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Top 10 Interview Questions for Managers [CHECKLIST]

Anja Zojceska | 4/26/2019 | Recruiting

Looking for the best interview questions for managers? Check out this handy checklist of the top 10 manager interview questions. Asking these questions will help you identify candidates with the skills and traits necessary to excel in managerial positions.

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The utmost importance of hiring the right people for managerial positions

Finding and hiring the right people for managerial positions is of utmost importance for every company. 

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Managers are the ones responsible for making the right business decisions and managing the company’s resources and people

As such, they have a significant impact on employee engagement, productivity and business bottom line. 

According to Peter Drucker, also known as the Father of Modern Management:

“The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.”

Importance-of-hiring-right-people-for-managerial-positions

Thus, inadequate managers can have a serious negative impact on your company’s profit and growth

One of the most important decisions companies make is simply who they chose as their managers.

Most companies fail at hiring managers

Unfortunately, hiring talented managers is not easy. Most companies get it wrong and choose unqualified people for their managerial positions.

In fact, Gallup's research has found that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time when it comes to hiring managers!

This-is-why-you-need-to-ask-the-right-manager-interview-questions

This is an alarming problem for employee engagement and the development of high-performing cultures in the U.S. and worldwide

The cause of this problem seems to be the fact that most companies promote employees into managerial positions because they seemingly deserve it, rather than have the talent for it. 

When Gallup asked U.S. managers why they believed they were hired for their current role, they commonly cited their success in a previous non-managerial role or their tenure in their company or field.

Unfortunately, this practice doesn't work. If they want to be successful, companies need to hire candidates who have the right skills to excel in managerial positions. 

So the question is: What makes a great manager?

What makes a great manager?

What makes a great manager? What knowledge, experience and skills do great managers have? 

In order to find answers, I turned to research. I will shortly present the findings of the 3 most important studies on managers:

Research #1: Gallup

Gallup has found that great managers have the following talents:

  1. They motivate and engage employees 

  2. They drive outcomes and have the ability to overcome adversity 

  3. They create a culture of clear accountability

  4. They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue and full transparency

  5. They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.

Research #2: McKinsey

McKinsey surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations around the world.

This report found out that four kinds of behavior account for 89% of leadership effectiveness. 

According to McKinsey, successful managers:

  1. Solve problems effectively

  2. Operate with a strong results orientation

  3. Seek different perspectives

  4. Support others.

Research #3: Google

Google also wanted to know what makes a manager great, so it conducted its own research and got some interesting results

Google identified 5 key behaviors of its best managers. According to Google, a great manager:

  1. Is a good coach

  2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage

  3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being

  4. Is productive and results-oriented

  5. Is a good communicator - listens and shares information.

How to identify a managerial talent in candidates?

If you Google “manager interview questions”, you will find that all the results list very similar, basic interview questions. 

Unfortunately, these conventional, most popular interview questions for managers don’t leverage scientific research.

If you want to identify the best candidates for managerial positions, you need to ask the right interview questions

The type of questions created to uncover the specific traits of great managers, based on research

However, asking specialized manager interview questions isn't enough to ensure that you’ll be able to identify a star manager candidate. 

In order to evaluate candidates fairly and objectively, you should conduct a structured interview process.

Prepare a list of the questions you want to ask an make sure that you ask all interviewees the same questions in the same order. 

You should also develop a rating scale for each of your interview questions. Give each answer a rating or score from one to five. 

This will help you quickly and easily compare candidates afterward.

Interview questions to ask managers 

interview-questions-for-managers-examples

Here is the list of the best interview questions to ask managers

Each of these 10 questions is created to uncover a specific managerial skill or trait

Asking these 10 manager interview questions will help you identify and choose the best candidate for your managerial position!  

Question #1:

In your opinion, what are the top 3 characteristics of successful managers?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you assess your candidate's management style.

Question #2:

Tell me about a time when you had to make an immediate decision on a critical issue. How did you do it?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you determine if the candidate possess strong decision-making skills.

Question #3:

Give me an example of a project you had to complete under a tight time constraint, lean budget and with fewer people than needed? How did you overcome these challenges? 

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you find out if your candidate can solve problems effectively.

Question #4:

How do you motivate and engage your team members?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will provide insights into different methods a candidate uses to motivate and engage employees. 

Question #5:

Tell me about a time that a member of your team openly disagreed with your decision. What did you do?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you find out if your candidate is open to different opinions and perspectives. 

Question #6:

Do you have a structured process for mentoring, coaching and developing your employees?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you assess your candidates’ coaching and mentoring skills.

Question #7:

How do you ensure that the tasks you delegated will be done in a timely and efficient manner?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you assess your candidate’s ability to delegate tasks in a clear and accountable way. 

Question #8:

What do you do if there was a disagreement within your team?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you assess your candidate’s conflict resolution skills and the ability to get everyone working together towards a common goal.

Question #9:

Tell me about a time when one of your team members was performing poorly. What did you do?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will help you assess your candidate’s ability to support, engage and motivate employees. 

Question #10:

How do you reward your team members for their hard work?

Why does it work?

Asking this manager interview questions will provide insights into different methods a candidate uses to recognize and reward employees. 

Interview question checklist: Manager edition

To help you save time, I created this handy interview manager questions checklist

Just print it out and you’re ready to go!  🙂

Manager-Interview-Questions-Checklist

Looking for additional interview questions to ask managers?

Check out this list of the additional 10 job interview question examples for managers!

And beacuse you made it till the end, here is a special treat for you: Management Styles According to The Lion King.

Check it out and take a nifty little quiz to determine which Lion King character best resembles your own management style. Enjoy! 🙂

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