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Management Interview
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25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated August 7th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    

Question 1 of 25

As a manager, who has been your greatest influence?

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Interview Questions

1.

As a manager, who has been your greatest influence?

Have you had an influential mentor in your management career? Talk to the interviewer about what type of influences have shaped your management style. Describe a person that has defined what kind of leader you wish to be.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The greatest influence in my career has been one of my Professors from University. Mr. Smith was my professor in Business Ethics, and I connected well with his teaching style. Even after graduating University, we kept in touch, and he has greatly influenced my coaching, teaching, and leadership style."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"The greatest influence in my career is the executive whom I support. He gave me a chance when I had minimal administrative experience and had come fresh out of school. I have worked very hard for him over the years, and in turn, he has taught me a great deal about business."

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2.

What do you see as the most difficult task in being a manager?

Being in a management role is always a significant challenge. Share with the interviewer what you feel is the most challenging part of being a manager, and why. Also, discuss what you are currently doing to make this task less difficult in the future.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"As a manager, the most difficult task for me is to delegate the work evenly. You will always have team members who are absolute rock-stars, then some who are a bit less enthusiastic or are lower producers. I have to remind myself to distribute the work and responsibilities evenly despite my natural inclination to give more work to the high performers. I am currently working with my underperforming team members to prepare them for a larger workload."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe the biggest challenge for me as a manager is to lead everyone effectively when many of my team members work remote. I like to make a connection with everyone, so I do send friendly check-in emails, for instance, to ensure that despite not being in a corporate office, they are an important part of the team."

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3.

Why do you believe you will have success at this position?

The interviewer would like to know why you feel you are the correct fit for this role. This question presents an excellent time to highlight the skills you possess and show the interviewer that you are the best choice for the position.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I feel that I will be successful in this position because I am passionate about your organization's values and mission. I can see your vision and have already drafted some great ideas on how I can help you to get there. My organizational skills will be a major asset to you, and I also bring with me a strong track record of increasing sales and client base."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I will be successful in this position because I understand your business and I will bring the level of organization that you crave for this role. I have created a 30-day plan for getting the paperwork back on track. In addition to this, I have experience in accounts receivable and am prepared to support your AR department."

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Anonymous Answer

"I feel I would be successful in this position because I’m passionate about where we are headed as a company. I want to play a bigger role in rebuilding trust and bring the company back to prominence With my experience in coaching and motivating team members for years along with my organizational skills, I feel I’m equipped to be successful in this role."

Rachelle's Answer

You do a fantastic job making your case! It's wonderful that you want to support company goals while building up other team members. Any interviewer should appreciate your positive approach.

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Anonymous Answer

"As a person who can learn new products and technologies on my own, I believe I will be able to transition into this position quickly. My entire career has been focused on customer service, which is what this team's function is. I believe I will be able to take the skills that I learned and help lead a team to deliver the highest level of support to your customers. Lastly, on a personal level, to support people who are saving other's lives would be extremely rewarding."

Rachelle's Answer

Your response is well rounded and enthusiastic - all factors that should make the interviewer very happy to hear.

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4.

What type of employees do you find difficult to manage?

The interviewer would like to know more about the types of employees that you find difficult to manage. As a manager, you will be required to lead a great variety of personality types. Discuss with the interviewer the types of personalities that you find most challenging to manage, and why.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I find it most challenging to lead individuals who are not self-motivated. As a manager, you can do everything in your power to ensure that someone is successful, but you cannot force them to want it."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have come across administrators who are so disinterested in the job, company, or opportunity, that they'll continue to keep doing the bare minimum of satisfactory work. Those individuals are very challenging for me. At some point, they do eventually work themselves out of a job, but until then, it is difficult to manage."

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5.

As a manager, how have you built successful teams in the past?

You, as a manager, can only be as successful as your team. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to build exceptional teams in the past. What is your formula for success?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have built many successful teams as a manager and have found that the most important factor is to create a personal connection with each member of the team and then create a way for each team member to feel a connection to the team's end goal. Once everyone feels invested in the result, they will be active and involved team members."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I build a successful team by showing everyone they are valuable, as are their ideas. When people feel like an important part of a collaboration they are more likely to exceed expectations."

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Anonymous Answer

"I believe getting everyone to understand that we are all on the same team, and we will support everyone to the best of our abilities - has played a big part in my current team's success. If people have something going on at home, they know someone will cover for them. If they make a warranty decision they know that their team and supervisor is going to have their back."

Rachelle's Answer

This sounds like a perfect team environment and a very cohesive way of working together. It may also be helpful to speak about the state of the team when you took over, and how it's improved under your leadership.

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6.

How do you successfully motivate your team?

Motivated employees are productive employees. Talk to the interviewer about how you ensure that your team is feeling motivated and being as productive as possible.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My formula for a motivated team is to get to know them, uncover what they are passionate about, and find out how they like to be recognized. If I can provide my team with proper recognition, tasks that they enjoy and feel they are good at - then they will perform as motivated employees."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Motivating my team to do well is one of my greatest joys. I put incentives in place that resonate with them and utilize multiple recognition techniques to get the job done."

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Anonymous Answer

"To better help me motive my team, I have done what I call a core value exercise that causes them to pick their top 6, then top 4, then top 2 core values that they find to be most important to them. This allows me to adjust my approach to them when coaching opportunities come up by hitting on these values."

Rachelle's Answer

Very interesting approach! Can you cite a specific example of a time when this approach worked exceptionally well?

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7.

What personality traits do you look for in people you are hiring?

The interviewer would like to know more about the type of employees that you tend to hire. Everyone has a 'type,' even in the workplace. Talk to the interviewer about the characteristics and personality types that you tend to engage and why you lean that way.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"When I am hiring I look for individuals with grit and drive. People who have a record of fighting through tough times, rather than giving up, tend to be the best employees. They are loyal and are willing to go the extra mile without being asked."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Administration is often a solo gig, but if you don't work together with other departments, share ideas, and support each other, you won't be as productive as you could be. For that reason, if I were hiring an administrative assistant, I would look for someone individually driven who is still passionate about teamwork."

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8.

What type of goals do you like to set for yourself and your team?

The interviewer would like to know more about your goal setting techniques and process. What types of goals are you most keen on setting for your employees? Talk to the interviewer about the kinds of goals that you find most important.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I put my team's goals into three categories. Financial goals, client acquisition goals, and personal growth goals. Financial goals focus on their commercial sales targets for the quarter. Client acquisition goals are the number of new client relationships that they bring in. And personal growth goals focus on their professional development. This goal can include taking a course or reading a new career-related book."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I like to set two types of goals; current projects, and future projects. It's important, as an administrator, to not remain focused solely on the tasks in front of our noses. We also need to prepare for shifts in the business that may happen down the road."

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Anonymous Answer

"I like to give my team small goals that they can complete in a short amount of time that will add up to a larger purpose. I find that this will keep more people motivated as they will continue to reach goals over and over, keeping them more engaged. As the leader of the team, I have to be more focused on the future and make sure what we are doing today will allow us to succeeded six months or a year down the road."

Rachelle's Answer

This is a fantastic approach to goal setting - well done! It seems you have a strong ability to look at the short and long-term picture simultaneously.

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9.

As a manager, what is your greatest weakness?

Everyone has their weaknesses -- and that is okay! Talk to the hiring manager about what you feel you could work on the most, and what you are doing about it. Avoid discussing a weakness that could be detrimental to you securing the position.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"As a manager, I feel that my greatest weakness is in terminating employees at the first sign that they are not going to work out. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and have been guilty of trying to nurture people when they are overdue for termination. I have worked on this and am becoming much better at 'ripping off the band-aid' so to speak."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am currently working on my understanding of the goals of my administrative team. I know that once I better understand what is driving them in the workplace, I can teach each of them a few tasks that will help develop their careers. This approach will also allow me to delegate more confidently."

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Anonymous Answer

"Since all of my team members work remotely, I tend not to delegate simple tasks that they could complete from home. I just take it upon myself and finish the job. In the last year, we have gotten Microsoft office 365, and this has made it much easier for me to delegate some of these tasks that I would have not in the past and allow my team more opportunity to grow."

Rachelle's Answer

This would be a challenge for sure, delegating when your team is remote. It's wonderful that you were able to leverage 365 in such an impactful way.

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10.

Tell me about a situation in which you had to work with fellow team members who did not like you.

As is often the case, if you are in a management role, you will have employees under you who may not like you. Now, if your entire team despises you, you may have a much bigger problem. One in which you shouldn’t tell the interviewer about. Keep your answer short and simple, and focus on one employee whose personality didn’t mesh with yours. And you were able to figure out a way to motivate and not let this personality clash affect your performance together. Also, do not mention names of employees.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"When I first started in my current role, I was replacing a very beloved manager who had retired. The team that I inherited was not happy about the change, and they initially set out to give me a hard time. I addressed it within the first week, acknowledging that I had big shoes to fill. I believe that the team respected this honest approach and slowly everyone came around once they realized that I had their best interest in mind."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When I worked as a temporary administrative assistant, I did not always jive with the head administrators. Because I was in a temp role, I felt overlooked or treated poorly. I did my work to the best of my ability regardless, because I wanted to keep a good reputation with my agency. I don't need everyone to like me, but I do need to deliver great work!"

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11.

How many people did you supervise at your last position?

The interviewer would like to know more about the level of responsibility you are accustomed to having. Start with the most amount of people you have managed, even if it is not from your current or most recent position. If you are unsure, ask the interviewer how many people you would be handling in this role. If there is a significant uptick in this role, from what you are used to, then you need to overcome that future objection of not having enough leadership experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Currently, I am supervising 12 employees with an overall portfolio responsibility of $24MM. In my role, before this one, I managed 23 employees but with a smaller portfolio of $6MM. I can handle a large range of employees. Could you share with me the team size in this particular role?"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"As an executive assistant to the president, I look after the EA to the VP as well as the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable person. I also lead large teams of volunteers on the weekends, as I am the volunteer coordinator for the local soup kitchen. I know how to distribute tasks very well while playing to the strengths of others."

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12.

What do you think our company's biggest challenge is?

The interviewer would like to know what you think the company's biggest challenge is. After researching the organization, what is this particular company's biggest problem, and how do you think that you can assist?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"After speaking with you further about the company, and this role, I believe that the biggest challenge this company has faced is in hiring the right talent. I have a strong background in recruitment as well as management and do feel that I can assist with this hurdle. Having the right team players is imperative to a company's success and, if we can tackle that, I see great things happening."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"From what I have read your biggest challenge has been the economic downturn as of late. I understand that this is a great time to reorganize your company and ensure that you are running lean. I look forward to helping you streamline many processes."

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13.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge for this management position?

Each new career will come with its own set of challenges. Openly share with the interviewer what you feel would be the biggest challenge for this particular position.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I feel that the biggest challenge for this management position will be to learn your in-depth industry. I have some experience in your industry but understand that a lot of research still needs to happen. I am happy to start learning, right away!"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe that the biggest challenge will be learning the ins and outs of your company while gaining a grasp of the workplace culture at the same time. I am expecting a learning curve, but I look forward to the challenge!"

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Anonymous Answer

"The biggest challenge I will have in this role is learning all the different products that we are servicing. In my spare time, I have been getting myself familiar with all the different parts of the instruments division. Once in this role, I would like to spend time with people on the phones so that I can learn more from the experts."

Rachelle's Answer

Fantastic work; getting yourself prepared ahead of time. This initiative should be well-received by the hiring authorities.

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14.

Tell me about a critical decision you have made that greatly affected your team's performance.

The interviewer would like to know more about your ability to make critical decisions on behalf of your team. As a manager, you will sometimes be required to make tough decisions that will impact your entire team. Talk about a time that you had to do so. What was the outcome and how did you ensure that the team's morale recovered?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Just last week I had to decide to terminate one of our most popular team leads. This decision was critical because the team liked the individual; however, his performance was poor. This action produced low morale for a few days until the team recovered enough to see that their productivity was increasing without the distraction of this particular individual."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I put in a request to have my teams desked moved closer to the accounts payable /accounts receivable department. We needed to improve communication between departments and being on a different floor was no longer an option. With the request granted, we have seen a great improvement in communication since then."

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15.

What do your team members think of you as the team leader?

It is essential that you are aware and honest, about your strong points and shortcomings when it comes to your leadership skills. Talk to the interviewer about what you honestly feel your team would say about your leadership skills.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I often ask my team members for feedback on my leadership skills. The points that consistently come up are that I am a clear communicator and that I am approachable. One thing that I could work on would be my ability to be more concise in my direction, but I have been working on that and feel that I have improved significantly. "

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have earned the respect of my team by working closely with them since the beginning. My team feels confident in my leadership, and we work through many challenges together on a daily basis."

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Anonymous Answer

"Overall my team members have told me that I am someone they can come to and ask questions freely and know that I am always going to be there to help them. They also appreciate that I am willing to roll up my sleeves and work side by side with them when the time calls for it."

Rachelle's Answer

Your team members seem to appreciate you, which is wonderful. This answer speaks well to your abilities as a leader. If you wish to get more specific re: a time when you rolled up your sleeves, this would be a nice addition to your response.

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