Top 11 Management Interview Questions and Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated July 25, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021
Updated July 25, 2022
Published June 21, 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.
Interviewing for a management position requires you to show your personality, excellent leadership skills, work experience, and management style. By reviewing management interview questions, you're better prepared to convince interviewers that you're the best manager for the position. In this article, we discuss common management interview questions you can expect and provide example answers. We also provide tips for reference when preparing for management interviews.
11 Manager interview questions and answers
Here are some common manager interview questions to prepare for:
1. How would you describe your management style?
Interviewers ask this question to understand how you manage employees and determine whether your style suits the organization. Use this question to explain your management approach and why you feel it's successful.
Example: "I trust the judgement of my team members. I start every project by explaining our goals and giving clear directions. I also like to listen to their ideas, concerns, and suggestion about ongoing tasks. While I'm always available to help and offer guidance, I prefer to remain hands-off and avoid micromanaging. I applied this management style at my previous position, and my team had the highest productivity and employee retention rates."
2. Describe your work experience as a manager.
By asking this question, interviewers gain insight into your managerial experience and whether it prepares you for the position. Clearly describe your work history, including the number of people you managed, and ensure you relate it to the position.
Example: "I have six years of managerial experience. Starting my career as a supervisor, I led eight employees to achieve quarterly goals set by upper management. I later transitioned into a managerial position, where I worked with five employees to solve my employer's business goals. Currently, I have six direct reports whom I manage as the strategic growth manager."
3. How do you motivate your team?
Motivating people is one of a manager's key responsibilities. This question helps an interviewer assess how you ensure the members of your team remain motivated. Consider using examples of how you motivated your team in the past when answering this interview question.
Example: "I like to know my teammates and understand how everyone feels. This helps me determine what motivating strategy works for each teammate. For example, some teammates prefer positive reinforcement, and others want constructive feedback. At my current job, I give my team the motivation they need to deliver quality work, which helps everyone strive to exceed their monthly goals."
Related: How to Motivate Employees
4. How do you manage conflict between teammates?
Workplace conflict is common. As a manager, it's your responsibility to ensure employee disputes don't affect goals and targets. This question offers you an opportunity to explain how you resolve conflicts or tension in your team. Share an example, and describe how you managed the situation.
Example: "In my experience, dealing with disputes effectively is important for workplace productivity. This is why I ensure I remain open-minded and neutral when handling conflicts. I'd first invite the teammates to a private space and actively listen to their concerns. Then, I'd ask their opinion and brainstorm a solution that benefits everyone. In my last management position, two teammates has a miscommunication about their tasks, which led to a disagreement. After reviewing the situation, I discovered their roles were not defined clearly enough. I reiterated their duties and explained the communication channels clearly. Handling this conflict helped us meet our campaign deadline ahead of schedule."
5. As a manager, how do you define success?
Interviewers ask this question for several reasons. Firstly, they want to understand how you identify and set goals. They also want to evaluate your work ethic because how you define success relates to your drive to reach goals. In your response, consider using an example that relates to your greatest accomplishment in a management position.
Example: "I define success as reaching both the company's and my personal goals, and assisting my team to do the same. I believe setting goals helps me put my best into each task and contribute towards the company's objectives. As a manager, I prioritize helping my team meet milestones and motivating them to add value to the company."
6. Describe a difficult decision you've made in your management career.
This question helps interviewers evaluate your decision-making skills and confidence. When answering this question, consider using defining moments in your career and explaining your thought process.
Example: "In my last role, my company's CEO asked me to recommend a supervisor to promote to an assistant manager position. I had three excellent employees interested in the role, and they all had similar work experience. This meant I couldn't use their background or supervisory experience to decide. Instead, I evaluated their performance and leadership skills. I also spoke to each candidate to understand their long-term goals. My decision proved vital because the candidate I recommended is now the head of their department."
7. How do you organize projects and delegate tasks to teammates?
Interviewers ask this question to assess your ability to stay organized and delegate tasks effectively. When answering, explain how you determine the teammate best suited to a task and plan projects.
Example: "As a democratic manager, I always aim to identify my team's strengths before delegating tasks. I also use project management software packages to organize tasks and delegate project responsibilities. At my current job, I have monthly reviews with my team members to discuss their progress and find ways to leverage their strengths."
8. How would you deal with an underperforming team member?
The purpose of this question is to learn how you'd ensure team members perform their duties and meet productivity targets. Discuss how you would handle underperformance within your team with an example.
Example: "In my four-year career, I've managed hardworking and dedicated teams and handled a few underperforming team members. If an employee wasn't meeting performance expectations, I'd politely reach out to them to discuss an improvement plan. We'd outline the required steps they need to take, and I'd follow up on them regularly."
9. Have you ever promoted or terminated an employee? What was your reason?
This question helps an interviewer understand what strategies you use to evaluate employee performance. In your response, discuss your preferred performance review system and why you feel it works.
Example: "I promoted a teammate in my second manager position. After setting yearly goals for my team, I noticed a worker always exceeded performance expectations. I knew they were committed to their job and highly motivated, so promoting them felt like the right thing to do. In my experience, forced-distribution review systems are useful in evaluating and comparing team performance. I've not yet made the difficult decision of terminating an employee in my career, but I'm prepared to do it if the circumstances call for it."
10. What is your greatest strength as a manager?
This question aims to determine what your greatest strength is and how you apply it at work. Ensure the character-based or skill-based strength you pick relates to the management role.
Example: "One of my greatest strengths is my ability to motivate others. I feel I'm a natural leader, and how I relate to different personalities makes me unique. When I became an assistant manager, my employers were facing low employer retention rates. Some workers didn't feel motivated to reach shared goals, so I reached out to them and addressed the problem. My strategies helped to improve the work environment and revive the workers' dedication to their roles."
11. How do you handle your mistakes at work?
As a manager, how you handle your mistakes can impact your team. Interviewers use this question to determine whether you can take responsibility and acknowledge errors.
Example: "I believe accountability is an important trait to have as a manager because it sets the standard for my team. If I made a mistake at work, I'd apologize to the people involved and outline steps to prevent the error from recurring. I feel it's important to lead by example."
4 tips to help you prepare for management interviews
During interviews for management positions, present yourself as a candidate who values the company's culture and works well with others. Here are tips for building your confidence and helping you make a great first impression:
1. Research the company
Learn about the company's mission, goals, and culture before the interview. Doing this helps you frame your answers to meet your interviewer's expectations.
2. Practice how to answer interview questions
Interviewers ask various questions to identify candidates who meet their expectations. Ensure you review these management interview questions and answers with a trusted friend, a career coach, or a mentor.
3. Bring copies of your resume
Depending on the type of interview you're going in for, you may need to bring a copy of your resume to distribute. Always bring multiple copies in case there are more interviewers present than you expected.
4. Use the STAR interview technique
The STAR technique enables you to use examples and personal experience to support your answers. STAR stands for:
Situation: Describe the situation you handle
Task: Explain your role in the situation
Action: Describe what you did
Result: Detail what your actions led to
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