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Interview Questions for Managers

Interviewing candidates for entry-level and individual contributor roles is already challenging enough, but interviewing for managers and potential leaders within your organization requires even more rigor to ensure you make the right choice.

Rather than just interviewing for skills and/or using behavioral based questions relative to hard skills, you’ll need to also really dive into their experience managing others and communicating to their team and senior staff.

Recruiting a manager will involve getting past the initial interview questions, and asking more situational or competency based interview questions related to team building and communication. Doing this will help you identify which managers will be the best hires (and future leaders) for your company.

Below you’ll find our list of the best interview questions for managers.

Interview Questions for Managers

When interviewing managers and senior leaders, you’ll want to start off by assessing their leadership and motivations.

[Read More: Interview Questions for Motivation]

Here are some interview questions to assess leadership skills and/or fit:

  • Tell me about a leader or manager that you’ve looked up to and has inspired you.
  • What motivates you to come to work everyday?
  • What have you done in past roles to inspire/motivate your direct reports.
  • What do you think is most important when it comes to leading a team?
  • How do you determine what goals and milestones you set with your team?
  • What does your ideal culture and work environment look like? How do you contribute to building that ideal environment?

Communication interview questions for managers

When it comes to managing teams, communication is one of the most important factors. Use this combination of standard and behavioral based interview questions to assess your manager candidates communication skills.

  • What are your preferred tools for communication? How have you used these successfully in the past?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a project run into problems because of communication. What would you have done differently if given the chance?
  • We let employees work remotely X number of days/week/month. What do you think is necessary to ensure everyone is operating at a high-level? How do you help monitor progress or goal setting within your team?
  • Describe a time where your team had a “fire-drill” emergency situation occur. How did you manage the team effectively through that situation? Is there anything you would have done differently if given the chance?

Depending on the size of the team, a manager will often have to mitigate and resolve conflicts within the team/department/company. These are good questions to ask managers to learn how they’ve navigated different conflicts.

Good questions to ask leaders and managers about conflict resolution:

  • Tell me about a time where two (or more) members of your team had a disagreement. What did you do to resolve this? Would you do anything differently if given the chance?
  • Tell me about a project or situation that involved input from multiple departments/stakeholders. What did you do/say to manage the situation? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a time that you had to deal with an employee that was toxic to the team/work environment. How did you communicate with the employee that his attitude/behavior was not ok. What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time where a senior member of your team had an issue with the work of one of your direct reports. How did you react/resolve this situation? Would you do anything differently if given the chance?

Interview Questions for Manager Goal Setting/Performance

Another key area for managers is being able to get the most from their team. These interview questions will help you understand how a manger sets goals with their employees as well as measures performance.

  • If hired, how would you evaluate past performance and set goals for the next 30, 60, 90 days?
  • What do you think is most important when it comes to setting goals and performance standards for your team?
  • If a member of your team is not hitting their performance marks, then what do you do? How do you communicate with them and help them improve?
  • What do you think are the most important metrics to measure in your department/team?
  • Do you collaborate with your team to set their individual and team goals?
  • How do you motivate your team to ensure they meet their goals?

Final Thoughts: interview questions for managers

Recruiting a manager is often more difficult because they’re familiar you’ll need to understand if they’re a cultural fit and if their leadership style will be a match for your team. By leveraging situational interview questions, you’ll be able to discover which managers will be the best fit for your company.

Make sure to use an applicant tracking system to manage the entire process so it creates a seamless experience. Lever Hire is a collaborative recruiting platform proactively engage talent, streamline your interviews, and make data driven decisions. Click here for a free demo.