Branch manager sounds cool, doesn’t it?
The classy job title attracts a lot of people. More often than not, you will compete with a dozen other job seekers in your interview. And what will happen there?
You should prepare for a long interview sessions, consisting mostly in screening and behavioral questions. Some technical questions (depending on the exact job description) and a personality test will often complement the interview template.
Let’s have a look at the four parts of the common interview process for branch manager job.
First part of the interview – screening questions
Interviewers ask these questions to understand your motivation, your communication skills and other soft skills. Basically they try to get a good grasp of you, as a person–who you are, what you do, what you dream of, what you want to achieve in your life.
- Why branch manager? (Focus on your relevant working experience, and great predisposition for the job. Stress your motivation and understanding for the position. Show them how you can help them to achieve their goals, how you can manage their branch.)
- Tell us something about your previous experience. (Stay relevant. Talk to the point. Speak about things you achieved–in terms of both tangible and intangible results for the business.)
- How do you imagine a typical day in work? (Show them that you like to be busy, that you know how to plan your day and prioritize your tasks. Job description, or a research about the company, should help you with a good answer.)
- Why do you want to manage our branch, and not a branch of one of our competitors? (Honest compliment will never harm anyone. Tell them why you like them, and what they do better than their competitors. Make them feel great about themselves!)
- Why do you think you can be a good branch manager? (List your strengths, and try to narrate situations from the past that demonstrate your abilities and skills to manage a branch, and a team of people.)
- What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses? (Pick strengths that are relevant for the job, such as project management, leadership, communication skills, organization skills, etc. And when you talk about your weaknesses, stress your effort to improve on them.)
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants?
Second part – behavioral questions
Asking these questions, the interviewers will test your readiness for the job. They also try to understand your attitude to various work-related situations, and to challenges you can face in your daily job.
- Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues. (Speak about a situation that had a happy ending. Show us that the door of your office is always open to your subordinates, and that you do take their suggestions and feedback seriously. Show us that you try to solve conflicts in a constructive way, so they won’t lead into something bigger, such as bad atmosphere in the branch.)
- Describe a situation when you didn’t meet your goal in work. Why do you think it happened?
- What was the toughest managerial decision you had to make in your career? (This can be dismissing someone you liked–a friend, or rejecting a great offer you got, or anything else. The key is to show us that you always have the goals of the company on your mind, and won’t let your emotions to dictate you what to do in work.)
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far as a manager? (The key is to focus on the achievement of the company–to which you actively contributed with your work. Do not talk about personal promotion, or employee of the month award. Talk about something you did for them, something great.
- Describe a situation when you needed to meet a tight deadline.
- Describe a situation when you struggled to communicate something to one of your sub-ordinates. What did you do to get your message over?
- Describe a time when you faced a difficult situation in your personal life, and how ti affected you in work. (It is hard to completely separate our private and professional life. Show us that you are human, and have life outside of work. At the same time, however, you do your best to not get distracted, and to focus on your work while sitting in the office–regardless of what happens in your personal life at the time.)
- Describe a time when you struggled to connect with somebody important.
Third part – short case studies and technical questions
- Imagine that we gave you a key from our new branch. You were the first and only employee of the branch. What steps would you take to ensure that the branch did run as soon as possible? How would you progress?
- Our goal is to sell one thousands products per month in every branch. Imagine you were the branch manager. First month, your branch sold only five hundred products. How would you analyze the reasons why we failed, and what would you do in order to reach the target the next month?
- How would you motivate your subordinates in the branch, without offering them a raise, or any other form of financial compensation?
- What do you consider the main challenges you will face when leading our branch?
Personality and IQ tests
It is not an easy interview, but employers have no other choice. A complex interview is the only way to uncover some important and some minor differences between you and other people who apply for the job, and to choose the best candidate at the end.
If you would like to see great answers to all screening and behavioral questions (the first two stages of your interview), as well as some advice on how to handle the technical questions, check our Interview Success Package–the best possible read for your last minute interview preparation.
Alternatively you can look at the following sections on Interview Penguin:
- Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication? Learn more about your body language in an interview.
- Informational interview – Get information about the employer beforehand, and benefit from them in an actual interview for a branch manager job.
- Work portfolio for an interview – Learn how to prepare a selection of your best works, and how to use it to show the interviewers the value you can bring to their team.
- Teamwork interview questions – Teamwork is one of the foundation stones of success. HR managers will often give you a couple of questions that test your teamwork ability. Learn how to deal with the questions.