10 Manager interview questions (With example answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 18 October 2022
Published 25 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A manager's job is to supervise, mentor, guide, influence and evaluate their employees in the workplace. When interviewing for a manager position, you can expect questions about your management style, experience, past accomplishments and future goals. It's helpful to prepare in advance with answers that highlight your strengths and prove your suitability for the job. In this article, we review 11 manager interview questions and example answers to help you prepare and make a great impression.
Related: What does a manager on duty do?
Manager interview questions to help you prepare
The following are some common questions for managers with tips on answering them and examples you can use to better prepare for your interview:
What process do you use to make decisions?
When asking this question, interviewers want to know if they can trust your ability to weigh options, collaborate with colleagues and lead teams in successful directions. It's important to show that you have a practical way of analysing details, considering alternatives and making important decisions in the workplace. As you answer this question, give a specific example of a time you had to make a business-critical decision.
Example: 'I first gather all available information, then assess the options and prioritise an outcome that can have the biggest positive influence on the current project and comply with the company goals and objectives. For example, in my last job, I had to...'
Describe the process you follow when delegating work with your team.
A manager is a leader who needs to work with a team to accomplish certain objectives. This question seeks to know if they can delegate tasks appropriately to their team to ensure maximum productivity. To answer the question well, consider discussing the factors you consider when delegating certain tasks and how you ensure you distribute tasks evenly to your team members.
Example: 'I always consider the strengths of the individual team members before assigning tasks to ensure that I give someone work that I'm sure they can handle properly. I also ensure that I don't overload my team members and that everyone has something they can handle effectively.'
Tell us about a time you had to handle a difficult employee.
This question helps employers understand how you deal with challenging situations with employees on your team. It's hard to avoid troublesome people and, when you are a manager, it's your job to deal with them in the right manner. You can answer the question prudently and showcase several of the skills that make you a brilliant manager.
Example: 'I once managed an employee who always met his sales targets, but had a poor work ethic. I soon discovered that he was taking leads from other employees. I called him for a meeting to outline the consequences of his actions and explained why it was important for team members to collaborate rather than work against each other. He turned things around and regained his colleagues' respect.'
What is your management style?
Your management style can dictate your team's performance and other aspects of productivity and success. Interviewers ask this question when intending to find out if you have self-awareness regarding how you lead other people and can have a positive impact on their company. When answering this question, give an example that supports what you consider strong management and connect these traits to what you believe your management style is.
Example: 'Management to me is where one focuses on offering a framework for clear direction and is always available when teams need extra support. While it's important for managers to provide adequate support when necessary, it's also important for managers to avoid taking full control of all tasks. I use a more independent but collaborative approach, as this style gives team members a chance to fulfil their potential independently but lets them know I'm here for support should they need it.'
How long have you worked as a manager and how many people have you managed?
This question helps the interviewer assess your work experience. It allows employers to understand your experience level in leadership positions, your skill in overseeing larger teams and your approaches to working with employees under your supervision. When answering this question, state the number of employees on the largest teams you've been manager of, the number of years you've been a manager and how you advanced in your role.
Example: 'I have 10 years of experience working as a manager. During these past 10 years, I've worked in three companies. I started as a retail manager working with 20 employees before advancing to the branch's sales manager, where I supervised 100 employees. These past two years I have been the regional manager, with nearly 1,000 employees under my supervision.'
How has your management style changed as you gained more experience?
Interviewers want to assess how you've grown as you gained more experience. Learning is essential for continued career development, and being a growing manager allows you to serve as an outstanding example. Remember to include evidence of your readiness to learn and evolve and of how your management style is more effective after learning and developing in your role.
Example: 'I struggled with micromanaging employees when I first became a manager. I thought it meant that I could improve their performance if I assisted them in everything they did. However, feedback and experience have shown me that micromanaging makes employees feel smothered. Nowadays, I let them have more independence, which fosters growth, skill achievement and creative problem-solving.'
What is one common mistake you feel managers sometimes make?
This question seeks to evaluate whether you have thought of management beyond your personal behaviour. Interviewers use the question to consider whether you have considered the principles that are essential to managing a team. In your response, discuss your definition of effective management and give an example of a mistake you have made or seen that you were able to help solve. This can give interviewers confidence in your alignment with company values and expectations of management.
Example: 'Being less than transparent is one of the biggest mistakes that I see most managers make. I think managers should be accountable and honest, even when executive management makes major decisions. I have found that I lose the trust of my team if I cannot be upfront about changes or challenges. I have overcome this by developing my ability to communicate clearly and openly, and I seek feedback and input from both my team and supervisor regularly.'
What do you think are important contributions managers make at work?
When asking this question, interviewers seek to know whether you understand the role that managers play in helping companies thrive. They want to know how you plan to contribute to the success of their organisation. Highlight your core values and your ability to plan and carry out important directives. This can show employers that can commit to success, growth and continuous development.
Example: 'Ensuring that employees remain motivated at all times is one of the most essential duties that a manager has. Even though we need to prioritise client needs, it's important to ensure that our employees have the tools, resources and materials they need to complete projects and deliver their best work.'
How do you motivate your team's productivity?
Managers often oversee teams across one or more departments. This can include supervising a number of unique projects and ensuring that team and department members meet all pertinent objectives. When interviewers ask this question, they are assessing your ability to influence others, adapt creative solutions and approach problem-solving with innovative thinking.
Example: 'My experience in management has taught me that each employee needs a different motivational strategy or incentive to perform better. While some thrive when they get both positive and negative feedback, others perform better when they know there is a reward or salary raise waiting for them. This is why I take surveys and gauge employee expectations when I work with new teams. Their answers inform my motivation strategies.'
How do you ensure employees' safety at work?
Employers may ask this question to assess managers' attention to detail and ability to follow safety guidelines established by law, ordinance or regulatory bodies. If you're interviewing for a managerial role in a field where there may be safety hazards, it's important to have a procedure you can outline when the interviewer asks a question like this one. Consider discussing practical approaches to enhancing occupational health and safety, and give an example of how you apply these approaches on the job.
Example: 'I do my best to ensure that those working for me have the best working conditions. When I was a call centre manager in my previous job, I noticed that some of my employees were reporting back pains and carpal tunnel syndrome. I cleverly tweaked our operating budget to ensure that we acquired new ergonomic workstations. After that, there were fewer complaints.'
Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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