Manager Interview Questions

Manager Interview Questions

Hiring a manager for your organization is more than just looking at resumes. Choose the right candidate with targeted manager interview questions like these.

Last updated April 27th, 2018

Good managerial staff are the ultimate unicorns. They’re leaders, team players, and devoted to the success of your organization. Hiring one might seem impossible, but with the right manager interview questions, it’s a breeze.

All About Behavior

Great managers lead by example, which makes manager interviews the perfect place to use behavioral job interview questions.

Focus on more than the answers – use your gut. Many strong entry-level employees are eager to make management, but that doesn’t mean they'll be a good manager. Years of experience don’t make a great manager, either.

The Harvard Business Review states that one of the most important choices a company can make is who they choose as manager, and that 82% of the time, they get it wrong.

So what IS a great manager?

According to researchers, great managers are assertive but not pushy, motivate every employee to get involved, have a strong vision and cultivate a clear culture of accountability, are transparent and build relationships based on trust and open dialogue, and they don’t play office politics – their decisions are based on productivity. Sound like a tall order?

The management interview questions in this article can help you find the ideal candidate.

Need to screen more candidates before the in-person interview? Check out our guide to phone interviews. Also, get prepared with our list of 25 top interview questions, and learn how you can find more candidates on social media.

Question # 1: Describe a situation when you dealt with a difficult employee.

Problem employees are a headache for anyone in a supervisory role, but a good manager should be able to demonstrate at least one scenario in which they handled this type of employee in a positive way when they answer this question.

The answer to this common interview question should be comprehensive, showing you a detailed but not gossipy picture of what the original problem was and a system that led to its resolution. Pay attention to what the job seeker considers a ‘difficult’ or ‘problematic’ employee, too. The next sample question will help you dig a little deeper into how they work as a team.

Question #2: How do you see a manager’s role on a team?

The managerial role involves being a team member, but also maintaining a certain distance and working independently a good portion of the time. It’s a delicate balance to achieve.

Workers who are too independent risk alienating or micro-managing their team, while those who are too team oriented may undermine their own authority by trying to be pals with everyone. Look for candidates who demonstrate a strong ability to handle both types of work scenarios.

Question #3: Tell us about a few books on management you’ve read and what you were able to apply in your current position from them.

Every manager has a few favorite leaders, and should be regularly reading material on organizational leadership. Their managerial perspective and your organization’s work culture need to blend well. Understanding the schools of thought that inspire your candidates on management style, project management, etc, can give you a decent idea of what they will try to implement while working for your company – there’s no right or wrong answer to this job interview question, but do try to find someone whose ideas fit your organization.

Question #4: What are your long-term career goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?

It can cost $20,000-30,000 to hire and train a new manager. You need to know that the employee you hire isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Management is a decent, mid-level position. If opportunities for growth are available, it should be easy to retain employees who are motivated to work for your organization.

When their life goals clash with long-term employment at your company, however, you may be replacing your manager in just a year or two. Make sure the job seeker is interested in staying with your company and finding means to advance their career from within the organization.

Question #5: How do you evaluate success?

When they answer this question, you'll get a look at what motivates your job seeker – when you ask it, expect to learn how they measure their success (intangible vs. tangible rewards), their career and personal goals, and the plan they hope to follow.

Watch out for individuals who are strictly motivated by money. They may not value your organization as much as team members who are motivated by intangible rewards and recognition will. The next sample question will help you explore their attitude toward success and incentives a bit more.

Question #6: Do you believe in providing employee incentives for success? What kind and why?

Monetary incentives are a poor choice – they provide temporary motivation, but not a lasting effect on behavior.

A good manager will know this and look for alternative ways to inspire employee performance. Recognition, opportunities for personal growth, increased responsibility, and the chance to tackle more challenging tasks are all better motivators if used correctly. Listen for a manager who displays interest in using a mix of the above to fire up team members.

Question #7: Who was your best manager and who was your worst? Tell us about them.

In response to this common interview question, a good manager will avoid naming the managers directly. It takes a little communication skill to talk about their worst manager without being overly negative. They will, however, describe what challenges were faced in working with the difficult manager and what made working with the good manager easier.

They will also demonstrate the ability to isolate management attributes that they hope to incorporate in their own management style, based on their experiences.

Additional Job Interview Questions to Ask:

  1. Tell me about your leadership skills.
  2. Describe a scenario when you delegated effectively.
  3. Who have you coached or mentored and how has that helped their success?
  4. Do you have a preferred project management style or technique?
  5. Tell me about a time when a situation at work really tested your communication skill.

Ok, we hope those management interview questions help. Looking for a good manager? Advertise your job with Betterteam today to reach a wide audience of great candidates with the skills your company needs.

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