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Manager

20 Interview Questions & Answers

1.
If I were to interview the people who have reported to you in the past, how would they describe your management style?
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There are a plethora of management styles, and the interviewer would like assurance that your style fits well with their needs and workplace culture. Before your interview, you should have a solid idea of the type of leadership for which the company is seeking. There will be keyword indicators in the job posting, job description, and on their website. Use their terms, as often as possible.

Some management styles are:

- Democratic or Participative
- Authoritative or Directive
- Collaborative or Affiliative
- Pacesetting or Coaching

If you are unsure of your management style, try taking a free personality test like the one 16Personalities.com. By completing this exercise, you will gain a firm understanding of your personality keywords, and they type of leadership style you possess, as well as the type of leadership style to which you best respond.

1.
If I were to interview the people who have reported to you in the past, how would they describe your management style?
There are a plethora of management styles, and the interviewer would like assurance that your style fits well with their needs and workplace culture. Before your interview, you should have a solid idea of the type of leadership for which the company is seeking. There will be keyword indicators in the job posting, job description, and on their website. Use their terms, as often as possible.

Some management styles are:

- Democratic or Participative
- Authoritative or Directive
- Collaborative or Affiliative
- Pacesetting or Coaching

If you are unsure of your management style, try taking a free personality test like the one 16Personalities.com. By completing this exercise, you will gain a firm understanding of your personality keywords, and they type of leadership style you possess, as well as the type of leadership style to which you best respond.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that my team would describe me as a pacesetter, or coach when it comes to my management style. I have strong expectations set for my team, and I motivate them to achieve these standards by showing my employees, rather than just telling."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"At this point in my early management career, I have been emulating the actions of my management, and have taken the points that I like, implemented those, and eliminated the parts I did not like. My team has responded well to me, and I think they would describe me as an affiliative style leader. I like to try new ways to get my team members to bond with each other, creating a more cohesive team environment. We spend a lot of time together, so I believe it's important to establish trust and relationship among coworkers."
Anonymous Answer
"This is a question I often ask my team because my goal is to be collaborative. The feedback I've gotten is that I am the type of leader that isn't scared to roll up her sleeves and assist whenever it's necessary. I am supportive of the needs of my team and their customers and communicate with them at the frequency that's needed so that they feel the support without being crowded."
Rachelle's Answer
I like that you already ask this question of your team. It shows a lot of awareness and a willingness to learn. Mentioning your ability to support without crowding is an excellent way to position your leadership style.
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Anonymous Answer
"Honest, reliable, happy, but serious about getting the job done. The type of person who believes in teamwork."
Rachelle's Answer
These are good descriptive words, and it's nice that you elaborated to discuss more of your management philosophy.
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2.
Rate your management skills from 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent management skills. Why did you choose that rating?
If you are responsible for rating your skills, chances are, you will lean more on the modest side versus overselling yourself. On a scale of 1-10, discuss how skilled are you in managing a business, or others. Avoid giving yourself a 10, and nobody is perfect, and you do not want to come across as overly confident or someone who has no room for feedback and improvement. Alternately, avoid giving yourself too little credit. You do not want to appear incapable when it comes to managing others. Best case is to remain in the 7.5-9.5 range while staying honest and accurate. Use an example of your excellent management skills in action.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I would rate my management skills as a 9/10. Sometimes I am not as swift with delegation as I could be but I am a very approachable leader who encourages questions from my team, which they seem to appreciate. I recently had an employee tell me that I was the best manager they have ever had. That felt great to hear."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Despite my being new to a career in management, I would rate myself as a 7.5. I have done a deep dive into many management books as of late, to hone my skills and abilities further when it comes to managing a team. I strive to be an eager learner who will pass that knowledge on to my team."
Anonymous Answer
"I would rate myself 8/10, the reason being that I've had the opportunity to learn from functional managers. Not only that, but I have also taken leadership classes in college."
Mary's Answer
This is a great start. Consider adding what areas you are actively working to improve.
"I would rate my management skills as 8/10. I studied leadership courses in college, and have had the opportunity to be mentored by excellent managers. There is always room for improvement, so I study current leadership and management trends and stay open to feedback and learning."
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Anonymous Answer
"I will choose a 7.5, and the reason for that is that there will always be something new to learn and an opportunity for me to be a better manager. I am skilled at rallying my team behind a common goal and have learned to rely on my intuition regarding the strengths of each individual on my team. These skills make me very good at what I do!"
Rachelle's Answer
You do an excellent job supporting your management skills while also showing that you recognize room for improvement.
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3.
If I were to interview those who report to you, what would they say is one strength, and one weakness of yours, as a leader?
This question is a slightly more indirect way to ask your strengths, and weaknesses because the interviewer is looking for your opinion from your team's perspective. Have you ever asked for feedback on your leadership style? Think back to your performance reviews with your leadership, or perhaps you have had comments from your team, in passing, regarding things they are thankful for about you. When you mention your weakness, be sure to express what you have been doing to improve upon that weakness. When you think of your strengths, you should relate them to the needs of the employer, according to the job description.

Here are some examples of unique strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths:
- Strong knowledge in a significant software program, used in this role.
- Ability to be objective or to take feedback.
- Disciplined and able to meet the most stringent deadlines.


Weaknesses:
- Perfectionism, internalized, AKA: being too tough on yourself.
- User level in a particular software program.
- Trying always to find solutions that make everyone happy (impossible!).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If asked, I believe that my team would say that I am a bit tough on myself when it comes to the expectation level that I put on myself. I am a bit of a perfectionist but am working on relaxing that a touch by letting the smaller, unimportant details go. My strength is in my knowledge of my team. I take the time to get to know every one of them, resulting in an excellent teamwork environment."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that my current team would say that I am often trying to make everyone happy. It's an endless, and impossible pursuit, so I am working hard to shake that mentality. I recently picked up a couple of leadership books and will be getting some pointers from them as well. One of my strong points is my ability to research and respond when I know I lack a particular skill."
Anonymous Answer
"I have a tendency of trying to make everyone one, which is like chasing the wind. They would agree on my ability to bring them together to form a strong team."
Mary's Answer
Try reformatting for better understanding.
"If you were to interview past direct reports, they would share that my strength is my ability to unify a team and work together towards a shared vision. My strength has also been a liability, as I have spent too much time investing in individuals unwilling to align with the team's goals. This has improved over time."
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Anonymous Answer
"If they were to chose just one strength, it would be that I can be counted on to provide honest feedback. In contrast, one weakness would be that I have a tendency to take on too much at once."
Rachelle's Answer
I like this strength because it's a skill that many people struggle with...providing honest feedback. Try offering a weakness that is less common or typical and then follow that up with what you are doing to improve on that skill.
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4.
Discuss a time you managed an employee with a behavioral problem. What was their behavior, and how did you correct it?
The interviewer would like to further learn about your management style when it comes to delinquent employees. Perhaps you have a system in place for handling recurring behavioral issues. Confirm with the interviewer that you are capable of approaching a situation like this head-on, but professionally. Mention that you involve the human resources department, when necessary, and put a strong emphasis on your documentation and reporting when it comes to tracking problematic behavior.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Just last month I had an employee who was late four days in a row. This behavior was very unlike them so I pulled them aside and asked if there was anything I could do to help them get to work on time. I documented the late days, to which they were aware. The employee's behavior was corrected immediately. I did not need to come down hard on this employee - I simply needed to address that I noticed their tardiness."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If I had an employee with a recurring behavioral problem, I would have a one-on-one meeting with them and ask them point-blank what was causing the issue. There is no sense beating around the bush in situations such as that. Employees need to be accountable for their behavior, and a good manager will address a situation like this immediately."
Anonymous Answer
"When it comes to problematic behavior, it's important to address it head-on and begin documenting right away. Everything seemed fine until he made a mistake in documenting a sensitive report and as a result required re-training. He turned defiant and refused to accept responsibility. It was clear he was worried he would be terminated, and I set up a meeting for him to speak to the head of compliance on his own to address his concerns. I documented the issue with HR and followed up with the compliance department as well as set time aside to meet with my subordinate one to one. When someone is unsure about their job, they can behave in surprising ways."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good point you make in the end! Your focus on documentation is incredibly important and should be appreciated by any potential employer.
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5.
Who is your favorite influencer in the management or leadership space?
There are many influencers in the leadership and management arena's, and the interviewer would like to know who your favorite one is. An influencer is a famous individual who is often the pace-setter when it comes to change and ideas in your industry. They may be someone famous, an author, the host of a podcast that you listen to, a journalist, or a local business owner that you admire.

Some of the top influencers in leadership and people-management right now are:

- Simon Sinek
- Lolly Daskal
- John Maxwell
- Gary Vaynerchuk
- Tony Robbins

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My favorite influencer in the leadership space right now is Lolly Daskal. I recently read her book, "
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have followed the work of Tony Robbins for years now, and recently attended one of his workshops dedicated to modernizing the thought process of an effective leader. I have put a great deal of effort into molding myself into a great leader, before even taking on my first leadership role. I am ready!"
Anonymous Answer
"I have taken several leadership courses through John Maxwell and am a big fan because his principals are so empowering. Another book I've read is Step Up; Lead in Six Moments that Matter by Henry Evans. This book points out that there are many situations both at work and in our personal lives that call for leadership, even if you're not the one in charge."
Rachelle's Answer
This book sounds very interesting! I like that you give a couple of options, and dig into them, leaving more opportunity for the interviewer to relate.
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