Regional Manager is often just a fancy job title for a Sales Manager. In such a case, you will lead a team of sales representatives, just as you would do in a normal sales manager job, just your subordinates won’t share the same office with you. They will be based in different locations across a certain region (one state, more states, more districts, etc). And you will also sell directly to the customers.
In other cases, Regional Manager oversees a group of retail stores within a certain region, making sure that they operate smoothly, according to the marketing and branding policies of the company, and meet their quarterly and yearly sales goals.
In both cases, this is an interesting job with a great salary. It is definitely worth trying to get it in an interview. Let’s have a look at some questions you may face, and how you should answer them to make the right impression on the hiring managers.
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Can you please tell us more about your previous working experience?
This is an icebreaker question in many job interviews. Not in this one though. Experience matters for senior managerial roles, and questions about your previous experience are actually the most important questions in this interview.
You should talk about your managerial and leadership experience. But do not say just what jobs you had, and what you did. Talk about achievements, impact you had on the business of your former employer.
At the end of the day, numbers matter for the decision makers. In your former managerial roles, did you manage to increase the sales by 10%? 50%, maybe 100%? Or did you find entirely new markets for the products of your employer?
Did you hire great sales team, or (if you managed a store), did the place and the employees thrive under your leadership? And if they thrived, how did it translate into tangible goals and numbers for your employer?
There are the things that matter for the interviewers. It is not important whether you managed a small team or store, or perhaps a big one. As long as you demonstrate that you made some positive difference in that place, benefiting from your excellent management skills, they will be impressed.
What do you know about our company (stores, products)?
You cannot effectively manage anything unless you know it throughout. And you should know it pretty well–not only their business, but also their competitors, market trends, what’s going on in the industry, and what will likely happen in five years from now, the future trends.
Do your research, and do not limit yourself to checking the website of the corporation. Check individual locations of the stores/sales teams. If you can find their financial statements online (in many countries, companies are obliged to share them publicly), go through them, check the numbers, find ares for improvement.
Once you know a lot about them–where they stand at the moment, what they try to achieve, who their main competitors are, you can actually come up with a vision. You can present this vision in an interview, explaining where you’d like to take the stores or sales or sales teams, within the region you’ll be responsible for. Each hiring manager will be impressed with such an answer.
At the end of the day, you should also praise them for something. Find something that resonates with you, or something they do really good. Can be their product, level of customer service, reputation of the company, marketing efforts, anything. You can even point it out as one of the reasons why you decided to apply for the job with them. You can also check 7 sample answers to this question here.
How do you imagine a typical day in this job?
This may again sound like an icebreaker question, but it definitely isn’t the case in an interview for a regional manager position. Because this job title can mean a lot of things.
If you imagine sitting in a comfy office, delegating your work to subordinates, while in fact you’ll be just an ordinary salesman with a few extra managerial duties within the given region, they will not hire you for the job.
The most important thing is to show realistic expectations. Do not get fooled by the job title. Read the job description carefully, and think about the business model of the company. If you can find another regional manager working for them, for example on LinkedIn, reach out and ask them about their working duties, a typical day in job.
All of this should give you a realistic idea about the job, and then you should present it in your interview. Do not forget to speak with enthusiasm about a typical day in your new job. They should get an impression that you are looking forward to your new role, and everything that belongs to it.
Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership in work.
You can talk about a variety of situations at this point, but you should always show that you aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, to go by an example, to propose some disruptive changes, while trying to take your team or store to the next level. For example, you can narrate a situation when:
- You challenged the opinion of your superior, because you saw a better direction for the company.
- You weren’t afraid of taking on the manual labor, or of sitting in front of a computer and making cold calls, because you saw that your employees struggled with motivation and needed a role model.
- Facing a tricky situation in the company, you weren’t afraid to make an unpopular decision, for example dismissing someone, because you knew it was the best thing for the business in a long run.
- You proposed some major changes that had an impact on all people in the company, including you.
You can use the popular STAR model when describing the situation, but you do not necessarily have to. As long as they see that you can think critically, act independently, and propose some major changes, and follow them through, they will be satisfied with your answer.
How do you plan to motivate your subordinates, the sales representatives, to try harder and to always achieve better results?
You probably have your experience, and know how to motivate people from the sales team. But you should not talk only about bonuses and holiday vouchers for people who break the sales records… Because while you always can motivate people with money, and it is definitely important to have a clear structure of rewards in place, in each sales team, you should not limit yourself to such strategy of improving the motivation of your employees.
Try to talk about something different. Perhaps trying to hire the right people at first place, people who’d fit well the team and the company culture, people who are driven to sell big and earn big.
Then you can talk also about building the right atmosphere in the team, team building events, having regular one on one meetings with your salesmen, trying to understand them better, and motivate them accordingly, and so on.
Of course the motivation will waver in your team. Low periods and series of bad weeks belong to each sales job. But as long as you manage to help your employees get over the low periods, without quitting, better days will certainly come, and you will all make a bank… For some inspiration, you can check also 7 sample answers to the interview question about motivating others.
Other questions you may face in your regional (sales) manager interview
- What role does reporting and monitoring play in this job?
- If we hire you for the position of regional manager, what will be the first thing you will do in the job?
- Describe the biggest conflict you had with one of your subordinates in your last job.
- What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career?
- Your task is to hire five new sales representative for our company, in this region. Describe how you will proceed.
- Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Give us an example when you managed, bossed, and led someone as a manager.
- How would you describe your management style?
- What are your career goals? Do you have on your mind some job or position you’d like to have in five or ten years from now?
- What’s the best project you’ve ever worked on?
- We have dozens of candidates for this job. Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants?
* Special tip: Not sure how to answer the behavioral questions, “tell us about a time when…”, “describe a situation…”, etc? Have a look at our Interview Success Package, where you’ll find up to 10 brilliant answers to more than 100 interview questions, including 30+ behavioral questions–basically everything a hiring manager can throw at you in an interview for any managerial role. Thank you for checking it out!
Conclusion, next steps
Regional manager, or regional sales manager, can mean a lot of things. You need to read the job description carefully to understand what exactly hides behind this fancy job title. One thing is certain though: it is a popular job title, and you will almost always compete with many other people for the job. It makes your situation more difficult…
At the end of the day, luck favors the prepared mind. Try to get ready for all question from this article, and do a good research about your future employer, including their products and main competitors.
Last but not least, you should think carefully about your past working experience. Try to identify situations when you demonstrated leadership, solved a difficult problem, reached some goals, or basically did something that helped a lot your past employer.
You can benefit from these situation while answering various behavioral questions in your interview, and also while explaining your past experience, which matters a lot in this particular interview… I wish you good luck!
* You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later, even when offline:
May also help you succeed:
- Leadership interview questions – Each good manager is a good leader. Learn how to answer some common question about your leadership skills.
- Territory sales manager interview questions.
- Salary negotiation tips – There’s definitely some room for negotiation when we talk about a job of regional manager. Learn how get the most of it…