Last updated on March 23rd, 2020 at 06:22 pm

Leading a team of people, helping 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? H

ow 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 right now.

Two women in nice clothes sit at a table and talk business. The picture illustrates a work of a manager. 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.

Special Tip: You can also download the full list of interview questions for managers in a one page long .PDF document, and practice your interview answers anytime later, even when offline:

Three abilities that characterize great managers

1. They do not only talk and give orders, but also listen and seek constructive feedback. Try to show some humility in your interview. Say that you want to listen to your sub-ordinates, seeking valuable feedback, engaging them in your decisions, while trying to become a better manager.

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

Man is shaking hands with an HR director. He was just hired for a managerial position.3. They can hire, but also 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 it.

So, that’s to the abilities. Let’s have a look at questions:


Question 1. How do you motivate your subordinates?

Answer: The best answer is to say that you try to address each issue of motivation individually, with every 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 in work.


Question 2. What makes you a great leader?

Interview led informally in a cafeteria. The job candidate feels good about her chances, she is smiling.Recruiters and HR managers 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. Do not forget to check it out, since you will likely face few of these questions.

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, so we can grow into the organization of leaders.”


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

Answer: Explain a problem, and elaborate on it with a solution of the problem. 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. 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 the article, or you can go with leadership, achieving goals of the company on a perpetual basis, and helping all people 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 to eliminate their weaknesses, can also 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 each one.
  • 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. 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 on your mind–both professional and personal, and that achieving them drives you forward and helps you to overcome each crisis. Needless to say, you should narrate a situation with a positive outcome, when you eventually managed to find your motivation and reach a difficult goal.
  • 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?

* Special Tip:  If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, or experience anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Fantastic answers to all difficult interview questions will make your life much easier in any managerial interview.


Conclusion and next steps

two managers shake handsManagerial jobs are extremely popular, which makes your interview particularly difficult.

Speaking from personal experience with running a recruitment agency,  we always received more than fifty job applications when we advertised a job opening for any managerial position (in some extreme cases we got hundreds of applications).

It is not easy to outclass 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 on your interviewing skills, try to improve your management skills.

If you do that and still fail, you can walk away feeling content. 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 :)).

Thank you for reading, I wish you good luck!

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Matthew Chulaw
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