Last updated on January 21st, 2019 at 04:06 pm

two men and two womeen wait for their turn in the supervisor interview. one man wears blue shirt, another one black jacker. One woman is dressed in white blouse, another one has black skirt. They all look nervous. Without too much of an introduction, you can find below ten common interview questions for supervisors.

Short hint explains how you should answer each question while trying to make a good impression on the hiring managers. Enjoy!

 

Question 1: What characterize a great supervisor?

Answer: A great supervisor can motivate their subordinates, they go by example, they have good observation skills, and they can utilize the strengths of the people they lead in their teams.

Alternatively you can say that great supervisor maintains the highest possible productivity and motivation of the team they supervise (or each team member), and helps the company to achieve their goals on an ongoing basis.

 

Question 2: Why do you think you can become a good supervisor?

Answer: Because you have the skills and abilities a good supervisor has (mention the strengths from the first answer), because you are motivated to work hard, and becasue you have experience with similar jobs (if any of that is true).

Alternatively you can go for a practical answer, narrating your experience with supervising/managing a small team. It can be a working team, a sport club, or even just a group of friends you led. The goal is to convince us, with the help of a practical example, that you are good at supervising people.

 

Man shows a tablet to a lady, and she struggles to understand a message on it. Both are formally dressed. The picture illustrates the situation from a job interview.Question 3: How would you assess the level of motivation of your subordinates?

Answer: Choosing the right metrics, and comparing productivity of everyone on a daily basis, is a great answer. You can also say that you would talk to your people regularly, trying to get feedback, and understand if they are satisfied with their jobs, and motivated to work hard.

Alternatively you can say that you would compare results of each employee, on a weekly and monthly basis, creating Excel charts and trying to understand their current level of motivation with the help of your charts.

One way or another, you should demonstrate that you understand the importance of motivation in the workplace, and have a clear idea how to measure and evaluate it.

 

Question 4: What do you consider the main goals of a supervisor?

Answer: To maintain high motivation and enthusiasm in the workplace, to ensure everyone works to their full potential, and to take care of any problems that arise in the workplace, or between the workers.

You can also opt for another approach, saying that the main goal of a supervisor is to achieve the goals of the company with their team, and say that everything else is secondary, and starts from that primary goal.

 

Question 5: How do you handle conflicts with people you supervise?

Answer: You should say that you try to avoid conflicts. But if there is no way to avoid a conflict, or if you fail to avoid it, you try to understand the perspective of the other person, and find the solution that will be good for the entire team–and not only for you.

You can also say that you always try to maintain the authority of your position, since if you lost it in a conflict with one of your subordinates, other people from the team might not respect you anymore.

You can even elaborate on your answer, saying that you try to organize small team building events for your subordinates (playing bowling, going to the football match, playing some other games, or just drinking in a bar :)), to help strengthen a team spirit, which should lead to fewer conflict situations in the workplace.

 

Two men in grey suits sit at a table. We can se one from the front and another from the back. One of them interviews for a suprvisory position with the company.Question 6: How do you plan to go by an example for your subordinates?

Answer: Sticking to the rules, working hard, and even helping with manual labor (if necessary, e.g. when someone did not arrive to work, and you did not have a replacement for the person) is a good answer to this question.

Another way of going by example (or another approach to this interview question) is saying that you plan to actively participate in everything the team does, including the manual labor.

Your participation will help you to understand the ins and outs of their work, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. People always respect the boss who is not afraid to take on the manual labor (even if only for a few hours each week).

 

Question 7: How would you motivate your team members to produce the best possible results?

Answer: Trying to create a competitive atmosphere, trying to motivate the team as a whole, organizing team building events, building good relationships with the workers, ensuring they feel good in work and receive an appropriate reward for their labor, is a great answer to this question.

Show your interviewers that you know how to work with the laborers, and understand what motivates them to work hard every day.

 

A woman sits in front of a duo of interviewers. She is ready to answer all questions.Question 8: Can you define your supervisory style?

Answer: The answer to this question depends on your style of leadership. Do you prefer liberal approach, or do you prefer to maintain a strong authority in the workplace?

Either one you choose, you should be able to tell the interviews why you prefer it. Ideally you should narrate a situation from the past, one on which you demonstrate your supervisory (leadership) style, and show the hiring managers how it helped you to achieve good results with your team.

Alternatively you may say that you are ready to apply both liberal and authoritative approach, and will decide according to the conditions in the workplace, and people you will have in your team.

You will simply pick the style that will suit the team you will supervise.

 

Question 9: How do you imagine a typical day of a supervisor in our company?

Answer: Do not say that you imagine to walk and watch other people working, all day long :).

You should try to show your attention to detail, and proactive approach to work, and also your leadership. Say that you will observe the people, trying to spot the problems, and opportunities to improve the work, and consequently the results of the team. Say us that you will always be on the working site, and keep an eye on your subordinates.

You can also say that you will devote a portion of each day to communication with your subordinates. Asking them about the working conditions, and trying to get a feedback on the work they do, and also on other team members, you always try to find the areas for improvement of both working conditions and results.

 

Question 10: What do you think about starting a relationship with one of your subordinates, outside of work? Do you consider it right?

Answer: The right answer is yes and no. Good relationships outside of work will help to improve the atmosphere in a team, which nearly always leads to better results of work. On the other hand, however, you should not let your emotions to control your decisions in work, and that is hard to achieve if you become emotionally attached to one of your colleagues…

One way or another, we are people. You will be neither the first, nor the last boss who started to date one of their subordinates. The key is to convince us that you can make a thick line between your personal and professional life, that your relationships outside of work won’t affect the decisions you will make in your job.

 

Conclusion, more questions, brilliant sample answers

Job applicant nervously sitting in an interview. We can se only their hands and nice silver wrist-watchOther questions you may face in your interview:

  • Why did you leave your last job? (Why do you want to leave your present job?)
  • Can you tell us something about your working experience?
  • What characterizes a good boss (colleague) from your point of view?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service (for the customer, for the colleague, for your subordinate).
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry (upset) client or subordinate.
  • Describe a situation when you did not agree with the opinion of your superior, and knew that they were wrong. How did you handle the situation?
  • 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 situation when you were unable to solve the problem on your own.
  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss or subordinate. How did you manage to get your message over?
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
  • ….

* Check the eBook I published recently, the Supervisor Interview Guide, to read multiple brilliant answers to all these questions, and to basically get ready for every challenge that awaits you in your interview for a supervisory job.

Thank you, I wish you good luck in your interview!

Matthew

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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