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Management interview questions and answers

These examples of manager interview questions can help you identify the best candidates for senior level positions. Use the most suitable management interview questions to assess candidates’ team-leading skills in these important roles.

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

interview questions for managers

What to ask candidates

Managers play a strategic role in a company’s performance and growth. Their responsibilities include:

  • Setting and tracking goals
  • Increasing team productivity
  • Training and motivating subordinates
  • Taking part in business development planning

When hiring for management positions, look for experienced candidates. These are individuals who have a deep understanding of your industry and business objectives. Use role-specific interview questions to test their knowledge. Also, interview for soft skills and traits essential for all senior level roles. Those include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving attitude
  • Motivational personality
  • Results-driven

Managers need to report results and suggest improvements. Focus on candidates who can take accountability for their actions and possess strong decision-making skills. Managers juggle different tasks on a daily basis and coordinate with people from other departments (and/or customers.)

Gear your questions toward identifying candidates who enjoy variety in their work and can handle challenging duties. They should also demonstrate high professionalism, as they set the example for their team members.

Here are some examples of interview questions for managers:

Sample interview questions for managers

  • Imagine you’re assigned an important task but your team members keep interrupting you with questions. How do you complete the task, and how do you respond to your team?
  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a team member who constantly opposed your ideas. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when your team managed to achieve ambitious goals you set. How did you support and motivate them?
  • Describe a project you successfully managed end-to-end. What challenges did you face and what did you do to overcome them?
  • What’s your approach to delegating work to employees? How do you ensure that tasks are completed?
  • Describe a time you mentored someone. How did they grow? What were they doing initially, and what are they doing now?
  • How would you tell a colleague that he/she was underperforming?
  • Talk about the time you led an important meeting. How did you prepare for it?

Interviewing tips

  • Ask candidates to describe their previous work experiences. These examples give you the chance to understand their management style and decide whether it fits your needs.
  • A high turnover rate in managerial positions could tank the team’s balance. It’s best to view managers as your long-term partners. Do the candidate’s career goals match with your company’s future plans? Do you share the same values?
  • If the position involves hiring new team members, test how familiar candidates are with recruiting and training processes.
  • Keep an eye out for candidates who are creative and share innovative ideas. A new manager can offer a fresh perspective and help your company perform better.
  • Don’t instantly reject candidates who lack experience in your sector. Test them to see if they understand basic terms and procedures and gauge their interest in learning new things.

Red flags

  • Putting the blame on someone/something else. It could be a “lack of resources” or team members who “are not good enough.” A candidate who makes excuses for bad results shows they’d rather not be held accountable for their actions.
  • Lack of interest. Team motivation begins with the manager. If he/she can’t inspire their team members, how will the team be more productive? Opt for candidates who are interested in learning about your company and are passionate about the role.
  • Inflexibility. A strong manager is open to new ideas and promotes team spirit. If you notice signs of bossiness or arrogance in your candidates’ answers, this can indicate they lack collaboration skills.
  • Unrealistic answers. Candidates aim to make good first impressions during interviews. But if they struggle to answer questions like “Describe a time when you had a conflict with a subordinate,” they don’t have much experience or they don’t know how to manage difficult situations.
  • Uncomfortable with regular duties. Managers have to handle difficult responsibilities, like delegating tasks and giving negative performance reviews to employees who don’t reach their goals. Candidates who seem uncomfortable with these kinds of duties mightn’t be suited for the role.
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