Last updated on January 21st, 2019 at 07:34 am

Two women in nice clothes sit at a table and talk business. The picture illustrates a work of a manager. I want to be a manager. Leading a team of people, helping the company to prosper, and getting a hefty paycheck each month–who would not want to become a manager? Many people pursue this dream, in every corner of the world.

You are just one step away from a new job contract right now. But what will happen on a big day, in your job interview? How to make the best possible impression on the hiring managers? And what questions will they ask you, and why will they ask them? We will have a look at these things in the article.

Before looking at the interview answers and answers, however, you should think about the abilities that characterize a great manager. In every interview answer, and basically in everything you say and do while meeting the employer, you should demonstrate that you have these abilities, which will help you to convince them  that you can manage the others.

Let’s have a look at the abilities before we proceed to the questions and answers.

* You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long .PDF document, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

Three abilities that characterize great managers

Man is shaking hands with an HR director. He was just hired for a managerial position.1. They do not only talk, and give orders to people, but they also listen to everyone in the workplace. Show humility in your interview. Show that you want to listen to your sub-ordinates, seeking valuable feedback, engaging them in your decisions, learning to improve your managerial skills.

2. They go by example, and they do not hesitate to offer a helping hand to their people. Good managers do not only sit on their comfy leather chairs, waiting for a next problem to arise, or for a next regular meeting with their subordinates. They actively look for things to do, seek solutions and search areas for improvement (of both their own work, and work of other people).

3. They can hire, and they can fire. Great managers do not let their emotions to control their decisions in work. If they have to dismiss a friend–because their friend made a mistake which can not be tolerated, or simply because to dismiss them is a right thing to do for the company, they will dismiss them. They are not afraid of making an unpopular decision. At the same time, however, they consider each difficult decision carefully, before proceeding with making it.


Tough interview questions for managers and how to answer them

Interview led informally in a cafeteria. The job candidate feels good about her chances, she is smiling.Question 1. How do you motivate your subordinates?

Answer: The best answer is to say that you try to address the issue of motivation individually, with every single employee you manage.

Identifying the problem (it can be lack of money, bad relationships in the workplace, personal problems they experience in their family, inability to see the connection of their personal goals and goals you want to achieve in the company, etc) should be the first step you take.

Second step consists in addressing the problem, whether with a right talk, or an incentive, or a punishment, or any other measure you’d take to help your subordinate to regain their motivation and to deliver their best.


Question 2. What makes you a great leader?

Recruiters and HR managers start to understand the importance of leadership. Real leaders can make a huge difference for the entire business, or at least for the department they spearhead. (Note: We have a separate article dedicated to leadership interview questions. Check it out to see how to answer interview questions that target your ability to lead the other and the company.)

Answer: The best leaders help other people to become better. Once a company has many leaders (not only leaders of the others, but also leaders of their own life, work, and destiny), it will fly through the competition like a rocket, reaching the skies, or even fly beyond them. Nothing can stop such a company from progressing. And you should try to become such a leader. Let’s have a look at a sample answer:

“I always try to help my subordinates to progress in both their personal and professional life. Higher level of motivation, higher level of self confidence, higher level of effectiveness, higher level of personal leadership. That is what makes me a great leader. And I also try to teach my direct subordinates how to lead the others, so we can grow into the organization of leaders.”


Questions 3. What has been the biggest management problem you faced in your last job?

Manager is scared before his interview - he has no idea what to sayAnswer: Explain a problem, and elaborate on it with your solution. Turn your biggest challenge to the sweetest victory you’ve ever experienced in your career.

Show them that you consider each problem a challenge, in a positive sense of a word. Problems are opportunities to become better in what we do. Only unsuccessful people win or lose. Successful people win, or learn…

And if you apply for your very first job, you can talk about a difficult problem you had to handle at the college, or in your personal life. We have to manage something every single day of our life.


Question 4. What do you consider the most important abilities of a great manager?

Answer: You can either name the abilities we have described in this article, or you can go with leadership, achieving goals of the company on a perpetual basis, and helping all people who work under you to deliver their best in work, to achieve their full potential.

Communication skills, social skills, ability to utilize the strengths of each team member, and eliminate the weaknesses they have, are some other abilities that characterize a good manager.

Obviously, the right answer differs a bit for different types of management position. Check interview questions for various management roles to understand what characterize a great process manager, project manager, product manager, etc.


Behavioral questions for managers

Interviewers, man and woman, have strange looks at their faces. One can read from the picture that they are not paerticularly happy about the answers of the job candidate. In nearly every managerial interview, they will ask you also some behavioral questions. These questions help the HR managers to understand how you would approach various situations that belong to the daily bread of a manager. To popular behavioral questions for managerial interviews belong:

  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work. (Try to show them how you handled the pressure, tell them that it did not affect you negatively in work, etc.)
  • Describe a conflict you had with your colleague. (Conflicts can be constructive, or destructive. Try to convince the interviewers that you do your best to avoid conflicts, and that you have clear strategy of addressing and solving them.)
  • Describe a situation when you faced a particularly demanding problem or challenge in your personal life. How did that affect you in your job? (A very common situation nowadays, since everyone experiences problems such as divorce, death in a family, health issues, etc. Try to demonstrate that the problem did not affect you in your job (or affected you minimally), that you managed to separate your personal and professional life.)
  • Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in job (it was repetitive, you did not enjoy your duties, there was no work to do, etc). How did you overcome the crisis? (Motivating the others is one thing, motivating yourself another. Show the hiring committee that you always keep your goals in mind–both professional and personal, and that achieving them drives you forward and helps you to overcome the crisis. Needless to say, you should narrate a situation with a positive outcome, when you eventually managed to find your motivation.)
  • Describe a time when you were tempted to start a relationship with your colleague (or a client, or a customer).
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career. (The goal is to stay positive, to demonstrate–on setback you experienced in the past, that you see both successes and failures as a part of the game, as something temporary, as an opportunity, and perhaps the only way, to learn and to become better.)
  • Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that? (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.)

* You will find multiple brilliant answers to all difficult behavioral interview questions in our Interview Success Package.


Conclusion – competition and victory

two managers shake handsManagerial jobs are extremely popular, and you will always compete with other people in your interview. Speaking from personal experience with running a recruitment agency,  we always received more than fifty job applications when we advertised a job opening for a managerial position (in some extreme cases we got more than 200 applications).

It is not easy to outclass the other job applicants, and to walk away a winner from this interview. Nevertheless, you should try to control what you can control: write a great job application, prepare for the most common interview questions, work your interviewing skills, improve your management skills.

If you do that and still fail, you can be happy. Successful people do not win or lose. They win or learn. If you do not get a job in your first managerial interview, you will surely succeed in the next one (or the one after that :)).


May also interest you

Leadership interview questions – Leadership. An ability to lead the others, the company you work for, or perhaps just your own life? Do you have the skills within you? And do you know how to demonstrate your leadership in a job interview? We will have a look at some common questions the employers use to test your leadership skills.

Interview Success Package – Great answers to thirty most common interview questions (both screening and behavioral), and your guide on how to win the heart of every HR manager.

Body language in an interview – The HR managers observer a lot of things while talking to you. Learn what your body language betrays about you, and how you can control it.

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 website.
Matthew Chulaw

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