Sample Interview Questions for Managers

Sample Interview Questions for Managers

The role as a manager sets the tone for a team and the workplace at large. As a manager you can impact employee morale and performance, as well as well-being and job satisfaction. Because of the crucial role managers take on, interview questions for managers can be challenging. If you are interviewing for a management job, expect questions about your:

  • goals
  • leadership style
  • ability to make tough decisions
  • communication skills

To help you prepare, practice with these examples of common manager interview questions and sample answers.

Common Interview Questions for Managers:

  1. What is the role of a manager?
  2. How do you know you are capable of leading a team?
  3. What is your leadership style?
  4. How do you manage a team member who is underperforming?
  5. What would your priorities be in the first month?
  6. How do you motivate your employees?

How to Answer Management-Style Interview Questions:

Interview Question #1: What Is the Role of a Manager?

While the specific responsibilities will differ from workplace to workplace, a managerial interview question like this aims to determine if you understand the broader role and purpose.

  • Discuss both managing projects and people in your responses to interview questions for managers.
  • Focus, however, on the larger picture.

How You Could Answer:

“Managers have the ultimate responsibility for their department and their team. This means fulfilling both tangible, measurable goals, and building a work culture where employees can thrive. Their role is to bring out the best in the employees with feedback and clear communication of goals and expectations. They are also responsible for fostering company culture, loyalty, and creating a positive and safe work environment.”

Interview Question #2: How Do You Know You Are Capable of Leading a Team?

You might get management questions like this if the position would be your first leadership job.

  • Highlight leadership roles you have taken on at work, for example managing projects or speaking at events.
  • You can also discuss leadership experience you have gained at school or in your free time, for example as a coach or leader of a community group.
  • Discuss the soft skills you have that make you a good fit for a management position.

How You Could Answer:

“Even though I do not have previous experience as an official manager, I have taken on leadership roles at work in the past. I was chosen to manage several projects in my department. I also volunteered to plan our holiday party and toy donation drive. At my work I have become an unofficial coach to my co-workers, who often come to me for advice on how to handle difficult clients.”

Interview Question #3: What is Your Leadership Style?

Interview questions for managers often cover your approach to leadership and beliefs about company culture. There is no wrong answer, but fundamental differences in views on leadership (for example if you value a traditional hierarchy, but the company believes in a bottom-up approach) could mean the company is not a good fit for you. You should therefore take the time to research the company beforehand.

  • Your answer should make clear what your strengths are as a leader.
  • If you are having difficulty defining your leadership style, think about your biggest successes at work and what they have in common.

How You Could Answer:

“I believe in leading by example. How I act can inspire or demotivate my team. As an example, at my current job we recently needed to meet a tight deadline for a client that required my team to work overtime. Even though I was not needed to complete this step of the project, I set an example by staying late and supporting my team to show how important the project was. If I had left until I was needed to check the work in the morning, it would have impacted employee morale.”

Interview Question #4: How Do You Manage a Team Member Who is Underperforming?

Common interview questions for managers focus on how you would solve problems and handle workplace conflicts. One such issue is employees who do not meet their performance goals or who show other negative behavior in the workplace. Your answer should cover the following ways of handling these situations:

  • Asking the team member what the reason is for the change in performance.
  • Being clear about your expectations. Give factual details about the problem.
  • Offering solutions and asking the employee for input as well.
  • Setting a concrete plan with clear goals for the near future.
  • Being comfortable letting people go when necessary after the proper procedure has been followed.

How You Could Answer:

“As a manager I make sure that employees know what the expectations of them are through clear goals, performance reviews, and regular feedback. When I check in with an employee, I will make sure they have understood the expectations, describe my concerns and ask the employee if there is a particular reason that productivity has slipped. Sometimes I get a clear answer that I can find a solution to, such as difficulty learning a new software, or personal issues that they should take a few days off for. Either way, if the situation does not improve despite my best efforts, I need to consider terminating the employee, at which point I would get in touch with HR to follow the company’s policy.”

Interview Question #5: What Would Your Priorities Be in the First Month?

Management questions often focus on your goals and plans for the department that you will be leading.

  • Listening and learning is an important part of the first few weeks.
  • Only be as specific as the information you have about the department. Avoid specifying priorities that may not be relevant or feasible.
  • Offer specific suggestions if you see a clear need for improvement.
  • Make sure to also give praise on what the company does well.
  • Use the job ad as a starting point when applicable to this and other interview questions for managers.

How You Could Answer:

“I saw that you are looking for someone who can revamp your store layout. I have a few ideas from my current position, where I restructured the way we sell merchandise, which led to an increase in sales by over 10%. Your store does a good job with visual displays, but I have a few strategies in mind when it comes to using scents and sound to increase the time the customer spends in the store.”

Interview Question #6: How Do You Motivate Your Employees?

One of the key management responsibilities is to motivate employees and keep team morale high. Interview questions for a manager can therefore include several questions on how to increase these things.

  • Discuss a variety of initiatives you have used, such as verbal praise, incentives, competitions, bonuses, and reward systems.
  • Describe how you foster company loyalty.
  • Use specific examples to illustrate your points.

How You Could Answer:

“Studies show that people remember negative feedback longer and better than positive feedback and that leaders therefore should offer significantly more praise than criticism. I implement this in my leadership approach often, as long as it is relevant. I also use a variety of strategies to motivate my team, including friendly competitions, bonuses, and other reward systems. I use strategies such as team-building exercises and company events to encourage company loyalty as well.”

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Let Monster manage your job search. When you upload your resume onto Monster, we take over some of the work for you. We’ll can show your resume to potential employers and recruiters and you can sign up for notifications when new jobs are posted. Make sure to also apply directly to jobs you find on Monster to increase your chances of finding a management job sooner.