Management Interview Questions

25 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Management was updated on April 10th, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

Have you ever had to fire an employee? What were the reasons for their termination?

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Management Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Have you ever had to fire an employee? What were the reasons for their termination?

      How to Answer

      Terminating an employee is among the least exciting tasks a manager needs to perform. The interviewer wants to know how you approach a termination conversation and determine when a termination is the best course of action. If you have terminated an employee in the past, provide a real-life example highlighting details of the actions you took.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Yes, I have had to terminate two employees in the past. These terminations stemmed from missed targets and insubordination. I found the situation challenging because I did care about them and their well-being. However, I had to remind myself that I did absolutely everything I could to ensure their success. I cannot carry the full responsibility; however, and after each of these team members failed to deliver improvements after being put on a performance plan, termination was the final course of action."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I have had to let go of a couple of part-time administrative assistants. While it's certainly not my favorite task, I feel confident in my abilities to identify a low performer and work to coach them and lead them to satisfactory improvements. If my efforts are not effective, I will choose to terminate the individual."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "Unfortunately, terminating employees is a part of management. I recently had to separate employment with someone who was under-performing. I coached them, offered additional learning experiences, and worked with them on a performance improvement plan. It was the right person in the wrong role, and I decided to move forward with a termination. I was cautious when backfilling the position, knowing what it would take for the replacement to succeed."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "There have been several occasions when I have had to terminate an employee, which weighs on me since I don't want to see anyone fail or be in a financial predicament due to job loss. However, since I have spent so much time with my team and work to mentor them, I will remind myself that I did as much as I could do, and the rest was up to them. If an employee chooses to put in the minimum effort, I will do what is best for the rest of the team and the company which is terminating this underperformers' employment."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "At the beginning of my career, I was part of an HR team that chose when an employee was going to be terminated. As the administrator, I carefully observed the decision-making process and the termination process. Today, as a Retail Manager, I take the approach of coaching up or out. To coach up means that I see potential in the person, and I invest time in additional coaching and mentoring; thus, coaching them 'up' into performing how they should. Coaching the person out means coaching them up until the realization is made that they cannot, or will not, perform to expectations. At that point, the person should be terminated from their position."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I have, unfortunately, have had to let a few employees go. I have always done the best that I can to coach an employee. I create a plan to help get them on track, provide them with any training and additional resources they need to achieve at the level we expect. I also hold frequent check-ins with them. However, sometimes this approach does not work, and we have to go our separate ways. I am always sure that it's not a surprise to that employee since we go through a coaching and regular check-in process."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "I have never had to expel a student, and I am thankful for that. If I have a student on the verge of expulsion, I will coach them heavily and get their parents and the school Principal involved."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Food Service Manager Interview

      "Unfortunately, terminating employees is a part of being a manager. I recently had to separate employment with someone who was under-performing. I spent ample time coaching them. I offered additional training and worked with them on a performance improvement plan. When those efforts failed, I made sure to document everything so that I could make a clean termination when the time came."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Restaurant Manager Interview

      "I have worked with employees on performance plans when they are under-performing but have not directly terminated anyone. This task is left to our regional manager who ensures that all of our human resource policies are followed to a tee. I am confident that I can successfully follow through on terminations while keeping HR policies top of mind."

      1 Community Answer

      Anonymous Answer

      "While I have never had to fire an employee, I have had to put people on a personal improvement plan. Fortunately, when I have gone through this process with team members, we have been able to get them back on track and performing at an acceptable level."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's fantastic to hear that you were able to get these team members back on track! This answer speaks very well to your willingness to invest in the development of others.

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