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Management Position- Interview Questions and Answers

Management Position- Interview Questions and Answers
Interviewing for a management position? Even if you’ve never been a manager before, you’ll want to clearly demonstrate to the interviewers your managerial skills and leadership philosophy.
This article will reveal 50 questions you should reflect on and be prepared to answer in your interview for a management role. Even if your prospective employers don’t ask every one of these, preparing to answer them will help you gain clarity on your strengths and the way you approach management and leadership—so you can communicate your capabilities with ease no matter what question you’re answering.

What to Know Before Your Management Interview

Before we get to the common questions for management interviews, let’s start with a few things you should know going in.

A- You Should Be Ready to Tell Stories

As you prepare for a management interview, mine your work experience for management and leadership wins. Even if you haven’t been a manager before, you’ve still demonstrated leadership in training others, managing projects, motivating colleagues, contributing ideas, thinking strategically, and holding others accountable. Take some time to reflect on your work experience and jot down significant moments when you led. These are the basis for your stories, which should reveal one or all of the following:
A time when you influenced and encouraged others (and how you approach influencing and encouraging others in general)
A time when you and a team were successful and what your contribution was
A time when your problem-solving and/or delegating skills directly impacted a coworker, team, or initiative

B- Make Sure You Highlight the Right Skills

Consider what skills are required for the job you’re interviewing for and especially focus on the stories that show you developing or using these skills. Lay out your stories in a coherent way by defining the problem, explaining how you arrived at a solution, and describing how you implemented it. Once you’ve collected a handful of tales, you’ll be able to easily modify them to answer different interview questions in a way that demonstrates your management and leadership chops.
Remember that management across most functions and roles largely involves prioritizing and delegating, time management, problem-solving, and organization. Be sure to showcase those skills in your stories.
And even if a company is extremely focused on having their managers drive the productivity of their staff to “hit the numbers,” you’ll still need soft skills, such as emotional intelligence or interpersonal skills, to manage and inspire your team to get there. Empathy and sensitivity are increasingly valued workplace traits. Show your capacity for them.

C- Confidence Is Good, But Don’t Over-Rehearse

Thorough preparation will help you feel confident and confidence will help the interviewers see you as a leader. But be careful not to over-rehearse exactly how you will tell your stories. You shouldn’t present as overly polished in your interview, The company wants to understand your philosophy and leadership style—not [be presented with] answers learned by rote.
A hiring team is looking for managers and leaders who are relatable and can think on their feet. And rehearsed speeches can come across as inauthentic.

D- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Are Likely to Come Up

In addition to developing their interpersonal skills, managers must be familiar with DEI principles and resources and why they matter in the workplace. Be sure to go over these and be prepared to speak about diversity, equity, and inclusion in an interview.

Keep all of the above in mind as you prepare for the following questions you’re likely to get when interviewing for a management position.

1- How do you handle the pressure?

Sample Answer: I stay calm under pressure and handle it well. My complete focus is on the job done.

2- How do you motivate yourself?

Sample Answer: I am very self-motivated. I enjoy my work, so I am always looking for new ideas to bring to the table. With my passion being the work that I do, I am always giving my full potential to all my tasks.

3- Why are you leaving your current position?

Sample Answer: There isn't much growth opportunity at my current workplace, and I'm ready for a new challenge.

4- What is the most challenging thing about being a manager?

Sample Answer: The most challenging thing about being a manager is also the most rewarding. It is easy to handle your performance, however, as a manager, you are responsible for your teams. So you must continually measure their performance, set clear expectations, goals, motivate them, and keep them focused. It is a great feeling to be able to accomplish this.

5- How do you manage your workload?

Sample Answer: I prioritize my task by what is most important and urgent to least important and urgent. If there are some tasks that I can assign to others, I will also delegate.

6- What kind of work environment do you prefer?

Sample Answer: I am flexible to my work environment. I can adapt according to almost any situation.

7- Walk Me Through a Project You Led and What Made It Successful.

I was recently in charge of designing a marketing strategy for a premium version of our top-selling hiking shoes for new and existing customers on a short timeline. I led the team through several brainstorming sessions on potential campaigns, and since we were on a tight schedule, I laid out the exact type of ideas we were looking for ahead of the meetings and kept a close eye on the clock to make sure the discussions stayed on topic. We came up with three campaigns we wanted to pursue, then laid out each step of all three to really break them down and see if we could implement the work on time. It became clear that if we wanted high-quality execution, we could either hire temporary people or implement two of our three ideas by the deadline. It was tough, but I chose to only focus on two with the existing team rather than risking not finding the right people to help us on short notice. To me, quality always wins over quantity. I consulted with the project manager and the team to determine who was in charge of and responsible for each part of the campaigns. Together we developed key performance indicators (KPIs), such as how many customers we wanted to reach and how many interactions would lead to direct sales. Additionally, each team member came up with two personal goals, such as: ‘to reach out to colleagues more for input’ and ‘to slow down when I’m rushing so I don’t make a mistake.’
Lastly, we agreed that if someone was falling short of their deadlines, they needed to let the rest of the team know through our project management software and we could discuss the best way to proceed from there. Because we were all so clear on what needed to get done, who was doing what, and where they were in the process, we managed to accomplish our first set of goals ahead of schedule and the campaign ultimately exceeded our original sales goal by over 10%. It really helped me see that being thorough and deliberate about my expectations, making tough but realistic choices about what we could accomplish, and outlining priorities and clear goals were tremendously effective strategies.

8- Why did you apply for this position?

Sample Answer: I wanted to join a company like ABC that values their employees and helps them achieve their potential. This position is a great fit for my current skills, so I will be able to contribute to the company immediately. There is also an opportunity to continue to develop my abilities to the next level and help in company's continued success.

9- How Would You Describe Your Leadership Style?

Sometimes it seems that there are as many formulas and paradigms for describing leadership styles as there are people to lead, but to make it simple, we’ll provide four that we like to reference:
Direct: when leaders know what they want, outline their expectations, and are not afraid to speak up or confront others
Relational: when managers lead by forming strong connections with others
Visionary: when leaders have big ideas and easily find out-of-the-box solutions
Operational: when managers are focused on the processes of how work gets done
As a leader you might have two or even three blended styles, but for this question, you’ll want to talk about the style you use most and give examples of when and how it has worked to get people motivated and essentially do their work more efficiently. For example, a relational leader I know wowed her interviewers with a story about an employee who suddenly started complaining frequently. Instead of addressing the employee’s complaints directly, she simply asked, “Why now?” The employee broke down and shared her fear that the workload was too much. Together they came up with a step-by-step plan for prioritizing her tasks, getting help from coworkers and, ironically, taking more structured breaks. The employee is now more motivated than ever, and comes to the leader with problems she can’t solve herself quickly rather than letting them build. The leader’s new bosses later told her that they were impressed with what this story said about her capacity for listening and empathy.

10- What are qualities of a successful manager?

Sample Answer: A successful manager must also be a leader because that is how you can motivate and influence your employees to perform at their peak ability. A manager must also have the vision to take the team and company.

11- How do you motivate your employees in tough times?

Sample Answer: I believe that as a leader, I have to be the one who is constantly driving an atmosphere of positivity and focus. I make sure that I am acting and saying positive things about my employees. I remind them daily of the goals and celebrate as we accomplish them.

12- How Have You Successfully Delegated Tasks?

Managers have to be cognizant of how work is distributed throughout their team. They need to know the details of who does what and who has authority over final decisions in shared tasks—plus they must make sure that these things are clearly communicated. For example, who needs to see the contents of an email communication before it gets sent out? And does the email manager or communications director have final say if they disagree on something in the message? Hiring managers, in addition to seeing that you understand the importance of role clarity—that workers know what their job is—want to be sure that as manager you don’t attempt to take on the entire workload as a way of making sure it gets done, but rather that you’ll effectively distribute it to your reports.
Your story for answering this question could include what you did at a time when the workload was very heavy and you helped the team distribute the work and collaborate, what you did when there was a gray area as to who did what and how you helped straighten it out, or what you did at a time when a deadline was approaching and the team needed additional resources. Companies also want to see that you work to understand the dynamics of your team—who excels at what tasks, who can handle more work, who needs more time off, and who needs tasks that will challenge them to grow, for example.
Here are some things not to do when answering this question:
Complain about a boss who couldn’t delegate
Tell stories about how difficult distributing work can be without saying how you’ve solved this problem
Fail to acknowledge the complexities that are sometimes involved in delegating

13- Do you have an example of when you motivated your staff using a reward?

Sample Answer: I communicated the reward and the goal to the staff and ensured they understood how to win the reward. Then on a daily basis, each employee had to keep track of their progress with the rest of the team. That kept each member personally accountable for the reward. This gave an additional motivational piece for them to complete the goal.

14- What are some of your weaknesses?

Sample Answer: I have started multiple projects at one time. I know that it is more productive to complete one task at a time. So anytime I catch myself doing this, I take a step back and prioritize my work.

15- What type of pace do you work?

Sample Answer: I keep a steady pace. This way I am being efficient with my time and going at a pace that I do not make mistakes.

16- What do you think will be the most challenging part of this position?

Sample Answer: It will be to build the relationship with my employees because that will take time. However, I also feel it is one of the most rewarding part of this position. I enjoy relationship-building and helping others to achieve their success.

17- Why should we hire you?

Sample Answer: (Refer to the job description for this question) You need a manager who is confident, goal- driven, and can motivate your team. I have those qualities and will be able to take the team to the next level that your organization needs.

18- How do you keep updated on your management skills?

Sample Answer: I continually read a book about the subject matter. I listen to feedback that I receive from my

leaders and implement them. When opportunities arise that will provide a challenge to my current skills, I will take on the task.

19- What do you think are important aspects of a team?

Sample Answer: To have a diverse group of people who have a basis of trust and respect for each other. The communication level must be high and the ability to work together as a team.

20- Do you have experience with setting budgets?

Sample Answer: Yes, I have set budgets in the past. I look at what the typical cost for a certain activity would be based on history or other manager's experience. I set the budget based on these metrics.

21- What Is Your Ideal Vision for Company Culture and How Have You Upheld Company Values in Prior Roles?

“Culture” can be like “leadership”—everyone seems to have their own, slightly original definition. I generally refer to culture as an ideal way that a group agrees to act in accordance with shared values. For example, the company Bridgewater Associates is known for its culture of “radical transparency,” which means that giving feedback to anyone at any time is not only acceptable but expected, regardless of role or seniority.

Companies “want to know your view on organizational culture to ensure you’re a strong match for the direction they’re heading,” Polin says. In other words, a company will compare your personal vision of an ideal culture with the culture they want to uphold or create to assess if you’re a match.

So to answer this question, reflect on the behaviors, environments, and values that you believe help groups work best: Is there scheduled company time for socializing because you believe it helps build teamwork? How should people approach difficult conversations? Does everyone need to be involved in every decision? Have you ever participated in establishing a company-wide values, ethics, or culture statement?

Depending on the exact question you were asked, you might go on to discuss how you’ve upheld company culture and values. How have you ensured that company values are upheld in interactions—for example, have you spoken up when something didn’t seem right? How did you foster company values in your direct reports or your colleagues? The ability to translate values into action requires loyalty, awareness, and commitment—traits that are invaluable to a company.

22- What is your greatest strength?

Sample Answer: My greatest strength would be my ability to drive my team to excellence. I give them all the tools they need to be successful, communicate on an open level, and constantly evaluate performance.

23- How would you go about delivering bad news or a decision that will not be popular?

Sample Answer: I would state the news, the reasons behind the news/decision, and I would focus on the positives. I would also take time to ask questions or feedback and answer accordingly.

24- How do you establish rapport with a new employee?

Sample Answer: I will have an initial one on one meeting with the new employee to let them know what my expectations are and also learn about how they like to be managed. That's a way I will understand how to be effective when I communicate with them.

25- How do you communicate an expectation to an employee?

Sample Answer: I make sure that there are no distractions when I am speaking to the employee. We will meet on face to face, and I will clearly state what the expectation is. I will ask if they have any questions and ask them to re-state it, so we are on the same page.

26- How do you go about coaching an employee who is not performing where they need to be?

Sample Answer: I will go over what the expectation of their performance is and show them where they are currently at. I will ask them what they think they can do to help improve their performance. Depending on what their response is, I will offer additional suggestions and reinforce my confidence that their performance will improve if they take suggested actions. At the end of the conversation, I would set the expectation that their performance must improve.

27- What Are Your Plans for Your Team’s Professional Development?

The best managers are not just invested in their teams’ present, but in their future as well, and interviewers want to see that you’ve thought about how your employees can continue to learn and grow.

Being able to truly support individual employees in their professional growth means you have to get to know them. The only way to learn of your staff’s potential is to be an observant leader, looking out for their strengths and opportunities for improvement. This takes time. You can make it clear that in order to answer this question fully, you’ll want to be able to see your staff in action for at least six months before you can determine what training would benefit them most.

Then you can give some examples of what professional development you might suggest. To answer this question you should be familiar with the relevant industry conferences, certifications, and trainings and what they offer. Take the time to learn which ones are best suited to the organization and position you’re interviewing for and why. Get specific about what you’d want each role on your team to get from the possible development opportunities you suggest: What do you want your customer service employees to learn about conflict resolution and why? Do you want your team to be proficient at public speaking and to what end?

You can also share any past experiences of supporting employees taking on a training or advanced education and how it impacted them, the team, and the company. What were the benefits? Were there any pitfalls to watch out for, such as it impacting their ability to handle their workload in a timely manner because they missed meetings to attend classes? Did they develop a new skill, such as video editing, and then leave the company to do more of it elsewhere? If you’re not an experienced manager, you can share what professional development training you’ve benefited from in order to vouch for why you think it’s useful for staff.

28- A high-performing employee has recently been under-performing. How would you deal with the situation?

Sample Answer: I would show them their performance history so they can see the drop in their performance. I would then ask them why it has changed. I would reaffirm my commitment to help the employee get back on track and offer actionable steps. I would ask for the employee's input as well and draw an action plan for improvement based on this.

29- When you enter a new workplace with new employees, how would you go about gaining rapport with them?

Sample Answer: I would meet them all on a one on one basis as soon as possible. I would use that time to get to know each employee individually. I would ask them what their strengths and what they want out of the manager. That way I can adjust my style to each employee accordingly.

30- How do you handle conflict with two employees?

Sample Answer: I would diffuse the situation by speaking to each employee individually about the situation. After understanding each side, I will find some mutual solutions for the conflict. Then I bring both the employees together and mediate a resolution.

31- How do you handle failure?

Sample Answer: I take failure as a learning experience. I go back and understand why I failed. That way I can ensure that I don't make the same mistakes again.

32- How do you solve problems?

Sample Answer: I find out as much as possible about the problem. Then I look at all possible solutions. If there are others who may have some valuable input, I will also find out what their thoughts are. Based on this information, I will choose the course of action that will be the most effective.

33- Describe how you would manage your work week.

Sample Answer: I would use Monday to come in early and prioritize my work for the week. I will set up deadlines and goals for each day of the week. I would make sure that I allocate some time each day for a certain task that may come up. That way, I have a plan of attack for each day of the week and also time to handle unexpected activities.

34- How would you explain your management style?

Sample Answer: I am a relationship builder. I get to know my employees and gain their trust and confidence. I am very direct and to the point in my communication style so there is no ambiguity in my messages.

35- How would you go about disciplining an employee who is continually under- performing?

Sample Answer: I would have given them the opportunity to improve their performance first and set those expectations. In this conversation, I would also ensure they understand what will happen if they do not improve their performance.

However, if they are still under-performing, I would refer to the guidelines of the organization first to take the necessary action steps. Then I would meet with the employee and show them how they have not been performing.

I would tie that to the action steps that are necessary from this point. We would then set expectations and a plan to improve performance. If the performance issues continue, then we will continue the disciplinary steps.

36- What Is Your Leadership Approach to Managing Diverse Teams and Being Sensitive to and Inclusive of All Your Staff?

Don’t answer this question by simply spouting off the talking points from your last diversity training. You need to show your interviewers how your values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice play out in the workplace, As a manager, you might supervise employees across spectrums of gender, race, age, class, and more, companies want to know: “How are you going to make sure that your own biases and narratives don’t negatively impact the way you manage people?” and “How do you effectively create a healthy and, when everyone is so different from one another?”

As a manager, it is your responsibility to be self-aware and educated on DEI best practices in hiring, performance reviews, and conflict management. Leaders with unexamined unconscious biases perpetuate the passing over and/or silencing of people of color, the stealing of ideas (usually by men from women), and the proliferation of microaggressions ranging from sexually inappropriate to racially insensitive comments, to name a few.

Tell a story about how you helped people work across differences by building bridges to different perspectives and communication styles, or tell a story about how you learned about differences through making a mistake.

Do not explain that you don’t pay much attention to these issues because you are “colorblind,” are more focused on hitting goals, or were taught to tolerate other people’s opinions—even if those opinions are harmful to others.

37- How do you adapt to change?

Sample Answer: When a change occurs, I ensure that I have all the information about it first. I understand all the implications and the possible reactions to the change. As a manager, you must be the first to adapt to the change, so I adjust accordingly. Then after communicating the change to my employees, I help them improve and show my buy-in to the change.

38- What do you find most rewarding about your previous position?

Sample Answer: I found it very rewarding to help my employees achieve success and move on to different roles. There is nothing more satisfying than watching someone grow and achieve their potential.

39- Have you ever challenged the status quo?

Sample Answer: Yes, I looked at processes that have not been successful, to find ways to improve that process. Once I have my plan, I will take it to my leader. I keep to the facts and show how the current way of doing is not effective and how a new approach would be beneficial.

40- Tell Me About a Decision That Was Difficult to Make. Did You Consult With Anyone?

Managers are always making decisions, including really tough ones like firing employees who aren’t working out, redistributing work when someone falls ill, making budget cuts, reporting to upper management that a project has failed, or promoting one person over another, to name a few. Interviewers want to see that you’re up to the task.

It’s also useful for hiring managers to see that you include others in your decision-making, rather than trying to make all the decisions by yourself. Work cultures are trending away from an overly hierarchical, top-down, command-and-control style of leadership. And a leader who relies on the input and expertise of subordinates and others in decision-making, also known as a collaborative leader, is often more effective and inclusive than those who do not.

For this question, you’ll want to recap the difficult decision, share your thought process around how and why you came to the conclusion you did, and tell the interviewer what actions you took, including who you consulted with along the way. You can sum it up by sharing the results of your decision-making for the team or project. For example, if you fired someone, was it due to an immediate ethics breach or a long, slow haul of inefficiency that included many conversations with the employee but failed to result in better performance? Was consultation with any staff, board, HR personnel, or outside counsel about your decision useful to you in making it? And how did the team operate after the person was let go? Was it a struggle to fill the gap? What did you learn or take with you?

41- How do you evaluate what success is?

Sample Answer: At work, I evaluate success by meeting the goals that have been set forth by my leaders and team.

42- What are your goals for the future if you are hired in this company?

Sample Answer: To continue learn and take on additional responsibilities. I see myself contributing as much value as I can.

43- How will you achieve these goals?

Sample Answer: This company has training for their employees that I would be interested in attending. I also plan to continue my professional development by attending seminars, continuing my education, and other activities.

44- How would you go about disagreeing with your supervisor about a decision that you know is not the right one?

Sample Answer: I always build a strong working relationship with my supervisor so, in situations like these where I have a different opinion, I can openly speak to them. I would stick to the facts. I explain the implications of that decision to my supervisor. Then I would help come up with alternatives.

45- How do you show confidence in your employee's ability when you assign them a task?

Sample Answer: When I delegate the task, I talk about, how I thought that they were the best person to handle this task. I give them all the resources they need to achieve success. I follow-up and set deadlines as well. During these follow-ups and deadlines, I make sure to show my confidence in the person on their progress.

46- An employee reports a problem to you, how do you go about solving it?

Sample Answer: I will review all the relevant facts to consider alternatives. I will then decide on the most appropriate action.

47- How do you motivate an employee who is reluctant to take on an additional task?

Sample Answer: I take a look at their needs and perspectives to understand why they are reluctant. I would ensure that they have all the tools necessary to complete the task I would communicate the goal, gain commitment, and establish a reward or incentive that will motivate the employee.

48- You are at a point with an employee that it is best to have them leave the organization. How would you go about the conversation?

Sample Answer: I would clearly state what the expectations from this person have been and the track record so far. I would tie that in with the decision that it is time to let them go from the organization due to performance goals not being met. In these situations, it’s important to stick to the facts.

49- An employee wants a promotion, however, he or she is not qualified for the new position. How would you have the conversation with the employee?

Sample Answer: I would sit them down and let them know what the qualifications are for the position and explain the reasons why they are not ready for the position. Then we would work with the employee to put together an action plan that will help them work on the skills they would need for the position. I would regularly check on how they are progressing to ensure they are on the right track.

50- How Do You Establish Priorities for Yourself and the People You Supervise?

Sometimes there are a number of projects taking place at once. Hiring managers know that without clearly agreed-upon priorities, a workforce can become split and frustrated, waiting for key pieces of work in order to be able to complete their own tasks and meet deadlines. So how have you—or how would you—ensure that members of your team know how to organize their day and what to work on first?

For this question, you can share a story about a time you needed to establish priorities for yourself at a past job. How did you decide which tasks to attend to first? If you’ve led a team or been a project manager, what criteria have you used to determine priorities for the team and how did you communicate them? Make sure the story is representative of your leadership style: For example, do you tend to let each worker figure it out on their own or with each other first and come to you with questions or do you step in from the get-go? Does it depend on the employee or situation?

And you can add specifics: What software or tech do you use for project management and when do you need to reinforce priorities outside of it? Are there daily meetings? How are those run? Have you ever coached an employee on how to manage their time or prioritize their own workload?

51- How Do You Give Feedback and Hold People Accountable?

In addition to making sure that your team gets their work done and that it’s high quality, managing means that you will continually be learning new ways to help people be better at their jobs. As a manager, you’ll be leading performance reviews and challenging employees to grow. So for this question, think back: When it comes to giving feedback, what have you done that works? How did someone take feedback that you gave and make an improvement in their performance, and how did that improvement impact the team or initiative at large? Particularly if you haven’t managed anyone before, you can use an example from times you’ve given feedback to a coworker or even a superior.

You can describe how you were able to keep a team on task and how you’ve held people accountable for their deliverables. What tricks have you learned to help people work smarter and what system(s) have you used to track improvement or lack thereof? If holding others accountable has been difficult, as it was for one seasoned leader I worked with whose employees had different ideas about the flexibility of deadlines, what resources have you relied on to help you solve the problem, such as consulting with mentors or coaches or reading up on the latest trends in employee management, as this leader did?

This is also a time in the interview when you can share your overall leadership philosophy—about what you believe makes people tick, what constitutes effective communication, and how to get the best out of the people you manage.

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