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Interview Questions to Recruit the Best Managers


A lot of people enter the management field at some point in their career, yet unable to make a successful career out of it. Unable to manage their teams, not good at resolving conflicts, too nice, afraid to ask questions, want to avoid lawsuits — there are many reasons why a person may not succeed in a management role. However, to build a strong organization, it’s crucial to find the right people who can excel in this rank.

When interviewing for a manager or supervisor position, below are some management focused questions to find the professionals who are the best fit for your organization. The answers will reveal your candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and aspirations. From the responses provided, deciding whether or not the person will be successful in your open position will be much easier.

Skill-Based Management Interview Questions


1) How do you stay informed about the trends your industry?

Whether they are entering a new industry or staying in their current one, their answer will show how resourceful they are. Listen for relevant industry organizations and publications, and how they have found them to be useful.

2) I am one of your subordinates, delegate a task to me.

This of course isn’t a question, it’s important to assess whether the candidate’s ability to use effective delegation skills as a manager. Listen in for clear explanation of the task to be completed, why the task is important, deadlines, budget, etc.

3) In your last position, how much time did you spend nurturing a low performer before making a decision/ recommendation for termination?

Some managers hide their fear of making difficult decisions behind the belief that everyone is trainable and should be given as many chances as possible. While a belief in people is good, carrying around “organizational parasites” over an extended period of time can only hinder the company’s triumph. Listen in for clues of nurturing and developing others, or wasting too much time and resources on low performers; at the expense of focusing on those who are performing up to par.

4) What is your favorite approach to giving and requesting feedback?

Managers, supervisors, anyone in a leadership position should be comfortable with, and good at asking questions. To successfully manage today’s high engaging workforce, a manager should be asking questions rather than giving orders. Listen in for the candidate’s ability to utilize open-ended questions to seek understanding and resole ambiguity.

5) What’s your approach to handling difficult employees?

Managing difficult employees and situations is critical in a management role. Listen for examples of processes the candidate has followed.

9) If you were chosen for this position, what would you do in your first month?

Self-starters and proactive managers are valuable. This doesn’t mean they will reinvent the wheel and disrupt your processes unnecessarily. Listen in for some sort of action plan from the candidate.

10) What do you think our company could do differently to remain competitive?

This managerial interview question serves two purposes: It shows how much research the candidate did before meeting with you, and it demonstrates their creative thinking and leadership capabilities. Listen in especially for what they know about your company and its competitors.

Situational Management Interview Questions


1) How do you keep a positive attitude when facing a hard day?

Listen in for examples on how the candidate perform under pressure and manage difficult situations. Do they avoid/ignore conflicts? Do they shut down when things don’t go as expected? Or do they recover immediately?

2) Have you ever fired anyone? If so, why?

At times making a decision to fire an employee is necessary. There’s a right way to terminate, to avoid potential lawsuits. Saving everyone and anyone, even if the employee is causing more harm to the department – is a recipe for disaster. Make sure your candidate is comfortable with making termination decisions, and following the guidelines to do so.

 Fit and Motivation Management Interview Questions


1) What’s worse: Not meeting departmental goals or not having happy employees?

Depending on your company’s culture, either answer could be the correct. The ideal scenario is one where the manager can marriage people with processes, to achieve success in both. But beware of authoritarian managers who believe their department can only do well when their people are on edge or unhappy.

2) What do you like the least about being a manager?

Listen for answers that convey confidence and decision-making. Not liking to fire anyone or telling people what to do, signal red flags. A candidate who’s honest enough to admit that long hours are their least favorite, is probably more in tune with the role.

3) What made you want to pursue a management position?

Telling people what to do, like to be in charge, while perhaps part of the motivation, is not a great response to this question. There are many potential answers to this question. The best answer will hinge heavily on your company’s culture. Utilizing skills revolving around teamwork, developing others, leading by example, creative thinking may all be relevant here.

4) What’s your take on collaboration and knowledge sharing?

Some managers view teamwork as a waste of time and neither do they see value in knowledge sharing and cross-training. Collaboration might be less important in some line of work/organizations than others. It all depends on the culture, experience, and type of work. However, candidates who aren’t willing to collaborate at all with others present a red flag.

5) Who are you most comfortable managing or working with?

Listen for whether the candidate answers with a description of an ideal co-worker or subordinate, or a particular demographic with no relevance to the management process. Depending on the composition of the workplace, the candidate’s answer might signal a problem.

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