When a typical Joe wants to learn leadership, time management, or sales, they will pay money for books, courses and seminars. Or they attend a University (and pay costly tuition each semester).

As a Management Trainee you will learn these skills for free. And you will do it in a corporate environment, which is ten times better than learning from books or from University professors, who never ran a real business.

Best of all–you will get paid for your training. Is this really possible?

Well, it is possible in current economic climate. Companies fight for new talent, and nearly every company struggles with workforce. Offering a Management Trainee program to fresh graduates (or even to undergraduates) is an excellent way of securing new employees, and hopefully also their loyalty in the future.

Let’s have a look at what will happen in your interview.

 

Intelligence and attitude matters the most

In big corporations they do not want to hire people who already know everything. Sometimes they actually prefer to hire people who know nothing, who have never done any management jobs.

They prefer to train their new hires, to shape them to their image. Fair enough, their training programs are good. If you want to be employed in the corporate mechanism for your entire life (with all good and bad things that come hand in hand with your choice), you should let them to shape you.

Interview in a recruitment agency, two ladies

Behavioral and situational questions, IQ test

Since they do not care about your knowledge, they will ask you mostly behavioral questions. These questions help them understand how you would react to various situations that happen in a workplace, such as conflict with a colleague, facing pressure, meeting deadlines, experiencing failure, losing motivation, etc.

Your answers help them to understand your attitude, whether you would fit their working culture, and whether it would be easy to train you, so you can play your little role on their big operation.

In many cases they will use also an IQ test, but I won’t write about this part of an interview, since you can not prepare for an IQ test in advance. The same applies to a personality test.

Let’s have a look at the questions right now.

 

Describe a situation when you reached a goal and tell us how you achieved it.

They try to understand a few things with this question: Whether you set goals (which is very important for any job in big corporation), how important the achievement is for you, whether you can give credit to other people who helped you on your way, etc.

You can talk about goals you set in your professional life (something you tried to achieve in your school or in your last job), but also about goals from your personal life. For example, a chain smoker who managed to quit smoking demonstrates strong determination and will with achieving this feat.

Speak with enthusiasm. They should feel that you enjoy setting goals and achieving them later…

 

Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (or in school; your colleague, your subordinate, or even your superior).

Once again, they test your attitude. Do you care about your colleagues? Are you attentive to their needs and problems? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone, and help?

In your training you will learn how to motivate your colleagues (at least in the particular working environment of the corporation), but for the interviewers it is important to know whether you want to do that, whether you care for the others…

You can talk about words of encouragement, team-building, a situation when you helped someone to see the reason why they should go on, etc.

Special Tip: Not sure how you will answer this question in an interview? Have a look at my Interview Success Package, where you will find multiple brilliant answers to 15 most common behavioral interview questions, including answers for people with no previous working experience. Thank you for checking it out!

Handshake at the beginning of an interview

Describe a situation when you did not agree with the opinion (or decision) of your superior or supervisor, and knew that they were wrong. How did you handle that?

The most important thing is to stay calm when answering this question. Disagreement is inevitable, and you should be ready to express your opinion clearly.

If you made a mistake, admit it. Once again, the hiring managers try to find out more about your attitude. Are you ready to give, and to receive criticism? Do you think critically, or just blindly listen to each order from your superior? Are you able to approach conflicts with a cool head?

 

Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?

As a manager you will meet with all kinds of people. Some will be smarter than you, and some will know nothing. Some will understand each word you say, and some won’t understand anything, or, which is even worse, they will not want to understand.

Anyway, show the hiring managers that you do not mind stepping out of your comfort zone, explaining your message in a most simple way, using demonstration, pictures, and other means of getting your message over.

You can’t manage anyone unless they understand what you want from them. Show the interviewers that you understand this rule, and will work accordingly.

 

Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important.

Interviewers try to see if you can build a good connection with your boss, your colleagues, the clients, or the stakeholders in general. They also try to understand whether you take the initiative and try to strengthen the relationships, without waiting for the other person to make the first move.

You should speak about the situation with a good outcome and you should stress that you tried to build the relationship, that you took the initiative.

If this is your first job application, you can speak about building relationship with your teacher, thesis editor, or other person who played an important role in your education…

 

Other questions you may face in your management trainee interview

  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work (or at school).
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry or upset client (customer).
  • Describe a situation when you faced a particularly demanding problem or challenge in your personal life. How did that affect you in your job?
  • Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in job (or at school).
  • Many corporations offer management trainee programs. Why do you want to do this program with us, and not one of our competitors?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
  • Why should we choose you, and not one of the other twenty applicants?
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
  • …..

* If you experience anxiety, or aren’t sure how to answer these questions, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Great answers to all these questions will make your life much easier on a big day. Thank you!

 

Conclusion

Management Trainee is an excellent entry level job, especially if you want to spend your professional career working for big corporations.

The interview is quite difficult, however, partly becasue of the questions, but also for the competition you will face. If you apply for a management trainee job with Amazon or AT&T, or other famous corporation, you can easily face a competition of twenty or even fifty applicants, and they will choose just the best three or four from the entire group. Will it be you?

Prepare for the questions, and learn as much as you can about the corporation. Try to make the most out of this opportunity…

May also interest you:

  • Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication?
  • 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.
  • Marketing interview questions – Do you apply for an entry level job in marketing? You can expect them to test your creativeness and ideas with a couple of practical exercises.
Matthew Chulaw

Matthew Chulaw

Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.
Matthew Chulaw

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