How to Answer Interview Questions for Managers

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When you’re applying for a manager’s position, there are a variety of different interview questions you can expect for this level of employment. To ensure your interview goes well, you can review some of the most common questions for managers along with the appropriate answers. This article shares some examples to help you prepare to answer interview questions for managers.

Interview questions for managers

Interview questions for a manager’s position are designed to evaluate two primary factors. First, an employer needs to learn how effective you will be at improving company performance and facilitating growth. These are the questions that will test how well-informed you are about the industry as a whole. Second, an employer needs to know how adept you are at managing people. People management interview questions will try to bring your problem-solving and leadership skills to the forefront. It’s important that you prepare yourself to showcase both hard and soft skills in your responses.

Why do employers ask common interview questions for manager positions?

A management position requires much more knowledge, skill and finesse than an entry-level or intermediate-level position, so employers need to ensure that any candidate knows how to handle the increased responsibility. It is also important to note, that even though management skills might be transferable between companies, employers will still expect you to have a working knowledge of their industry as a whole, regardless of what specific position you’re applying for. If you come from metalworking, for example, and are looking for a management position at a paper company, it’s best to obtain a working knowledge of the paper industry before your interview.

Sample interview questions for managers

Here are some examples of interview questions and answers for managers:

What do you expect from a manager?

This question is designed to evaluate your notion of what a manager is and their responsibilities. Use this question to discuss positive management qualities and how managers can help the business overall, as well as the individuals who are part of the managed team. Try to keep your answer relevant to an employee’s perspective to demonstrate you can empathize with the people working under you.

Example: ‘A good manager is someone who is capable of solving problems through collaboration. The best managers I’ve had were ones who listened to me and respected my input, and they used information from the employees’ perspectives to find solutions for a complex problem while maintaining confidentiality if necessary. Open-door policies go a long way too, as I always felt most comfortable when I didn’t think I was intruding on my manager when I had an important question.’

How have you managed a problem employee?

This question is designed to determine how you would function as a manager. One of the most important duties of any manager is to deal with problem employees, whether they are disruptive, incompetent, or otherwise harmful to the business. The proper answer to this question lies in describing how you can bring out the best from your workers with personal attention and positive encouragement.

Example: ‘When I was managing the IT department, I had one new programmer join our team who was absolutely brilliant. He was straight out of college, but he could code his way around some of my best people. Because of this, though, he got a bit of an ego and failed to listen to his coworkers about anything. I had to call him into my office after repeated staff complaints. I explained to him that our department reflects the company culture of collaboration and finding solutions as a team. Fortunately, he listened, and the complaints about him stopped.’

What would you do if you knew for a fact that your manager was wrong?

Any managerial position you apply for will have you working under someone else as well, so your employer is going to want to know how you’ll work as an employee. Collaboration to solve problems has to occur at every level, so this question mostly exists to make sure you don’t turn into the problem employee that the upper management has to deal with.

Example: ‘If I knew that my manager was wrong, I would do my best to correct the error as quickly as possible. Errors in business can be costly if left unchecked, so I always speak up when I feel that something is wrong. I make sure to voice my concern in a nonjudgmental way. I will also always back up my concern with reason and evidence. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to get since they’re the only things that would convince me my manager was wrong in the first place.’

How would you motivate your team?

One of the most important duties of any manager is motivating their employees. There are a wide variety of different options available, and the most appropriate path can often depend on the nature of your team and the industry. There are some universally acceptable strategies, however, that can be applied in virtually any situation. Your answer should embody a bit of both.

Example: ‘Typically, I try to get as much one-on-one time with each of my team members as possible. I host a monthly meeting with each employee where they can discuss any concerns they have about their work or offer suggestions on how things can be improved. Of course, I keep an open-door policy as well, so they’re always free to come to me whenever they want. By actively listening to their concerns and ideas, and then implementing their suggestions or addressing their concerns, I hope to motivate them to do a good job and enjoy coming to work.’

With these common interview questions for managers in mind, you’ll be in a much better position when it’s time to interview for that managerial position. Remember that all of these questions are designed to determine how you function as both a manager and an employee, and how your hard and soft skills will contribute to the specific industry you applied for.