Interview questions for managers are often convoluted and difficult to understand. This creates an immense amount of stress and confusion. Interviews are already extremely stressful, so any additional queries only add to the frustration managers feel when preparing for job interviewers.
Anyone who has ever been in a management role knows nailing the interview is absolutely crucial to career success. It is your first impression, and it could potentially change the outcome of your entire career. Interviews do not have to stressful, though.
In fact, there are some straightforward ways to prepare and decrease stress. In this article, we will articulate the most common interview questions for managers and how you can address them.
What are employers and hiring managers looking for when interviewing potential managers?
Every hiring manager and employer works with a unique company. These companies have different goals, company culture, and values, and thus seek out different managerial skills in their job applicants.
Nonetheless, nearly all employers can agree that there are some universal soft skills and technical abilities that make a candidate well suited to be a manager. Just a few of the skills that could help you acquire the manager position of your dreams include:
It is almost obvious that managers would (of course) require manager skills. However, not many individuals truly understand what is meant by this skillset. Managerial skills encompass far more than just speech and leadership.
The way you build relationships with others, your mentorship abilities, organization, and many other aspects are included within this overarching skillset.
Qualifications and certifications on the subject matter
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to understanding the exact qualifications you will need to acquire your job. However, a good place to start is by looking at the job description for the position you would like to acquire.
There a plethora of different qualifications and certifications they could ask for, but they typically center around some form of traditional education (such as college degrees). This will prove your knowledge on the subject matter.
You may believe that because managers are the leaders, they do not have to have strong teamwork skills. This could not be further from the truth. Project managers, and managers in general, need to know how to unite individuals under a common goal.
They should know how to use their communication skills to create strong bonds between team members and boost commitment in the team. All of this can be tied back to teamwork. Without a cohesive team led by a manager with teamwork skills, the team could be doomed.
Time management is a universally beneficial trait to acquire. No one will scold you for being efficient and saving time as well as money fir your company! If you can master your time management abilities, you will become far more productive.
It will not only save you time, but it will also save you frustration. Additionally, those who know how to manage their time spend less time of menial activities and more time on the tasks they find most meaningful. This could be extremely powerful, as it boosts your emotional satisfaction.
Accountability and organization
Another two crucial skills to acquire, accountability and organization are necessary to succeed when becoming a manager. These skills are much simpler to acquire when compared to the other abilities on this list.
Simply start by organizing your physical space, then declutter your online space, and begin to use to-do lists as well as other planners. Accountability is taking ownership of your actions. It requires no talent, just a commitment to honesty.
Knowing how to solve problems effectively gives you a huge advantage over other managers. These are the skills that give your team a competitive advantage over others; they spur innovation and decrease in efficiency immensely.
Problem-solving skills will save your team time and frustration. They will allow you to focus on more pressing issues instead of spending hours trying to decide the best course of action for every problem.
Resilience to stress or provocations
As a manager, you are near the top of the corporate leadership pyramid (at least for your smaller team). There are more responsibilities that come along with this power, and along with these responsibilities come stress.
Your managerial duty is to effectively respond to this stress so it does not negatively impact your entire team.
Become familiar with common techniques to reduce stress, like taking deep breaths. Also, be prepared to have provocations from time to time. These conflicts are a part of the job, too, and you must avoid them and navigate them as well.
35 Interview Questions for Managers & Team Leaders
If you have ever gone through the process of applying for a job, you can likely attest to just how difficult, drawn-out, and stressful the interview process is. In fact, many people believe that preparing for the interview is even more daunting than actually being in the interview.
As such, they spend hours and hours wondering which questions their interviewer could ask them. To save you some time, we have complied a list of the most common questions you could be asked for your manage interview:
1. Tell Me About Yourself
During nearly every interview, you will be asked a generic question such as “tell me about yourself.” Interviewers like questions like this since they are so open-ended and could be taken in nearly any direction.
When answering this question, you should highlight your background, your values, and your passions. These three factors are extremely important to your overall personality, and should all be understood by the interviewer before they hire you.
2. What makes you wish to change your job?
Interviewers do not want to hire mangers who applied to a job simply because they were fired from their last job. Instead, they want individuals who are seeking out a particular purpose in their work.
This purpose, this drive and motivation, is what will show the interviewer you are committed to this new job. Those who simply apply to workplaces because they were fired do not have the same level of commitment.
3. Tell me about our organization.
Doing your research and homework in advance reflects positively on you as a candidate. By answering this question, the interviewer is testing your level of preparedness. The level you prepare now is likely going to be continued throughout the entirety of your career.
Being prepared, managing time well, and staying organized are all key to success in business. So, it crucial for study the company values and goals of the organization you are applying to.
4. What makes you attracted to this business in particular?
The individual conducting the interview wants you to be a loyal employee. They do not want workers who only stay with them for a short period of time, as high turnover hurts most businesses.
Therefore, knowing why you are committed to their business in particular and what attracts them to work in this organization is important. You should touch in why your values and goals align with the values and goals of their company.
5. Tell me about the meaning of manager from your perspective.
Managing is about more than just dictating rules and tasks to a team. It is also about listening to others, pursuing your values, fulfilling s company mission, inspiring the next generation of workers in your industry, being a mentor, and so much more.
Interviewers want answers that are deep and connect beyond just the textbook definition of management. They want to know the deeper emotional meaning behind this work, the very purpose of this work, too.
6. Describe your most recent job experience.
Experienced job candidates usually get priority in interviews. Therefore, you should take any opportunity you get to display your prior work experience. Ensure you highlight why it was meaningful. Touch on what you learned from that job and how you may implement it in your future work.
Also, describe the impact you had on your last team in your prior job. Especially highlight this if you had a management position or leadership role.
7. Which skills did you acquire from your prior job?
As a follow up to the prior question, many interviewers will ask you the above query. Great managers know they need to consistently be learning and stay open-minded. Those that stagnant and are close-minded typically do not perform well in these positions.
By describing which specific skills you acquired from your last job, you will also give the interviewer an idea of some of the ways you could contribute to their team.
8. Suppose you do get hired. What are goals and plans for the first 30-90 days on the job?
Having career goals and being prepared to take action on day one are great qualities for managers. Your answer to this question describes how prepared you are to enter the workplace. It also shows the interviewer some of your top priorities as manager.
It gives a peek into your frame of mind, your value structure, and how you would lead in the very beginning of your career.
9. Are you considering any other jobs? If so, which?
You should be a focused and committed employee. When you are considering many other jobs and opportunities, you will appear disorganized and uncommitted to the employer.
This will negatively reflect in you as a candidate, and thus decrease your chances of acquiring the job you are being interviewed for. If you are considering other job, be sure you articulate why and how these jobs are similar to the work you are applying to.
10. Do you have any salary expectations? And if so, specifically what are they?
Salary is a touchy topic for interviews. It is, after all, the first time you have met the interviewer, and you are already asking them to do a favor for you by paying you a certain amount.
Therefore, you should try to focus more on your passion and willingness to work with your higher-ups when deciding a salary instead of giving a set amount.
11. How would contribute to our organization?
Every employee need to contribute something meaningful to their organization. If they do not, they are not meant to stay employed in that company and are holding back the organization. You need to clearly articulate the ways you can add value to their business. This is especially true since you are near the top of the job position hierarchy.
12. Which quality does you know you still need to improve?
Interviewers know that there is no such thing as a perfect job candidate. These expectations are unrealistic and unhelpful. They want candidates that are willing to admit their flaws and weaknesses. This humbleness is ultimately key to self improvement.
After all, you will not be able to overcome your weaknesses if you do not know they exist. This question will also test your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable.
13. Which of your qualities indicate you would perform well in this job?
As important as recognizing and admitting your weaknesses is, it is also key to be confident. This is ultimately a balancing act. You should also be able to clearly state the top strengths, qualities, and experiences that set you apart as the superior candidate in a pool of a plethora of other individuals. These unique abilities will help you stand out and be memorable to the interviewer.
14. Which work environments are you most familiar with?
Questions such as this one are meant to help the interviewer discover your background and gain insight into your prior experiences.
By telling the interviewer about your prior work environment, they can make a better decision on whether or not you are well suited for the environment their company had created. This will aid them in making the decision of who to hire.
15. Was there ever a time when performing your daily managerial activities became a struggle? How did you overcome these difficulties?
Nearly everyone goes through periods of time where they lose their motivation, tackle immense challenges, fail despite giving the work their best effort, or any other experience that leads to them struggling as a manager.
It will likely happen again, even if you learned from this experience. With this question, you should note how you still said focused and dedicated to your work, even when the times got tough. You should also describe the strategies you used to overcome this tough time.
16. Which part of being manager gives you the most satisfaction?
There are many benefits to being a manger. You get to work with many different individuals, you can assist the next generation of employees, and you get to build more intimate relationships with high-ranking leaders.
No matter which specific part you choose to answer this query, you should substantiate it with significant details. Describe the emotional satisfaction this brings to you and how it influences your daily work as a manager.
17. Which managerial task is least appealing to you?
There are many aspects of managing that you may level. But, you need to be honest: there is at least one managing task that is simply unattractive and uninteresting to you. When choosing this task, make sure that it is not overly important.
Also, you should try to make this answer centered less around you communicating with people, and more around your technical skills. Employers are more willing to hire individuals who dislike certain programs or technology than those that lack key managing soft skills.
18. Tell me about your great managerial strength.
Every individual has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. This is what separates you from every other job applicant.
You should highlight what strengths you have and why these strengths are so crucially important to the interviewer’s company.
By doing this, you will not only articulate that you are confident and aware of your abilities, but also care about the way you can contribute to the team as a whole.
19. Tell me about your greatest managerial weakness.
Previously, we noted how it was immensely important is to be confident. However, you also have to be self-aware and realistic. Thus, you must also acknowledge your weaknesses openly.
Knowing your flaws is the first step to correcting them and avoiding situations where you are forced to use them, after all. Individuals who openly answer the actual question, not just give self-flattering answers such as “I work too hard,” are viewed the most positively by employers.
20. What is your approach for dealing with conflict amongst team members?
It is admirable to avoid conflict whenever possible. Nonetheless, no matter how hard you try to do this, you will still encounter conflicts from time to time. Conflict resolution skills are key to maintaining strong bonds and cohesion within a team.
It also helps teams stay on track. When answering this query, give the specific scratchiest you use to resolve conflict between team members. Give specific examples of your conflict management style in action if possible.
21. Briefly describe your management style.
Every manager approaches their job in a different way. There are a plethora of different management styles, such as the laissez-faire, autocratic, democratic, and coach approaches, among others. Knowing your management style will help the determine how well you will align with the employees they need to be led.
22. What do you do outside of work, such as hobbies?
Hobbies reveal a tremendous amount about your strengths, values, goals, and personality. This is why so many interviewers will ask you this question. If you have any unique hobbies, describe them at this time.
This could help you be more memorable and stand out from the crowd. If you have hobbies that use strengths which are useful to management, you may also want to describe those hobbies as well.
23. If an employee was performing poorly, how would communicate that to them?
It is never easy nor enjoyable to tell a member of your team that they are not performing up to your standards. However, this has to be done to keep the team on task and accomplish the team’s goals.
Therefore, interviewers seek out individuals who already understand how to communicate this news to employees, not those who get flustered and delay this conversation.
24. Do you have a favorite managerial experience? Describe it to me.
Some managerial experiences will stand out to you as particularly memorable and interesting. When addressing this question, give the most informative answer you can. Be specific about what you remember in this experience and give a concrete example. Tell the interviewer why this moment was impactful and why you still think about it to this day. Once the interviewer understands what makes this moment memorable, they will understand what makes you particularly engaged and satisfied.
25. Do you have a least favorite managerial experience? Describe it to me.
Just like some experiences stand out as being especially positive, others will stick out for all the wrong reasons. You should be open to discussing these moments openly with the interviewer. Tell them why you found the moment to be unpleasant.
For instance, you could highlight how a coworker undermined or insulted your values. Or, you could speak about an instance when you made a major error in your judgement. Regardless of what you choose to talk about, also note what you learned from the experience.
26. What does success mean to you?
Success is an immensely important term. To many people, success if what defines their purpose in life. The term is vague, though, and means something entirely different to nearly every person. Your definition of success will influence many of the actions you will take as a leader.
If your definition of success aligns with the interviewer’s idea of success, they will view you as a leader whose ultimate goal can fit within their company’s structure, which makes you a great candidate.
27. Define being a team player.
Being a team player and having great teamwork skills is necessary for succeeding in this field. Before you begin how great your teamwork skills are, though, you should have a great understanding for what teamwork actually is.
It’s more than just you leading others. It also encapsulates active listening, empathizing with others, and delegating tasks to those who perform them in the most efficient way.
28. Which steps do you take to prepare for immensely important meetings?
As someone in a managerial role, you will likely be going to meetings on a consistent basis. Individuals who walk into meetings unprepared often delay progress, harm the entire team they are representing, and also make their company seem unprofessional.
Thus, it is crucial to prepare for meetings, and you should describe a few of the steps you would take to do this to the interviewer.
29. Did any of your prior coworkers’ habits irritate you? If so, which?
Some habits and actions may irritate you in the job. This is perfectly reasonable to admit to the employer. However, you need them to understand you are able to put your irritation and frustration aside when working with others. This is what will prove you are an effective leader and have a solid control over your emotions.
30. How do you manage stress for your team?
As a manger, you will surely experience high levels of stress. Managing your stress is necessary to succeed in this position. It is equally important to realize you are not the only individual experiencing these negative emotions.
As a leader, you should help your team members overcome their own struggles with stress, too. You can use servers strategies for do this. For example, some managers talk to employees one on one.
Regardless of which strategy you use, highlight how you support your team and the fact you are willing to do it again for the new employer.
31. What are your personal stress reduction strategies?
The greatest managers all know how to minimize and address stress in their lives. This applies not just to their work, but also to their personal life. Your answer to the question should be specific.
Note how you previously used these stress reduction strategies in the past. If you have any examples and data to support the idea that you were more efficient as a result of stress reduction strategies, cite them as well.
32. How do you delegate work?
Delegating work is a key part of being a manager. As such, you need to have this skill mastered to be the best job candidate you can be. Tell the interviewer about a few strategies you use to prioritize work and how you decide which work goes to which employee.
In addition to this, you should also describe how well these strategies worked in the past. Give examples of the positive impact they had on your prior team.
33. If you had to fire someone, how would you do this?
Firing team members is nearly never fun nor pleasant. After all, you may have built up a genuine relationship with that employee. However, it will sometimes have to be done for the sake of the company as a whole.
Describe if you ever had to do this already, what you felt in that moment, why you made the decision to fire someone (or what would make you want to fire someone), and how you would communicate the decision to them.
34. How could you boost motivation amongst your team members?
Motivation and discipline are both necessary traits for the success of any company. Without strong motivation, they will lose their passion and interest in work. Thus, their productivity suffers, and the business will not meet its goals.
There are numerous ways to boost motivation, such as by talking to employees about their individual goals and reminding them why their work is meaningful. Depict which strategy you would use as well as why it is helpful to the interviewer’s organization.
35. How would you describe your ideal workplace/office?
Some individuals work better in hectic environments. Others like offices that are highly structured and organized. This question seeks to determine which environment you are most comfortable in. The interviewer already knows the environment their company has established.
They want to ensure that you could perform well in such an office. This question also gives them insights into some of your personality traits, like organization, and how you prioritize workplace requirements.
Questions for You to Ask in a Manager Interview
After reading about the previously described potential manager interview questions, you likely feel more prepared for your interview. You definitely should feel this way! Nonetheless, there is another key part of preparing for the interview that may be a bit less obvious.
This secondary part is asking some some questions of your own. By inquiring about the company culture and values, how the business functions, and more, you show your interest. It proves you are engaged and interested in pursuing your personal goals.
Just a few of the management interview questions you could ask during or after an interview include:
- Is there an employee performance review process? If so, will I be responsible for my team members’ reviews?
- Who on the executive team will I report to?
- How would you describe the corporate culture?
- How would you describe my potential team working environment? Is it collaborative or are the team members more independent?
- Can you tell me a bit more about the direct reports I’ll be supervising?
How To Prepare for a Manager Interview
Applying for a new job is nearly always stressful and difficult. Often, individuals are confused on how to get started with their interview preparation.
There are so many sources on the web telling them conflict advice, only adding to the lack of clarity. If you step back, reflect on the interview process, and look at the strategies that helped others succeed, though, this process will be significantly less stressful.
One of the most commonly used and successful strategies for new managers studying for interviews is understanding different types of interview questions.
You should get familiar with some of the top interview queries for your industry. Then, prepare a few short answers so you do not get flustered on the spot. This will also help you gain some confidence.
Next, you should also analyze some basic information about the organization you are applying to. Learn about their value statements, company culture, mission, and more.
This will help you create answers that more directly fill the employer’s skill gaps and allow you to show how you align with their values and goals. This will greatly increase your odds of acquiring the job.
Finally, another strategy you could use to better prepare for a job interview as a manger is remembering your past managerial experiences and consulting your manger mentors.
You may be thinking: what does this accomplish? It allows you to reaffirm your strengths and better understand what led to your prior successes. Plus, your mentors could give you fantastic advice to guide the next part of your managerial career.