Common Senior Manager Interview Questions (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 November 2022

Published 30 November 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.

If you're about to undertake an interview for a senior management position, it's important to prepare yourself in advance. Reading senior management interview questions and learning how to answer each question can maximise your chances of having a successful interview. Sample interview questions can help you to think about your strengths and weaknesses in a structured way and prepare you for your interview. In this article, we explore some of the most common senior management interview questions and provide sample answers to help you craft your own responses to these common questions.

Senior manager interview questions

Reading some senior management interview questions before your interview can help you to clarify your thoughts and practise communicating your strengths, skills and experiences. Here are some of the most common types of questions you can expect:

Questions about yourself

Some of the questions you face in your interview could be general questions about your goals, your priorities and your personal qualities. To prepare for these questions, it's important to practice self-reflection, considering your strengths and weaknesses in detail and how these relate to a senior management role. Here are some examples:

  • What skills would you like to learn in this position?

  • What traits do you think a good senior manager should possess?

  • What do you think your employees can learn from you?

  • How do you overcome a failure?

  • How do you make decisions in the workplace?

  • What are your long-term professional goals?

  • Which accomplishments are you most proud of?

Questions about your professional experience

Your interviewer may ask questions about your professional experience, including questions about experience relevant to the senior management role and questions about your most recently held positions. It's important to spend some time thinking about your professional experience and how this has prepared you for the role you're applying for. Here are some examples:

  • Which of your previous roles do you feel has prepared you best for this position?

  • Do you hold any relevant certifications or qualifications that have helped to prepare you for this role?

  • What accomplishments are you most proud of in your previous roles?

  • What would your previous employer say about you?

  • What skills did you develop in your most recent position?

  • How long did you work in your last position, and what made you apply for this role?

  • What was the last training session you took part in, and what did you learn?

Questions about your work style

After establishing details about your personality and professional background, your interviewer may ask you more detailed questions about the role you're applying for and your style of working. Consider how you deal with obstacles, disagreements and problems at work and how you manage employees and communicate effectively with your colleagues in preparation for these questions. Here are a few examples:

  • How would you describe your leadership style?

  • Can you tell us about a time when you helped your team solve a problem at work?

  • How do you assess your team member's performance?

  • Can you describe a time when you made a positive change in your workplace?

  • How would you deal with difficult colleagues in a leadership position?

  • What would you say is the biggest accomplishment of your career?

  • How would you handle an employee who wasn't meeting performance targets at work?

  • Describe a time at work when you faced an ethical decision, and how did you deal with it?

  • What is your approach to giving employee feedback?

Related: 10 Manager Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Senior manager interview questions and sample answers

When you're preparing for a senior manager interview, it's important to read senior management interview questions and answers to help you prepare your own answers in advance of your interview. Reading sample answers can help you to structure your own answers in a clear and concise way. Here are some example questions and answers:

How have you guided an employee to help them achieve their professional goals?

Employers asking this question want to hear about how you have used your leadership skills to help your team members to improve their own work. Choose an example where you have guided a mentee in making an application or improving upon certain qualities in the workplace to discuss in your answer to this question.

Example: 'In my previous position, I was working with someone who was very new to the company and lacking in confidence in his new position. After a meeting, I privately offered this employee extra help learning the ropes. We met weekly to discuss his development, giving him the chance to ask questions and let me know if there were things he was struggling with. He gained confidence after this, and within a few months, there was no further need for our weekly meetings, but we maintained a good working relationship afterwards.'

What would you say your management style is?

With this question, your interviewer wants to know how you go about managing people, but they also want to see that you've clearly thought about your own management style. Your answer may demonstrate a commitment to effective management, which includes being able to adapt and work with new people who may even require a different style of management.

Example: 'I think that the role of an effective manager includes motivating your employees to work harder and develop their own skills, which is why I follow a mentoring management style. I offer constructive advice to all of my employees at regular intervals and also consider positive feedback essential to my style of management. I listen to my employees when they have concerns because this means that they feel valued at work.'

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Management Styles

How would you increase company revenue if you had this role?

The primary goal of all businesses is profits, and your role as a senior manager is about managing your employees to increase productivity and revenue at work. Your answer to this may demonstrate previous experience of increasing company revenue and show how you might be able to use that experience in this new role.

Example: 'In my previous position, I managed to increase sales by 20% year on year in my first year in the role. I did this by creating new incentives to motivate staff and delivering regular training to improve the sales skills of the entire team. In this role, I would take a similar approach, but I've also noticed that your sales department operates almost completely offline. I think online marketing could offer good value for money, increasing brand awareness and improving the credibility of our sales team.'

How would you deal with an employee who was demonstrating poor work performance?

This question tests your management skills and your ability to communicate and problem-solve in difficult situations.

Example: 'I think it's important to confront performance issues early on, as soon as the problem becomes apparent. I would meet with an employee one-on-one and explain where their performance was poor. I would ask the employee why this was the case and if there was anything they felt that they needed from me to help support them in improving their performance at work. I would then set out realistic targets for improvement, with regular check-ins to make sure that they're on track.'

Related: Areas for Improvement To Help With Employee Performance

Can you tell us more about a time that you made a positive change at work?

In your answer to this question, you may demonstrate firstly that you're comfortable with change and secondly that you have the initiative and the leadership skills needed to effectively drive change at work.

Example: 'After I had been working at my previous company for six months I realised that certain aspects of the office hierarchy weren't working for our company or my team. I carried out a reshuffle, shifting to more of a matrix management style which meant that each employee was reporting to two managers. I checked in with my employees before, during and after this change and decided to make it permanent after I received positive feedback from the team and productivity was up.'

What steps would you take to improve office culture?

There are lots of different ways to answer this question, but your answer may reflect an understanding of some of the social issues that can affect a workplace and your own motivation to improve collaboration between colleagues and staff morale.

Example: 'I'm passionate about equality, and this is something that guides my own management style. Ensuring that employees undergo regular training on issues like diversity, cultural sensitivity and equality, as well as taking part in team-building trips and even office meals out can really help to improve workplace culture.'

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