Moving up the corporate ladder is everyone’s dream but there are only a few positions available. To be selected over other candidates you need to more prepared at your interview to win over the recruiter. Lucky for you, we have a list of questions that are asked at manager interviews.
Questions for those seeking their first manager role
1. Why do you want to be a manager?
I have been working as an analyst for five years. Last year, I had a personal issue that was affecting my work. My manager at the team noticed and spoke to me about it in private and was a great comfort to me in that time. I realized that I wanted the opportunity to become a mentor like manager was to me and I started taking management classes the very next month.
2. How would you describe your personality?
I like to define my personality in 3 ways; as a leader I can be counted on to direct people and resources as needed; as a team member I can be trusted with working alongside my team to ensure complete cooperation and as an employee I will ensure that my work is done to the best of my ability.
3. Tell me about a time you lead by example.
At my previous job role, I was working as a sales assistant, and I realized that we were losing large numbers of customers due to the large workload causing the staff to appear unfriendly and hurried. In addition to making a formal complaint about the heavy workload, I decided to speak to the staff as a whole about my findings. I also began increasing my own attitude in a positive manner so that the other members could see that I was attempting to correct my own behavior and learn from my actions.
4. Walk me through a time when you displayed leadership.
I was a member of the decorating committee for my previous workplace. At the time, we were celebrating only one event for the year which was the Christmas party at the end of the year. I put forward the initiative to make the party an inclusive event by rebranding it as a Holiday party and using only non-specific decorations. I led the entire decorating committee as chair during the first year and it was a rousing success with many congratulating me on making them feel more included.
5. How would your co-workers describe you?
Most of my co-workers would say that I am determined. As a telecommunications officer, one of the first tasks that we are given is to make the customer interested in our product. I found that a simple conversation at the start helped me to understand the reason why our customer required the product and tailor my conversation to their needs. My determination to sell the product, shone through in the previous research that I conducted through conversation.
6. How do you deal with stress?
Stress is an inevitable part of the role. I have found that a few minutes of mediation when I begin to feel overwhelmed, helps me to overcome my stress and get on with my work in a more productive way.
7. What do you think makes someone a good leader?
In my opinion, a good leader is someone who listens to their employees and takes their concerns into consideration. A leader who does not pay attention to the needs of their employees will not be able to anticipate setbacks or bring out the best in their team.
8. What management qualifications do you have?
During the last four years I have been taking classes in order to get my bachelor's in management. In addition, I have attended several training sessions organized by reputed trainers to qualify for a Certificate in Management Training and a Certificate in Management Processes.
9. What is your vision for the role, if we hire you?
Your company has made great strides in the last four years, but I have realized that your marketing team has followed the same strategy for the last two years. I want to redo your marketing campaign to reflect your growth and expand your customer base so that you are able to reach new consumers. I also wish to expand the company's social media presence to reach the younger generation.
10. Why should we hire you?
I have been interested in sustainable goods manufacturing for several years now. As the leading company in creating environmentally friendly paper products, my interest in sustainability and the company's goal of creating a greener tomorrow is perfectly aligned. In addition, I have completed both a Certificate in Management of Sustainable Products and a bachelor's in management that ensures that I am knowledgeable in the field.
Questions for experienced managers
1. How would you describe your leadership/management style?
During my first year as a manager, I experimented with my management style to see what would fit best. I learnt in my five years of experience that the best management style for me is a mixed style that incorporates elements of a democratic, stern leadership style. This works best because all the members in the team do not respond in the same way to different management styles and the mixed style helps me to tailor my behavior to the style which works best for each team member.
2. How do you recognize/ reward success?
I think rewarding success is an important part of the role because it motivates the team. At the beginning of each quarter, I identify the key areas in which the team needs to perform and at the end of the quarter, the member that has contributed the most to the all the key areas is rewarded.
3. How do you help a co-worker that is struggling?
As a manager, the first thing that you need to do is identify the reasons why a team member is struggling. Is it personal or professional? If it is a professional matter, I try to see what can be done to help from my side. For instance, once a team member couldn't handle the deadlines that they were given for the task that they were given. I looked at the project deadlines and tried to give them a longer time for their task, which helped them to improve in their work. If it is a personal matter, I try to listen and offer help and advice as needed. In addition, I try to make concessions such as flexible working hours or work from home times to help them in their work.
4. Could you tell me of a time when you had to make a difficult decision. How did you handle it?
One of my longest management roles was at a company that manufactured apparel. One of the employees that I managed was discouraging customers from purchasing our goods on social media. I had a conversation with the employee to discover why they were discouraging customers. After a long conversation, I discovered that the employee was upset with the company as they had been passed over for a promotion. I managed to mediate between the company and the employee by explaining the reasons why they were not given the promotion to the employee, and by convincing the employee to offer a formal apology to the CEO of the company.
5. How do you build a sense of teamwork between your employees?
I believe that teamwork needs to be built through shared experiences. I like to organize weekly activities with my team such as a shared tea break or even a game night. These activities ensure that the team spends some downtime together and fosters communication. It is also a great way to introduce new members to the team and integrate them into the existing team.
6. How much freedom do you give your team?
My management style is geared towards allowing my team the space to explore their tasks creatively. I periodically check in to ensure that there are no problems and step in when I feel that they may be in trouble.
7. Describe your strategy for delegating tasks.
I like to have a mental checklist of the strengths that each team member has. In addition, prior to delegating, I ask my co-workers what areas they like to explore. I combine the two and create a task list based on the intersecting points. For instance, at my last workplace, a junior accountant asked to create the audit report and had the necessary technical skills as well. They did a fantastic job and our unit was commended for it.
8. Was there a time when you improved yourself, based on the suggestion of an employee?
I have followed an employee's suggestion and made significant progress as a result. Early in my career as a manager, one of my employees shared with me that they thought I micro-managed them too much and caused them to lose confidence in their work. I took that suggestion to heart and allowed my employees more freedom in their work. In the next month, our KPIs had increased by 10% and my employees felt more confident in their work.
9. What makes you a good fit for this position?
Having more than 5 years of experience in the managerial role, has prepared me for the many challenges that can come in the future. In addition, my previous experience in the hospitality industry means that I know how to handle both clients and staff.
10. What has been your biggest success in your career?
About three years ago, I managed a team at the biggest retailer in the city. When I took over the store, it was one of the lowest performing stores. As manager, I implemented a few changes that allowed for better training for my employees and faster customer lines. In a year, the store became one of the best performing in the area and we were awarded a prize as well.
Questions for a Senior Manager
1. How do you make important decisions?
I believe that no decision should be made without careful consideration. However, I also know that as a senior manager, there will be times that I will need to give decisions within minutes. During those times, I like to consider as many factors as possible and make a decision that will be the most beneficial for the future.
2. How do you identify and ensure that your staff gets support to develop their skills?
Once, I was working with a team that was creating cosmetic products. One of the members that I was managing was an administrative assistant but showed a lot of interest in the creation aspect of the product. On my recommendation, the company gave the employee training in cosmetic creation, and she excelled in the field. After five years, she became their lead cosmetic creator.
3. Do you have experience setting up budgets?
I do have experience setting up budgets. At my current position, I oversee the financial budgeting for the year and ensuring that the budget is followed by other teams.
4. How do you build trust in your team?
As senior manager, my team needs to know that they can trust me with any issues. One way I found to do this is to organize a team meeting on the first Monday of the month with the whole team where everyone can bring up any issues or problems that they face. This can also be done completely confidentially by placing a box near the door before the meeting where people can write their issues. During the meeting, we can discuss the issues, and everyone can work together to find a solution.
5. What is your method for communicating important updates to the managers under your command?
I find the sending of a simple written communication such as an email to be the best method to communicate an update. But I also like to ensure that everyone is updated by personally calling all managers and updating them or if they are within the same area, organizing a meeting. This guarantees that the update has been properly conveyed.
6. How do you establish accountability?
During my employment at ABC company, there was no system of accountability. I devised a system wherein each person who had to assess the product had to sign off prior to the release of the product as well as the manufacturer and designer. In this way, there was a system of checks put in place that ensured the highest standard of goods sold.
7. What are your three greatest professional strengths?
I was given the task to increase the sales in my area by 20%. I identified the key areas in which we could increase sales and clearly communicated these details to the team. In addition, I initiated a competition wherein the employee with the most sales received a gift at the end of the quarter. I would also step in when my employees felt overwhelmed or were too busy to handle certain sales. At the end, we exceeded the goal with a sales increase of 30%. Therefore, I believe that my greatest strengths are an ability to communicate, ability to motivate and leading by example.
8. Do others look to you for guidance?
There have been times where my co-workers have looked at me to make tough decisions. One example is when our team was getting requests to do multiple projects with similar deadlines. The team unanimously voted for me to decide which projects should be handed to which team as the senior management had allowed us to choose. I selected the teams for the project based on the strengths of the team and their ability to finish the project in time and was praised by the members for my good judgement.
9. How do you establish priorities for yourself and your employees?
I look at the most important aspects of the task. What needs to be done first? Then I assign my own deadlines for the completion of each aspect and communicate them to the employees. When assigning their tasks, I speak to each employee about why I think they are the most capable for the task and ask them to determine how much time or support they would need. I then adjust my own expectations accordingly.
10. What is your approach to managing diverse teams with diverse staff?
I believe that everyone should be allowed to express their own opinions. There was a collaborative project that I managed at my former workplace but there was conflict between the two teams because they had different working styles. The team lead for one team followed a more independent method while the second team leader liked to be informed of all progress. I managed to get the two leaders to talk about their approaches and asked them to integrate a similar style where they allowed independent work for the employees as well as daily check-ins that combined their approaches.
Now that you know what questions you are likely to get asked, start getting ready. Follow our tips and tricks for preparing for an interview. And if you want to learn more interview questions, see our list of the most common interview questions.
Check out our career guides blog for more resume and interview help.
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