Without a doubt, most of us would prefer managing to being managed. But in 95% of jobs you will have your place in a corporate hierarchy–someone may be below you, and someone will always be above you. Your supervisor, superior, manager, the job title isn’t that important. This person will give you orders and lead you in the job. Or at least that’s what they will be supposed to do… Hiring managers wonder what type of leadership you prefer, and how you imagine your cooperation with your future superior. Before you look at 7 sample answers to this intriguing question, I want you to remember a couple of crucial points.

When they ask you this question, it means that you will be managed in the job. That’s why it makes no sense saying that you prefer to work independently, without guidance or supervision. It simply won’t be the case in this job. On the contrary, you can emphasize that you’d love to be managed by someone more experienced, in order to learn from them, and become better in your work. Or at least to avoid making mistakes.

Second thing to remember, you should avoid negative remarks about your former managers. Maybe you experienced hell in your previous job, or your superior did not know what they were doing and managed the place terribly. Even if true, however, you should not talk about such things in an interview. Nobody wants to hire an employee who looks for the bad in others, and always complains about something in the workplace… Let’s have a look at the sample answers now.


7 sample answers to “How do you like to be managed?” interview question

  1. Since I am new to the field, I like to be managed actively. That means having a daily contact with my superior. I am sure I will have many questions, and it will take me some time to learn the job. That’s why it is important to have a leader, someone who can guide me in the right direction. What’s more, it is important for me to have someone I can call or write to at anytime, when I feel like I need help, or might misunderstand something. That’s the type of management I am looking for, and hopefully I can find it in your place.
  2. I like to be managed in a more liberal way. I’ve been in this field for years, and more or less know what I am supposed to do. What I try to say here is that I do not need someone babysitting me in the job. Of course, I try to stay humble and keep learning, and I definitely hope to get feedback from my manager, and to have regular weekly meetings with them. But I also think that they can allocate their time in a more effective way than following me around the office all day long. At least that’s how I see it.
  3. What matters for me the most is that the manager sets tangible goals for me. Because I had a bad experience from my last job, when the manager simply always demanded that I do more. And while I understand that companies pursue endless growth, I do not consider it an effective managerial strategy. Employees should have their goals and deadlines. These should be ambitious but realistic. Once I have such goals, I almost do not need to be managed in an active way. I can create a daily schedule, and work on my tasks, trying to reach those goals. That’s how I imagine an ideal cooperation.
  4. I expect a constant intervention from my manager, at least at the beginning. Because I am new to this field, and I would definitely make many mistakes without guidance of my superior. Having said that, I believe that after a few weeks or few months it won’t be necessary to monitor me constantly in the job. My personal philosophy is that practice makes perfect, and I want to stick to it here.
  5. I like to be managed in a way that I know what to expect from my superior. Let me explain. We should set clear rules, clear expectations, and the feedback should flow freely in both directions. That’s how I imagine an effective cooperation in this department. At the same time, however, I want to ensure you that I always respect the corporate hierarchy. People with better jobs in the company deserve them, and sure enough they know what they are doing. Though I may disagree with something my superior says or does, and I won’t stay quiet if that’s the case, at the end I will respect their decision. Because they carry on their shoulders the responsibility for the results of the business.
  6. I do not know how I like to be managed, because this is my first job application. I’ve never really had a manager, and hence I cannot tell whether I prefer this or that management style. One thing is clear though: I am not here to evaluate the quality of work of the managers, or tell them how they should manage me, or other employees in this place. Your company has an excellent reputation, and I am sure the managers and the executives know what they are doing. All I can say is that I am looking forward to learning from more experienced employees, and I hope my manager will be satisfied with my work.
  7. I like to have a regular one on one with my manager. In my experience, you cannot really share everything in the team meeting, and it is better to discuss certain issues privately. Because employment or management shouldn’t be about some ego boasting in front of the others. On the contrary, we should focus on results and practical issues. In such a meeting with a manager, they can share their feedback, you can share your feedback, and you also get to know each other better, which is also important in a long run. At the end of the day though, I am also ready to accept any other form of management from my new superior here.

Remember that you are still just a job candidate

It is great when the employer asks you about your opinion on this or that issue. What you prefer in the workplace, how you like to be managed, how you imagine your cooperation with new colleagues, etc. But you should never forget that you are not their employee yet. This is just an interview, and though they are also “selling” you something–a certain image of their company, and of course the job offer, you are the one who tries to make a great impression and get the job.

Hence it is always good elaborating on your answer. Sure, you prefer this or that management, you had this and that experience from your former jobs. But you also understand that they have some processes in place, likely know what they are doing, and their idea of a great people management may be actually quite far away from your idea. And that’s all right, because first and foremost you want to learn from the more experienced, and for sure you can find some compromises when it comes to the way your superior manages you in the job…

Ready to answer this question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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