5 Common Management-Level Interview Questions & How to Prep

No matter how many job interviews you’ve been through so far, you’re in for some surprises when you get to your first management-level interview. This is where hiring managers start shaking the questions up and attempting to dig even deeper into your work experience – notably, your leadership skills and how you would treat the employees who work under you. If you’re going in for your first management interview, here are some questions to expect and how to prepare your answers.

1 – What’s your management style?

Employers are looking to know that you’ve put enough thought into how you manage employees that you can easily sum up your philosophy. So, be honest: keep in mind the qualities you have that make you a great manager, as well as qualities prior managers you’ve admired carry. Once you’ve considered what makes the ideal management style, you can describe what makes you fit into that role. Since anyone who applies can make something up for this question, make sure that you have a real-world example from prior work experience to add weight to your claims.

2 – How do you motivate people?

This is another question that’ll require an example from a previous job. When trying to think of one, make sure you tailor it to the job you’re applying to as much as possible, even if this is a new position you’re about to step into. A great way to do this is by researching the values of the company interviewing you, and then tying them into your answer.

When answering, lead with your example, and then elaborate with further details – what, specifically, were your reasons for thinking this action would be motivational? What other similar ways do you motivate people, and why do you think they’ll be successful?

3 – How do you handle conflict between others?

You need to prove to the hiring manager that you’re capable of staying calm in a stressful situation and that you’re willing to consider all sides – meaning everyone involved in the conflict, as well as the company’s best interest. Once again, you’ll need an example and can structure the response similar to the previous question. Make sure that the example you use is one where you ended the conflict quickly and easily. Of course, employers don’t want to hire someone who will exacerbate conflict, but letting the conflict go on continuously can look just as bad in their eyes.

4 – Can you give an example of a time you lead a team?

Give a quick outline of the situation, what responsibilities you had and then explain how your leadership helped the team to succeed. Make sure to clarify the positive qualities about yourself that you used in the situation, and elaborate on why you think they’re qualities that a good leader should possess. The best answer to this question will also show that you have a knack for creative thinking, too.

5 – Can you give an example of a time you dealt with a difficult employee?

One important thing to remember when answering this question is that you should never speak poorly of anyone you’ve ever worked with, so choose your wording carefully. Be as positive as possible when describing the situation, and only speak of their actions rather than them as a person. It’s important to show that you still saw good in the employee and knew you could change their behaviour. Remember to be as specific as possible with your answer – describe the situation, what steps you saw could be taken, and the positive outcome your intervention resulted in.

The key point to remember when preparing for your management-level interview is to keep as many examples as you can in mind, particularly regarding your leadership skills and working with other people. Hiring managers see all the skills on your resume, and as you aren’t entry-level anymore, there’s no way you can’t have plenty of evidence to back up these skills – make sure you bring it all to the interview. Good luck!

Need some assistance on your management journey? Ask Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, One Career Question!

Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.

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