If you’re interviewing for a “Manager” position, you’ll be asked a few basic job interview questions, but the majority of your interview will be spent assessing both your knowledge and your management style.
Hiring managers are likely to spend a lot of time discussing your management style, how you think and act in a particular situation whether it be motivating the team to perform or dealing with complicated problems and multi-faceted projects.
Companies want to employ managers who can demonstrate a logical decision-making ability but are not afraid to make decisions based on the information they have.
When answering management interview questions, you need to show that you have a systematic approach to weighing options that lead to positive outcomes for your team.
It’s a great idea to always use examples, however with any interview question; I would recommend that you answer the interview question directly, before using examples.
Below you’ll find a selection of typical management interview question and how I think that you should look to answer these questions to ensure that you come across in the right light in any job interview.
Would Your Manager Describe You As A Dependable Person?
It seems an obvious answer that you could answer with a yes or no. The problem is to make yourself stand out from the crowd, you need back this up with examples of how and where you’ve been dependable to your manager.
My advice – Keep it simple and make sure that you use examples to back up your statement. Something like, “Yes, my previous manager would think that I am a dependable person. In my last review, my manager thanked me for the extra time and weekend work to ensure that the recent project was completed on time and on budget”.
How Do You Deal With Under-Performing Team Members?
If you’re applying for a manager role, this question is almost guaranteed to come up during the interview. Under-performing team members exist in every business, and it takes a good manager to get their full potential. To answer this question, use the SAR approach where you describe the situation, talk about the actions that you took, any training and development plan that you developed and what impact this had on the business and your under-performing team members.
My Advice – I sacked them is a last resort. Yes, you can say things like “I put in place a cut-off point where we dismissed the bottom 10% of underperformers; however, you need to explain what steps you took first.
How Do You Motivate and Develop Your Team?
Another classic management question. It’s a great idea to have an answer prepared for before you start. Trying to think of an answer halfway through an interview, when you’re under pressure is going to be difficult. Interviewers want to see that you have been hands-on in your management approach and therefore you need to explain your actions in detail.
My Advice – The key to answering this question is to be as vague as possible while a the same time giving a great answer. An example, I tried to understand what each person within my team was motivated by and worked with them to achieve this. You have not told the interviewer anything, but it’s a great answer.
How Do You Deal With Difficult Team Members?
You will not be able to dismiss everyone in your team, and there will always be difficult colleagues in every business.
My Advice – Take that person aside, actually speak with them in detail to understand their problems and how to move forward. You may find they are dealing with a personal tragedy or are not interested in working in the group going forward.
What Do You Find Are The Most Difficult Decisions To Make?
This question is designed to see how you handle stressful situations and use your experience as a predictor of what will most likely happen in the future. If you could not make a difficult decision in the past, most likely you will not be able to the next time a difficult decision needs to be taken. The key to answering this question is to use actual situations that have taken place in your working environment. Describe what happened, what you did, and what the result was.
My Advice – Keep your answers positive and make sure that you have prepared a story beforehand.
What Are the Most Important Criteria of Being a Manager?
Any job interview questions that ask for criteria is merely trying to understand what kind of leader you are and how you delegate workload, train, and manage your team. This will be done to know whether you can fit into the team, but also to understand what kind of manager you are and therefore, whether your management style will fit into the business.
My Advice – it’s a great idea to mention how you delegate the workload, but also to ensure that you talk about the overall goal of any team which is to get the work done
To Make A Decision, What Information Do you Need?
You need to make sure that you tailor each answer that you give to the specific industry that you’re interviewing in, as an answer that sounds great for one industry might not be great for another. As an example, if you’re interviewing to be an airline pilot, there is no point in telling the interviewer you like to sleep on things before making any decision.
My advice – talk about how you consider all the surrounding facts, possible outcomes, and what you’re trying to achieve. It’s a great idea to mention that you’re happy to take outside help as this shows that understand the importance of a significant decision, however, make sure that you tell the interviewer that you are the one who makes the decision. Hiring managers want managers that can make a decision, whether it be to cut out dead wood within the team or change the direction of the business, and you must show that you can do this.
How Do You Make Sure Your Tasks Are Delegated And Completed On Time?
This question resolves around how to develop your team and how to assign task and responsibilities to set people within your team.
My Advice – Try to focus your answer on how to assign tasks and responsibilities to the right people within your team, clarify what is expected of them, their completion date and ensure they have the adequate resources to complete their task.
How Do You Provide Feedback To An Under-Performing Colleague?
Again this is another situation where you need to answer the question as if it was a competency-based interview question, meaning that you need to set the situation, describe what you did, but also describe the outcome. Given this is a job interview, I would always recommend using a positive experience rather than a negative
My Advice – Try to talk at length about how you adjusted your approach according to the individual, assess their needs and establish a specific plan for each member of your team while considering available resources and the individual requirements and gain agreement to this plan.
What Do you Think Are the Key Differences Between a Manager and A Leader?
This is a great question that I often use when talking to candidates. The key to answering this question is, to be honest with yourself and answer the question while remembering the following, Not All Leaders and Managers and Not All Managers are leaders. Just because an organisation gives a manager some form of authority does not mean that they have the leadership skills to lead from the front effectively.
My Advice – Remember The phrase
What’s Your Preferred Communication Style?
Communication is essential as a manager or leader, and generally, some variance of this question will come up in an interview. To answer the question correctly, you need to show the interviewer that you can motivate and provide feedback in a threatening manner
My Advice – Remember that communication is not just what comes out of your mouth. Studies have shown that only 20% of what we say comes out of our mouth and the rest comes in the form of body language and the way that we say something. To impress the interviewer, talk about both using your voice and your body language to manage your team.
What Do You Think Are The Most Difficult Decisions To Make
The best way to answer this type of question is to use a real-life example from your working career. In this situation, it’s much easier to go into real details about what happened, illustrate times when you have successfully solved difficult situations and how you fixed the problem.
My Advice – I would make sure that you prepare a specific example beforehand as it’s complicated to think about a particular problem during your interview when the pressure is on.