Interview questions for a branch manager can seem intimidating and difficult to answer when you first hear them. And, since many individuals believe the most challenging part of getting a job is the interview, this certainly does not make the process any easier.
Some believe the only way to prepare for such interviews is through hours and hours of studying every day, buying interview help books, and doing other similar tasks.
However, there are much more efficient and less stressful ways to prepare for your branch manager interview, saving you both time and money while boosting your confidence.
In this article, we will cover the most common branch manager interview questions and how you can respond to them.
What are Employers and Hiring Managers Looking for when Interviewing People for a Branch Manager Role?
Even companies in the same industry have vastly different expectations for their branch managers. This is due to leaders having different goals, customers, technology, relationships within the industry, and many other factors.
As a result, it is difficult to give an exact list of skills every branch manager needs to have for success. Still, there are some strengths and abilities that are valued by nearly every employer seeking a branch manager. They include:
Leadership and management skills
Being a great leader is crucial for any manager, especially a branch manager. You will have dozens, maybe even hundreds, of employees under your leadership as this type of manager. As a result, you need to step up to the plate and fulfill your leadership duties.
For one, you must communicate clearly. This also means being a great active listener, and being there when your employees need you. All of these steps contribute to you being a better leader, but you must always be open to additional feedback to further improve your leadership abilities.
Interpersonal skills encompass a wide variety of crucially important abilities. In general, interpersonal skills are the abilities that allow you to develop strong, long-lasting relationships with your team members.
These skills include negotiation, active listening, empathy, avoiding and managing conflicts, being a team player, and a wide variety of additional skills.
When you have these skills, you are more trusted by employees. They are more willing to listen to you and view you positively as a leader.
Communication is the core of nearly every team. You need to be a clear communicator, who outlines your goals and projects to others. In addition to this, though, you must also be an active listener. Listening is just as important as speaking if you wish to be a great communicator.
It shows your engagement and interest in your team, too. When you communicate clearly, you are also more persuasive and help ensure that the team is on the same page. Thus, you will boost team cohesiveness and productivity.
Organizational abilities benefit anyone in nearly any industry. They allow you to free up time doing frivolous tasks to help you focus on what matters most. This typically leads to more satisfaction and less burnout in one’s career.
In addition to this, organizational skills can help you avoid stress while boosting productivity. If you show you are an organized manager, you can set a great example for other people on your team. Ensure your workplace is clean and orderly, and that your online spaces are as well.
As a branch manager, you will undoubtedly be stressed at some point. You need to be able to both avoid stress whenever it is possible and manage the stress whenever you do encounter it. If you can avoid stress, many benefits will come to your team and your career.
For example, it will allow you to make decisions with a clear head, decrease your burnout, boost your loyalty and productivity, as well as help you avoid frustration.
Everyone has just 24 hours in their day. The difference between managers who surpass their goals and impress clients compared to mediocre managers is how they manage this time.
Time management is the skill you need to perfect if you wish to be a successful manager. To do this, many individuals utilize tools such as graphic organizers, planners, schedules, and to-do lists to remind them of their work.
These are all excellent tools to use. You could even set reminders and rank tasks in order of importance to further boost time management abilities.
Leadership and management are about much more than just giving out orders. It means listening to your team, genuinely caring for them, and working with your employees to develop a better future for your company as well as your clients.
Teamwork begins with being open and willing to listen. You need to be aware of not just your own strengths, but also the strengths of others to best delegate tasks. Additionally, try to help others, especially new employees. This will help you establish a more united, cohesive team.
30 Interview Questions for Branch Managers
General Interview Questions
1. Tell me something important about yourself.
When answering this question, think about what is most important to you. Ensure that you can connect these facts back to your career and your career goals.
This will show the interviewer some key facts about your personality, your values, and your goals. All of this will help the interviewer get a basic understanding for who you are before the more specific questions are asked.
You could say: “I am Josh Smith. I grew up in a small community in Texas, where science was not a priority. I was diagnosed with a skin condition as a kid. When I needed medication for my condition, I had to go to a doctor outside of my town. I saw how important medicine and pharmaceuticals were at that point, and now I am passionate about the industry. Without support from the bank, that hospital would have been shut down. This is why I want to be a leader in the banking sector.”
2. What would you like to be doing 10 years from now?
This question tests your long-term thinking abilities. The interviewer wants to see if you have a clear plan for yourself and your future.
This also reveals your career priorities and goals. To make the most impact when answering, try to connect your response back to the industry you wish to work in and potentially even the company you are applying to.
One way to respond is: “In the next 10 years, I hope to continue doing the work I am currently doing. I have a passion for helping others, and being a branch manager at a banking institution helps me do just that. In the future, I hope to advance further up the career ladder, acquiring a more senior position so I can make an even greater impact.”
3. What makes you interested in this particular role?
You need to have something specific that motivates and drives you to continue performing your duties in this career. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to do this, and the stress must be worth it.
Outline what makes you passionate about being a branch manager. Try to connect it to an emotional reason if possible, too.
A sample response would be: “I am interested in this role because I have directly seen the impact your business has on the lives of dozens of people in this town. Being a small town, I know few companies go above and beyond to help the store owners here, but your company has done an amazing job at providing loans and opportunities. I want to inspire and lead other employees to help achieve more for this town, and this role helps me do just that.”
4. Describe your most significant weakness. How do you plan to overcome it?
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Showing you are aware of your weaknesses shows you are humble and self-aware to the interviewer.
Do not respond with the cliche positive weaknesses, such as “I work too hard.” Give a genuine response. Then, note the steps that you have already taken to overcome the weakness and outline a plan you will take to continue battling the weakness.
To respond, you could say: “My most significant weakness is active listening. I sometimes feel the need to immediately respond to a point someone makes instead of hearing their entire viewpoint. To combat this weakness, I have started to wait a few seconds to ensure people are done speaking, and ask questions to clarify the speaker’s points.”
5. Which challenges do you think you will face while working here?
Every position has its list of difficulties that come along with it. This is certainly true of branch managing positions as well. You need to understand the difficulties of this job and the potential challenges you will face in the work environment.
Being aware of this shows you have done your research about the industry, and that you understand how you could fit within the team.
When responding, you could say something along the lines of: “I think the top challenge I will face when working at this company is being able to manage my time. There are so many different goals and tasks I want to accomplish. It can be tough to prioritize these tasks. But, I have been using more and more planning tools to help me with time management.”
6. Do you enjoy leading teams, or do you feel discomfort?
Some individuals simply dislike being in charge. However, if you wish to be the best branch manager you could be, you need to have excellent leadership skills. Any fear or discomfort you feel should be worked on.
Highlight times when your leadership has made a difference in your prior teams, and how you felt at that time. Note the positive emotions you associate with leadership as well.
You could respond with something along the lines of: “I love to lead. With the ability to lead, comes the ability to inspire. I want to be there for individuals when they need my help. I want to inspire them to keep pushing forward when times are tough. This will create the next generations of employees for this business that are truly passionate.”
Experience and Background Interview Questions
7. Do you have any experience in banking? If so, describe it.
At first, you may not understand the tie between entry-level banking and branch management. However, there are many skills that are interwoven between these two disciplines. Many managers have to be aware of finances to succeed in their projects.
They have to work within budgets and keep in contact with loan suppliers. As such, if you have banking experience, use it to your advantage. Being a bench manager means being present in the banking industry, too.
A sample response would be: “I do have a bit of experience with banking. I did some work in banking when I was in college. I had an internship with a large banking company during this time period as well. There, I learned some of the basics of banking, which I still remember.”
8. Are there some coworker personalities that you have a difficult time working with? If so, which?
The reality is that every individual struggles with getting along with someone else. Usually, certain personalities do not work well together. By asking you this question, the interviewer is trying to understand specifically which coworker types you would like to avoid.
If they find you describe many individuals similar to those on their existing team, they will likely not hire you. On the other hand, if you have a personality profile that fits in with the team, you will be looked at positively.
One way to respond is: “I do struggle with working with certain individuals, although it is rare for me to encounter such people. One personality type that I do not work well with is those who are uncommitted and clearly not passionate about their work. I know how important my job is, and seeing someone not care is extremely disrespectful. I would like to avoid such coworkers.”
9. What were some of the biggest issues you faced when being in a branch manager or other leadership role? What did you do to resolve the issue?
Even the greatest leaders will face challenges and problems. They need to know how to overcome problems and have strong problem-solving skills.
Highlight some of the biggest struggles you had, and then, describe the approach you used to solve the issue. Highlight your leadership abilities, relationship-building skills, conflict resolution, communication abilities, or other key skills.
For instance, you could respond with: “The biggest issue I faced during my last job was ensuring that all employees were engaged. We had statistics that showed over 60% of employees were disengaged. I incentivized productivity and continuously checked in with employees to make sure they had the tools they need to stay productive. In the end, the disengaged employee percentage dropped to just 10% while I was a manager.”
10. What separates the best branch managers from the rest, in your opinion?
Every manager is different. They have unique personalities, approaches to leadership, communication strategies, and goals as well as values.
When you answer this question, you highlight your beliefs on which strengths are most essential. This gives the interviewer a peek into which strengths you are trying to build for yourself.
A sample response would be: “The best branch managers are great communicators. They are always there for their teams, and they express their goals in a very clear way. This helps keep the team united and on the same page. In addition, their communication also includes great listening. I will always actively listen to employees so we can build trust.”
11. Which goals should be top priorities for branch managers?
Like the previous question, this query seems general. However, the way you answer will indirectly show the interviewer the skills and goals which are most important to you.
For instance, if you say customer satisfaction should be a top priority for branch managers, it is likely that you will focus on customer satisfaction if you get the job. Likewise, if you say strong employee/manager relationships are crucial, that will likely be your focus.
A way to respond is: “The top priority for branch managers should be to ensure customers are satisfied. Everything the business does should be to the benefit of the customers. The branch manager should unite the team behind a common goal of assisting all of their clients and delivering products that far surpass their expectations.”
12. What were prior experiences with management? Have you ever held a leadership position?
Experience should always be used to your advantage. This is not to say that if you do not have experience, you cannot acquire the job you dream of. Rather, if you do have experience, you should highlight that you do.
It gives interviewers an assurance that your management strategies have been tested, and that you are aware of the struggles that could come along with a management position.
When responding, you could say something along the lines of: “I have over a decade of experience in management. I was a branch manager for the Giant Eagle grocery store in this town for over 5 years. I have worked in retail management as well.”
13. Were your ethics and values ever tested while you were at work? Describe this experience to me if you have one.
Values are one of the most important factors in deciding who gets hired and who does not. Values are what guide an individual’s decision-making, and you need to have values that align with the company you are applying to if you wish to acquire the job.
If you describe a time when you stood by your values in a difficult time at work, you will seem principled and committed, both great qualities for a manager.
As a response, you could say: “I have had several moments in my career when my values and principles were tested. For example, an employee was very productive, but he insulted the religion of numerous coworkers. I stand for equality and equity, so I could not allow this to repeatedly occur. In the end, I ended up firing him for the behavior, even though he was one of our most productive individuals.”
14. How do you approach discipline in the workplace?
Disciplining employees is one of the toughest parts of any manager’s job. However, branch managers must know the ins and outs of discipline styles to truly ensure their team is efficient.
If they let repeatedly inappropriate acts by employees slide by unaddressed, this will cause trouble for the entire bank. Clearly outline your discipline approach and use examples of its success if you have any.
One way to respond is: “My approach to discipline is on the forgiving side. I will speak to employees that violate my standards to understand why they did this, and try to create a plan for ensuring they comply with the rules in the future. If they still ignore my efforts, only then will I consider more severe punishments, like getting fired.”
15. Describe the strategies you use for organization and prioritization at work.
Every branch manager needs to have strong organizational and time management skills. Prioritizing is one of the best ways to save yourself time and focus on the tasks that are most urgent. Doing so will boost your productivity and ability to achieve goals.
Therefore, if you want to acquire the job you applied for, highlight the strategies you use and how you can continue using them for the benefit of the new team.
When responding, you could say something along the lines of: “For organization, I use numerous tools to boost my productivity. For example, I utilize graphic organizers and planners on a daily basis. When it comes to prioritization specifically, I use to-do lists where I also rank tasks based on importance. The most important tasks are always done first.”
16. Do you have experience mentoring others? What were the impacts of your mentorship?
As a branch manager, you will likely have to mentor junior-level employees at the bank. Some of these individuals may be right out of college.
They need role models who are willing to assist them. Your assistance would benefit the entire team by boosting the new employee’s confidence and productivity. Therefore, share your mentorship experience, and highlight the positive effects it had.
A sample response is: “I do have experience mentoring others. At my last job, a new employee needed some assistance. I helped them understand the technical side of banking and how to create presentations. They thanked me, and we are still in close contact today. I have also been in a mentorship program for young bankers across the city.”
Role-specific Interview Question
17. As a branch manager, what will you focus on?
This query is similar to another one previously mentioned but focuses on your unique outlook on banking and banking goals.
This response could be anything from focusing on customer satisfaction to employee conflict resolution and unity. If you have banking innovations you seek to introduce as a branch manager, you could state that as well.
When responding, you could say something such as: “My top concern as a branch manager will be the satisfaction of our customers. I want to have consistent feedback systems in place so we can understand our team’s strengths and weaknesses. I will create plans to further improve our strengths and overcome weaknesses based on the customer’s feedback.”
18. How would you keep track of productivity and performance?
Ensuring that employees stay productive is a crucially important aspect of being a manager. After all, many companies are finding a significant portion of their workforce disengaged.
Such employees hold back progress and decrease success in banks especially. Therefore, you need to have a strategy for measuring productivity, reacting to performance drops, and speaking to employees about how to improve performance.
A sample response is: “I will keep track of productivity and performance by using customer feedback mechanisms. At the end of bank interactions, customers will be prompted to rate their bank representatives and offer feedback. Feedback surveys are also provided to customers via email. Additionally, bank employees will be promoted to rate their fellow employees as well.”
19. Describe KPIs. What is the purpose of benchmarking and how is it done?
There are many ways to measure an employee’s performance. One of the most commonly used strategies is using KPIs or key performance indicators.
KPIs can help a manager understand an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, how well they achieve goals, their productivity, and many other aspects of their work. By explaining what a KPI is and how it is used, you show your awareness and knowledge about the industry, especially banking specifically.
One way to respond is: “A KPI is a key performance indicator. With KPIs, I can understand what employees are succeeding at and what they need some extra assistance on. I use them as tools for better delegating tasks, addressing inefficiency, and more. Benchmarking is comparing business practices to an industry standard. With KPIs, I can compare my team’s performance to that of the gold standard to better understand our strengths and weaknesses.”
20. What information do you include in forecasts?
Bank forecasts are estimates that note the expected number of clients, profit, employees, and key performance metrics of a certain branch. As a branch manager, it is your duty to collect this data and communicate it to regional and national leaders.
Your forecasts can include unique information that you find the most important. When you answer, your prioritization will become evident to the interviewer. They want to see how unique your prioritization style is and if it fits their needs.
When answering, you could say something along the lines of: “I believe that our national and regional leaders need to see the key customer feedback we receive as a team. This will help me determine what to include in the report. For example, I could include how efficient and productive the team is, and the number of positive feedback notes as well as profits and financial statements.”
21. What is your strategy for delegating tasks?
Delegating tasks and keeping the team united are two key skills that branch managers must have. Every manager utilizes a unique style of delegation. Some give employees more input, while others are more authoritarian.
Research what the bank prefers, and see if the job description mentions anything about delegation. Connect your leadership style back to why it is beneficial to the team and the customers.
A sample response is: “I give my team a significant amount of input opportunities when delegating tasks. I need to make sure I align their tasks to their strengths, and nobody knows their strengths better than themselves. Additionally, this helps me build better bonds with employees.”
22. Describe your leadership approach.
There are a wide variety of leadership methods leaders across the globe utilize. Some are extremely authoritarian and ‘rule’ their teams with an iron fist. Others are democratic and seek input from their team when making decisions.
Regardless of what your leadership style is, ensure that you highlight the benefits of the style. Specifically, state how it would benefit the existing team of the company you just applied to.
For instance, you could say: “I use a coaching style of leadership. I ensure that I am open to input from any of my team members, and I try to build solid, trusting relationships with them. In addition, I am always open to mentoring new employees. I like to work closely with my team and unite them under a common goal with my leadership.”
23. Which management practices do you consider to be your best? Describe your top 2 or 3.
Just like there are many leadership strategies used globally, there is also a wide variety of management practices. However, some strategies will likely dominate your management style.
Therefore, you should highlight these strategies and why they will be beneficial to your new team as well as the customers. If you have examples of you successfully using these strategies, note them as well.
A sample response could be: “My most commonly used management practice is planning. I plan and organize teams quite often. In fact, I was in charge of scheduling when I was a junior banker. My second management tool would be implementing new technologies. I experiment with technology because I have seen firsthand how much it can boost productivity.”
24. What is your plan for boosting this branch’s revenue?
As a branch manager, you will be in charge of ensuring your branch is financially successful. This means you should consistently increase profits and revenue. You cannot just state this is your goal, though. Instead, you must also provide a solid plan for achieving this goal.
Include how your leadership would be instrumental in increasing revenue, and highlight how your strengths can contribute to a boost in revenue.
A sample response is: “My plan for boosting this branch’s revenue starts with more customer feedback to identify our strengths and weaknesses. I will also be performing productivity checks consistently. In addition to this, I plan to focus on advertising, specifically creating unique advertising to boost our revenue.”
Behavioral Interview Questions
25. Tell me about a time when you had to assist a difficult customer. What happened in this interaction?
As a branch manager, you will have to work with and assist a large number of customers with diverse beliefs, personalities, goals, and needs.
Some of them may be excellent, respectful clients, while others are the exact opposite: rude, difficult to deal with, angry, and otherwise unpleasant.
You need to know how to work with both of these customer types. Highlight a time you did so successfully to prove you can.
One way you could answer is: “Yes, I have had to assist some difficult clients. For example, one woman had recently joined our branch as a customer and she could not stop insulting the employees trying to help her with a fraud case. She was blaming our employees for overseas fraud. I intervened and clearly outlined that these insults would not be allowed in my bank, which made her calm down. Later, I helped her with the case.”
26. What was the most difficult situation you encountered at work? Do you think you used the right approach, or would you change it given the chance?
With difficult clients and difficult employees come difficult situations. You need to manage your stress during these difficult times and use all of your strengths to make the best decisions for your team.
By showing that you can recognize and work well in difficult situations, you show your stress management abilities and decision-making skills. Interviewers believe both of these skills are some of the most important to branch managers.
To respond, you could say something along the lines of: “The most difficult situation I encountered during my work was when two employees physically attacked one another. I had to intervene immediately and separate both of them. In the end, this behavior is unacceptable, so I fired both of them.”
27. Tell me about a time you had to make a tough decision. What did you end up doing?
As a manager, you will be in charge of making some incredibly important decisions. Along with this duty typically comes stress and pressure. However, you need to be resilient when facing this stress and have a clear process in mind when making tough decisions.
If the interviewer sees your strategy for making these decisions, they may be more inclined to hire you as long as it matches their company’s needs.
For instance, you could respond with: “One of the most difficult decisions I had to make at my last managerial job was whether or not to release information about a client, who had millions of dollars in their company’s account but was recently involved in crime, to the local police in my former country. In the end, I complied with the police, since I believe law is crucially important to follow.”
28. Which strategies do you use to boost team motivation? What were the results of using these strategies?
Motivation and discipline are both extremely important if you want to achieve your goals. The same is true of a team working in the banking industry. For you as a leader, knowing how to motivate others is crucial. They depend on your skills and inspiration to keep fighting and achieve their goals.
Highlight the top strategies you used to make your team more motivated, and the many benefits it brought to your last team. The interviewer knows those benefits might transfer to their team as well.
A sample answer is: “The strategy I use to empower my employees and motivate them is to remind them of the reason they decided to work here. I remind them of the impact their work has on millions of people across the globe, and how important it is. Additionally, I learn more about their goals and remind them of their unique importance.”
29. Which experiences have best prepared you for this position?
Experience is one of the first factors a company looks at to ensure you fulfill the requirements for the job. Look over the experience requirements listed in the job description and highlight that you meet them.
Then, note the unique experiences that set you apart from the many other candidates that meet the baseline requirements, but do not surpass them.
You could say something like: “Numerous experiences have prepared me for this position. I have worked in the banking industry for over 30 years. During that time, I have worked at small local banks and large national companies. I know how both operate and have seen a wide variety of clients, too.”
30. What are your goals for the future (think long-term)?
Your long-term goals reveal an immense amount about your personality, values, aspirations, and your potential future in the company.
This could be the determining factor for whether or not you acquire the job. Ensure that you highlight your desire to stay in the industry for the long term when answering the question. This makes you seem committed and loyal.
When answering, you could say something along the lines of: “My top goal for the future is to create a team that serves their customers better than any other team in the region. I want to be known as the team that goes above and beyond for their customers. I would also hope to become a regional or even national leader in the long term future, so I can make the most significant impact on the organization’s clients.”
Questions for You to Ask in a Branch Manager Job Interview
Now that you are aware of some of the most commonly asked questions during a branch manager job interview, it is crucial to differentiate yourself. You need to take advantage of the opportunity to highlight your unique level of passion and engagement.
You may be wondering: how exactly do I do this? The simplest and quickest way to stand out from other candidates is to ask the interviewer questions that highlight your interest in the industry and the position you applied to.
These questions include:
- By when are you looking to hire your next branch manager?
- Will I report to regional leaders, national leaders, or someone else?
- Am I responsible for training new employees? Will I need to go through training before starting this job?
- What is your company’s strategy for performance reviews?
- How would you describe the top managers and executives of this company?
- What does an ideal branch manager look like for this company?
How To Prepare for a Branch Manager Job Interview
After reading the many interview questions you could potentially be asked, you are hopefully starting to feel more confident about your preparation for the interview. However, there are other steps you could take to further boost your odds of acquiring the job of your dreams.
To begin, do not just look at the list of potential questions without thinking about them. Consider some of the potential responses you could give the interviewer.
Go through each of the top questions, and make a brief written response. Look back on your career for moments to reflect on during the interview.
In addition, ensure that you have read over the company’s main website. That may include key information about the business. Look over the job description for the role you are applying to.
Ensure you meet all of the requirements. Finally, you should also talk to people who work at the company if you know any to get additional insights.
There are a few other ways to prepare for a job interview as a branch manager. One of these methods is called STAR, and it is extremely popular. STAR is an acronym that stands for situation, task, action, and result. The method helps you give excellent narratives that are clear and powerful.
S stands for the situation. Therefore, highlight what was going on in the narrative you are trying to tell (include the setting and people as well). T is the task, or what you were tasked with doing and your role in the situation. A is for action, or the list of steps you performed during the narrative. And finally, R is for the result, or the outcomes of your actions.
What are the Top Priorities of a Branch Manager?
Every branch manager is different. They work for different companies, have different goals, different customers, and much more. However, there should be a few factors at the top of any branch manager’s priority list.
For example, they should all care about customer satisfaction and the service their customers receive. In addition, all branch managers should care about their employee’s passion as well as engagement.
Finally, great branch managers prioritize uniting their team under common goals and achieving overarching goals to help their customers.
What Is the Main Role of the Branch Manager?
Branch managers are a diverse group of individuals. They have to wear many hats since they must perform so many tasks and fulfill so many responsibilities. One of the main roles of the branch manager is delegating tasks.
They are responsible for ensuring everyone has something to work on, and that the task is aligned with the employee’s strengths. In addition, they often give presentations, evaluate customer feedback, generate revenue growth strategies, and much more.
What Are the Skills of a Branch Manager?
A branch manager needs to maintain many skills to be successful in their career. One of the most crucially important abilities for a branch manager is strong communication. They must be clear speakers and great at delegating tasks, but also fantastic at actively listening.
Branch managers must have interpersonal and leadership skills to build trusting relationships with their teams. In addition, they must also have great organizational abilities, stress resistance, and time management skills.