Interview Questions to Ask a Candidate for a Potential Manager Job

The Role of a Manager Requires Knowledge, Skills, and Experience

Hispanic woman with resume applying for job during interview meeting
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Interviewing a candidate for a management or supervisory position is a lot different than screening a person to work on the front-line for your company. After all, they are going to mentor and guide the employees under their charge. And they will be accountable for the way the department runs and ultimately functions. So you want to find the right person for the job. That means coming up with the right questions to ask during the interview.

The following sample job interview questions about a candidate's management style, experience, outlook, and personality will help you assess his or her supervisory skills. They will also help you determine whether he or she is a good fit for your company.

Feel free to use these questions in your own interviews or use them as a base to develop your own questions. As you interview potential management employees for your company, you will find out over time which questions yield the most useful information.

You'll want to ask the questions that best support your final candidate selection.

Before You Begin the Potential Manager Interview

You'll want to make sure your candidate ticks off all of the requirements on your list before you schedule that interview. You want to make sure the person is motivated, a people person, and a results-oriented leader.

Furthermore, you need to hire a candidate who is experienced and able to work well under pressure. Finally, you want to talk with a candidate who is approachable, personable, works well with a team, and has a great attitude.

There are two types of questions you'll want to ask—those that focus on the candidate's experience, and those that provide insight into his or her behavior and personality.

Questions to Always Ask Management Job Candidates

Always ask these management job interview questions. The answers give you valuable knowledge about the candidate’s experience.

  • How long have you worked as a manager?
  • How many employees reported directly to you in your management job? (Here, you are asking about the number of employees he or she directly supervised with performance assessment and compensation assignment responsibilities.)
  • Describe the exact responsibilities and activities over which you had oversight for these employees. (This will give you insight into what his or her job duties were in their previous position.)
  • How do you prioritize your role as a manager? (This is important because a manager will have to be able to recognize opportunities and situations that will need immediate attention while being able to put off things that may be less important for a later time.)

Behavioral Management Interview Questions

Always ask several of these management job interview questions. The answers will give you valuable knowledge about the candidate’s management style, outlook, and personality. You want to know who you are hiring.

  • How would you describe your management style? (You'll want to see how he or she manages so you can determine whether their style matches that of your company.)
  • How would the people reporting to you describe your management style?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a manager and supervisor?
  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you have experienced the most success. How did you help contribute to that culture and success? (Again, the answer to this question can give you some insight into whether the candidate's style will mesh well with the employees in your company.)
  • How have you dealt with a difficult or underperforming employee in the past? How did you address the situation? Did the employee’s performance improve? If not, what did you do next?
  • How have you rewarded an employee's excellent performance and hard work?
  • Tell me about a time when you reorganized a department or significantly changed employee work assignments. How did you approach the task? How did the affected employees respond to your actions?
  • How you have managed employee performance in the past? Describe the process you have used for performance feedback.
  • Describe how you've developed relationships with new coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff at your last job?
  • How you have been able to provide direction and leadership in your previous departments? (Asking a candidate this question will help you figure out if he is motivated and considers his team a priority.)
  • What do you feel are the most significant contributions of a manager in the workplace? How have you demonstrated these in your past jobs as a manager?
  • What would you identify as the key contribution of a manager in the workplace?

During the Interview

As the interview progresses, don't forget to take notes and engage the candidate. But remember, as the interview progresses, don't just stick to your script—ask follow up questions. Something your interviewee says may trigger another question that may not be on your list. You need to follow these questions to wherever their responses lead you.

The Bottom Line

These tips on how to assess your candidate’s management interview question answers will assist you to select the best management employees for your organization. Do keep reading to see how to approach your candidate’s answers. They can seriously have an impact on the candidate you choose for your open position.