional capabilities.
This is important as highlighting that you possess the skills and qualities required for this role in your answers to managerial interview questions indicates to the recruiter that you are a strong and attractive candidate.
It is not surprising that the STAR method is the go-to model for answering interview questions, especially ones for a manager position. It has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to communicate your responses and ideas. Using the STAR framework helps you provide the interviewer with evidence of your management skills and style when answering questions in an interview for a manager role.
The STAR method is used by discussing a specific situation, task, action and result of the situation you are describing, typically in relation to a particular competency or behavior asked when interviewing for a manager position.
Further reading: STAR Interview Method
Story-telling is key to answering interview questions for a manager role. You should treat each time you respond to a question as an opportunity to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for this role. Instead of simply listing instances from your past experiences, structure them into a story and narrate it as your answer.
When articulating a past experience or story to a managerial interview question, describe it with as much detail and clarity as possible to help the interviewer visualize it in their head. This will not only emphasize your exceptional communication skills, but also leave a stronger impression on the interviewer as a desirable candidate.
Nowadays, diversity, equity, and inclusion are increasingly important in the workplace. Managers should be familiar with DEI principles and prepare answers for diversity questions in an interview for a manager role.
Below are some examples of the most common interview questions and sample answers for supervisor positions to help you prepare for your next managerial interview.
Q: What do you do to build a positive team culture?
Sample Answer: For me, building a positive team culture is about talking openly to each other, creating an inclusive environment, and taking care of our wellbeing. There are plenty of methods to achieve this which can vary for different teams. At my last company, I helped organize a large team breakfast every month, where we rotated between catered and potluck-style gatherings, sometimes inviting other teams and guest speakers. I knew the team members enjoyed this, as it allowed us to forget about work for a short while and have the opportunity to connect with each other. This proved to be valuable in our daily job as the team began to socialize more, which contributed towards better communication and cohesiveness.
Some other common general manager interview questions:
Q: Can you describe a situation where you had to let an employee go?
Sample Answer: There was one time when a fresh graduate joined my team as a customer support specialist. As with every other team member, he had weekly one-to-one meetings with me to align objectives and set goals for the forthcoming weeks or even months, and induction training and monthly performance reviews during the probation period. After some time, I noticed he seemed to be struggling with completing his work on time and to a high standard, and the rest of the team had not been asked for help. Hence I decided to set up a meeting with the fresh graduate. I reassured him that he can always come to me or the team with questions, made sure he understood the consequences of unfinished tasks, and agreed on ways to help improve his performance. Unfortunately, not much changed in the following month and I decided to let him go. A final meeting was arranged with HR, where I explained why I’d taken such a decision and thanked him for his contribution towards building a positive team culture.
Some other common interview questions for senior managers:
Q: How would you describe your management style?
Sample Answer: I believe the best management style is a flexible yet assertive one. It’s important to adjust methods to what’s necessary at that instance, like team-building activities, stepping in and taking over, or letting the experienced team run on its own and report progress. There was a cross-functional team that I led in the past where they began to underdeliver after a period of time. I discovered it was down to differences in communication styles that led to negative feelings towards some project team members. I then designed some relaxed communication-based exercises over tea and coffee for the team to mingle with each other and strengthen their teamworking skills. It took a couple more sessions to see a more visible improvement, but eventually a more suitable communication style was discovered for the team and we managed to beat the sales target by 15%!
Some other common interview questions for first-time managers:
Q: How do you delegate responsibilities within the team?
Sample Answer: The first thing I do is to identify my team members’ personal strengths. Once I understand the group as a network of individuals, I can then delegate the tasks in order to build an efficient team. In my previous role, I had a monthly meeting with each member of my department to review their progress, issues they might have been experiencing and any opportunities they wanted to pursue. One employee felt that her strengths were not being fully utilized, so I found some more challenging responsibilities for her, where she went on to lead a new project launch in another department as a secondment. She thoroughly enjoyed it and thanked me for the opportunity. Our entire department’s productivity had also increased as a result, helping us win the top-performing team title in the department.
Some other common team management interview questions:
Q: How do you handle conflict between team members?
Sample Answer: In my previous role where I led the customer support team, two employees had a miscommunication about which parts of the project they needed to complete, leaving a large gap in our project close to the deadline. This led to a disagreement between the two team members, as both of them insisted they had done their part. I reviewed the correspondence between the two employees and found that they had both misunderstood their roles in this project. I reassigned the remaining tasks to both employees and a supporting member from the team based on their availability, and we eventually still managed to deliver the project on time for our client. Shortly after, the three of us worked on a new task delegation process so the issue would not happen again in the future.
Some other common interview questions about conflict management:
At the end of each interview, there is typically time for any questions the interviewee may have, with the same for managerial interviews. This is the chance to ‘interview’ your recruiter and dig deeper into anything that you want to know but hasn’t been discussed.
Examples of good questions you can ask in an interview for managerial roles:
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--- Originally written by Wayne Chang ---