BlogJob Interviews20 Interview Questions for Managers [w/ Tips & Sample Answers]

20 Interview Questions for Managers [w/ Tips & Sample Answers]

interview questions for managers (1)

Interview questions for managers are a staple in the hiring process, as recruiters use them to learn more about your skills, qualifications, experiences, and more. Here, even responding to seemingly innocuous questions can reveal important details about your competence, which is why you want to know how to best answer them.

This guide is designed to show you what to expect from recruiters during a meeting. We’ll go through some of the most typical interview questions for a manager’s position candidates need to answer to showcase their expertise. 

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • General interview questions for managers broadly examine your personality and professionalism.

  • Background interview questions are designed to give recruiters information about your work history.

  • Leadership interview questions are tailored to validate your supervision prowess.

  • Management style interview questions revolve around job-specific skills and experiences.

  • To nail your interview, you should focus on relevant skills, research the company in advance, and practice answering questions before the meeting with the recruiter.

5 General Interview Questions for Managers

interview questions and answers

Let’s start with the general interview questions for managers with answers. These are broad inquiries into your personality and professionalism, which are typical for most job interviews, regardless of the position.

#1. How would you describe your personality?

While this question might seem generic and unrelated to the job, it’s devised to help recruiters understand whether you’d be a good cultural fit with the company and if you’d integrate into their team well.

This is particularly important for managers, as their personalities significantly impact the way they interact with others. Your personality influences the way you communicate, lead, handle stress, resolve conflict, and more.

Let’s see an example of a good answer:

Good Answer

“I see myself as a flexible and approachable person. I strongly believe that transparent communication is the key to creating a positive and productive work environment. As a flexible and adaptable professional, I always strive to adjust my approach based on the circumstances and coworkers’ individual needs.”

#2. What do you like to do outside of work?

This question further probes into your personality. With it, recruiters want to find out more about your hobbies, interests, and passions outside your profession. Your answer also helps them measure your work-life balance, which affects your performance and demeanor in the workplace.

Furthermore, your answer might indirectly reveal positive traits and abilities, such as creativity, persistence, problem-solving, time management, and more.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“Outside of work, I enjoy camping and photography. Organizing time in nature with my friends helps me relax, unwind, and recharge. Photography allows me to gain different perspectives and polish my attention to detail.”

#3. What are your greatest professional strengths?

When asked this particular interview question for managers, you should use the opportunity to highlight your key skills and experiences that will help you excel in the role that you’re applying for. Recruiters want to know what qualifications you value about yourself since that will help them better gauge your overall competence.

Check out how you can answer this question while emphasizing your managerial prowess:

Good Answer

“I consider my ability to lead diverse and interdisciplinary teams one of my greatest professional strengths. I focus on fostering positive and inclusive work environments. This helps me create productive atmospheres where everyone’s voice needs to be heard, as all team members need to stay valued and motivated throughout the process.”

#4. What are your weaknesses?

Recruiters ask about your weaknesses to find out whether you have the ability to introspect. Your answer should show that you’re a self-aware individual who recognizes your mistakes and shortcomings while actively working on fixing them and improving yourself.

Let’s see an example of a good answer:

Good Answer

“I sometimes struggle to delegate tasks, especially when taking on a fresh project and managing a new team of professionals since I always want to play to everyone’s strengths. I’m working on improving my decision-making skills so that I can delegate more effectively until I get to build trust within the team and get to know them better.”

#5. How do you manage your time and prioritize your tasks?

Prioritization and time management skills are vital for many professionals, but even more so for managers. These directly impact the way you handle the increased workload and allow you to stay on top of your tasks.

Since you’re a manager, your prioritization and time management abilities affect the entire organization and can have a considerable impact on the projects you’re in charge of.

Here’s how you can answer this question:

Good Answer

“I use project management tools like Trello and ClickUp for large-scale prioritization and time management. On a day-to-day basis, I always create to-do lists while typically following a priority matrix to determine which assignments take precedence and how I can best manage my time and utilize my team’s strengths.”

5 Background Interview Questions for Managers

career goals

Background interview questions for managers are designed to give recruiters insight into your professional history, which can help them better predict how you might perform in the future.

#1. How have your previous roles shaped your managerial style?

Recruiters ask this interview question to learn more about your career growth. Your answer gives them insight into your learning endeavors and the ability to adapt to different teams, positions, projects, and circumstances.

Check out the following example of a good answer:

Good Answer

“Ever since I started as a team member, I have always recognized the value of clear communication, active listening, and empathy. As I progressed to become a team lead and then a lead project manager, I kept polishing my organization and collaboration skills. I continue to ask for feedback and find ways to improve while balancing authority with approachability.”

#2. How many years of managerial experience do you have?

This is a simple interview question for managers used to directly measure how much experience you have in the role. It provides concrete information that recruiters can combine with your other answers to determine whether you’re a suitable candidate for the role.

Here’s an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“I have more than eleven years of managerial experience. My first role was in a retail environment, where I worked as a shift supervisor, overseeing a small team of five. Over the years, I advanced to more senior roles and now tackle large-scale projects and interdisciplinary teams.”

#3. What's your educational background?

Formal education can give you the necessary hard skills needed to do the job. Much like the education section of your resume adds to the work experience, this question provides additional details that can help recruiters better understand how much theoretical knowledge you have.

Check out what a solid answer should look like:

Good Answer

“I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Management from Gies College of Business. My focus was on organizational behavior, and I took several courses on advanced team management strategies and strategic planning.”

#4. How do you keep up with trends and advancements in the industry?

This question is designed to examine your commitment to continuous learning and improvement and probe into your networking tendencies. Your answer should highlight that you take a proactive approach to staying up to date with the latest practices, whether through seminars and conferences, relevant courses and certifications, or more.

Here’s a good example:

Good Answer

“I keep up with the trends and advancements in the industry by attending conferences, webinars, and workshops and by regularly practicing networking, both in-person and online. I am also subscribed to several industry leaders, which helps me stay informed about the latest happenings and technologies.”

#5. What size teams have you managed in the past?

This is another straightforward question that helps recruiters understand the type of work you're accustomed to and the scale of your managerial experience. Teams of varying sizes require different approaches and skills to oversee, and there are unique challenges involved that managers have to deal with.

Here’s one example of a solid answer:

Good Answer

“I have managed several smaller teams with between 5 and 10 members, but I’ve also been in charge of large-scale departments comprising 50-plus individuals. That allowed me to perfect several different strategies to effectively manage varying team dynamics and ensure smooth communication and cooperation regardless of the team size.”

5 Leadership Interview Questions for Managers

Recruiters often ask leadership interview questions when examining candidates for a managerial position since leadership skills are vital for these roles. Let’s examine the most common ones.

words to describe yourself

#1. How do you find the balance between being a leader and a team player?

Recruiters ask this question to assess a candidate's versatility and whether they can lead when needed and collaborate when necessary. Your answer should highlight that you’re aware of the importance of strong leadership and decision-making but that you also understand the value of teamwork.

Here’s a good example:

Good Answer

“I find the balance between being a leader and a team player by fostering positive workplace environments and encouraging open and continuous communication. As a leader, it’s important to me that I set clear, understandable, and attainable goals. Afterward, I look for input and feedback to ensure everyone is on the same page and that I can make adjustments as needed.”

#2. How do you approach giving constructive feedback to team members?

This question is designed to examine your communication skills, particularly in sensitive situations when you need to give someone advice and feedback in a positive, helpful, and respectful manner.

The ability to appropriately give constructive feedback is vital for the team’s development, as it positively affects morale and results in increased efficiency.

Here’s how you can answer this question:

Good Answer

“I always have a clear objective and a specific topic in mind when giving constructive feedback. I begin by first acknowledging an individual’s strengths before addressing the areas where they can improve. To ensure clarity and precision, I provide them with concrete advice on how they can approach the process before finally for their input and any potential concerns.”

#3. What's your plan for building rapport with a new team?

Building rapport with a new team is essential for managers joining a new organization. When answering this question, you should show recruiters that you can get up to speed as quickly as possible. This includes establishing trust with other professionals, building meaningful relationships with them, recognizing their key strengths, and more.

Let’s see a good answer:

Good Answer

“My plan for building rapport with a new team involves open communication and active listening. I always start by introducing myself to the team and then taking the time to learn about each individual member’s role within the organization, key strengths, and career goals. Afterward, I work on creating a collaborative environment and practice regular check-ins and transparency to further build trust.”

#4. How do you approach making difficult decisions?

The purpose of this interview question for managers is to analyze not just your decision-making skills but your confidence and integrity. Making difficult decisions always comes with challenges, as they can have severe consequences or be potentially unpopular among some team members.

Here’s an example of a good answer:

Good Answer

“Before I make a difficult decision, I first ensure that I have all the relevant details and that all the affected parties are well-informed. I transparently communicate the reasoning behind the decision and, after making it, continue to address any concerns and provide the necessary support to anyone who needs it.”

#5. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to inspire your team?

Inspiring your team and boosting their morale is crucial during challenging periods when everyone’s efficiency might drop. That’s why recruiters want to know whether you can stay at the top of your game and help your team navigate these difficult moments successfully.

Let’s see an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“At one point, our organization experienced a significant drop in morale due to a severe market downturn. Instead of letting declining numbers become the center point of every conversation, I quickly set a list of realistic short-term goals and shifted focus toward celebrating small wins. This helped us keep a positive outlook and power through this challenging period without a drop in performance.”

5 Management Style Interview Questions

what to wear to an interview

Management style interview questions are a staple when you’re applying for that role, as they are designed to directly examine your management skills.

#1. How important are deadlines, and how do you handle late work?

Deadlines are one of the key driving elements behind productivity and a core aspect of project management. Recruiters ask this question to examine several of your important skills, including organization, prioritization, delegation, and time management.

Here’s a good answer:

Good Answer

“Deadlines are vital as they ensure projects stay on track. I always emphasize the importance of deadlines and set clear goals and objectives to reach them. However, if work is late, I try to understand the underlying cause before addressing it in an optimal manner. After resolving the issue, I take steps to prevent the same delay from happening in the future.”

#2. What's your definition of an effective manager?

This is one of the unique interview questions for managers that recruiters use to extract important details about your professional values and principles. By talking about your definition, you’ll highlight specific skills and qualifications you believe one such professional should have, which likely means you have them as well.

Check out an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“An effective manager is someone who communicates clearly and openly and leads by example. They set clear and attainable goals, listen to their team and their feedback, provide sufficient resources, and assist whenever necessary.”

#3. How do you handle underperforming team members?

Recruiters ask this interview question for managers to examine whether you can optimally address performance issues. Your answer should highlight your ability to give constructive advice and support your team when they aren’t on top of their game.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“I begin the process with analysis, where I try to understand the underlying cause of a team member’s underperformance. After that, I invite them for a private one-on-one meeting where I provide precise feedback and work with them on a concrete solution. I then remain available for any inquiries and as support throughout the process.”

#4. How do you handle team members with contrasting working styles?

Unity and cooperation are vital for productivity, and when members have working styles that conflict with each other, that cohesion can be negatively affected. This question examines how you deal with those issues.

Let’s see an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“I tend to foster inclusive and diverse environments where everyone can play to their strengths. If conflicts arise, I promptly organize meetings or address them through discussions. My main goal is to help each member understand the other’s perspective until we can find common ground and continue with a more collaborative approach.”

#5. How do you ensure your team aligns with the company’s goals?

This question probes into your ability to manage your team while looking at the bigger picture.

Here’s how you can answer it:

Good Answer

“I ensure my team is aligned with the company’s goals by first setting objectives that match the company’s mission. After that, I lead by example and demonstrate the organization’s values in my work while clearly communicating how our work contributes to a broader endeavor.”

3 Tips for Nailing Your Management Interview

account manager skills

Let’s wrap up this lengthy guide about interview questions for managers with a couple of tips that will help you answer them optimally.

#1. Highlight the Right Skills

To portray yourself as the right person for the job, you want to highlight skills that are relevant to the position that you’re going for. While interview questions for managers in the healthcare and IT spheres might be similar, your answers should be different, depending on the field and the role that you’re after.

In the same way you should tailor the skills section of your manager's resume to the position that you’re applying for, you want to adjust your answers so that they emphasize abilities recruiters want to see.

#2. Research the Hiring Company

You should thoroughly research the company you’re applying to before your interview. You can do that by visiting its website and social media profiles, reading relevant news, contacting members of its organization, and more.

This is crucial in helping you understand the company’s mission, values, and culture. That’ll help you prepare for an interview and come up with optimal answers to potential questions. More than that, you’ll demonstrate diligence and genuine interest in the company.

#3. Practice Answering the Questions in Advance

One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to practice answering common interview questions in advance. You can even set up a mock interview with someone you trust, such as a friend or a mentor.

This will help you refine your answers, improve your body language, spot areas for improvement, and more. Being well-prepared will significantly reduce any potential interview anxiety and help you ace the event.

Final Thoughts

Businesses today are becoming increasingly complex, which is why the need for competent managers grows continuously. If you’re after such a role, one of the best ways to get it is to prepare answers to the most common interview questions for managers.

Remember to tailor your answers to the position that you’re going for and focus on your leadership and management skills when answering open-ended interview questions for managers. With the right preparation and confidence in your abilities, you’re bound to ace your interview!

Kervin Peterson
Kervin Peterson
Career Coach
Whether you need help preparing for an interview, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, or creating a resume, you can rest assured that our dear Kervin Peterson can help! Kervin is a man who can turn obstacles into experience with his eyes closed, always striving to bring the most to the table. Other than being a career coach, he’s a new dad and loves nothing more than hitting the gym and spending time with his family!

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