Common Interview Questions for Managers + Tips to Prepare

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Use these common interview questions for managers to prepare for your interview. We'll share tips on what the recruiter is looking for when asking management interview questions, how you can answer them, and interview practice strategies.

[Featured Image]  A woman wearing a tan jacket and glasses is interviewing a candidate for a manager position.

When preparing for a management-level interview, practicing some common interview questions can help you feel more confident about your answers.

But, what kinds of questions can you expect to encounter in your interview? And, how should you answer them?

In this article, you'll find some of the most common interview questions for managers, tips on how to answer them, and strategies for predicting some of the questions you may be asked. At the end, you'll even find a suggested course that can help you prepare even more for your upcoming interview.

What kinds of questions are asked in a management interview?

Management interviews typically include a series of questions aimed at determining your skills and whether they align with a senior level position. An interviewer may also ask you some broader questions to understand your motivations, suitability for the company, and overall skills and experience. 

Such questions might include variations of, “Why are you interested in this role?” or “Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?” These questions help interviewers learn about your motivations, what you’ll bring to the role, and whether you’ll be a good fit for the team. 

To answer these interview questions effectively, make sure to research the company so you can tailor your experience and mention why the company excites you. Carefully match your skills and experience to the company and the role, and share your enthusiasm about the job.

Other questions you might need to answer include: 

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • Why did you leave your previous position?

Read more: 10 Examples of Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews

Interview questions for managers

In addition to those listed above, an interviewer will usually ask you more specific interview questions for management-level positions. When answering any question during your interview, give examples of your skills and experience to demonstrate your expertise.

Some common management interview questions include the following:

1. How would you describe your management style?

The recruiter is looking to learn more about you and how you operate as a manager with this question. They want to understand whether your style is compatible with their organization, so make sure you have done your research about their work culture and values.

When describing your management style, give examples to support your claims. For example, you may talk about a specific time when you managed a team to achieve a particular goal. Talk about the process, what you did, and the results. 

Talk about motivation

Tip: Giving an example of how you have motivated and inspired others can be very effective. Showing how you brought a team together to achieve results is more compelling than simply talking about outcomes. 


Read more: Practice Interview Questions: How to Tell Your Story

2. Tell me about a time you have had to handle conflict within a team.

The answer to this question requires a story rather than an overview of how you would handle conflict. Focus on one event and what challenges you faced, the measures you took to resolve it, and the positive outcome of your actions. 

Paint a clear picture that effectively illustrates the conflict and its resolution. Recruiters want to see that you can deal with sensitive situations, so demonstrate how you understood the situation from all perspectives and how you determined an intervention. Be mindful about how you describe the conflict, so that you aren’t appearing to take sides, put an employee down, or divulge sensitive information. 

3. How do you maintain motivation within your team?

For this question, it’s important to show that you take the time to get to know your team to address individual needs and preferences and build relevant team strategies. Offer examples that show how you celebrate your team’s strengths and achievements. 

4. Describe a time when you have had to guide your team through change.

Navigating change is a vital management skill. Here the interviewer will be looking at how you effectively approach a situation, manage your team's feedback and feelings, and show leadership. Your example should include details of how you led the process and the strategies you used to manage any anxiety or conflict in your team regarding the change. 

Read more: Practice Interview Questions: How to Tell Your Story

5. Tell me about a difficult decision you had to make and how you handled the process.

Decision-making skills are essential in a management role, so the interviewer will be looking for proof that you can make timely, considered, and effective decisions. Talk about your decisions and thought process to explain how you came to the solution and achieved outcomes. The recruiter will be looking for key things such as who you consulted, how you considered the well-being of others, and how you dealt with any associated challenges. 

Read more: 7 Problem-Solving Skills That Can Help You Be a More Successful Manager

6. How do you establish priorities and delegate appropriate tasks to others?

Your answer to this question should demonstrate your communication skills and your ability to see a team’s value and everyone’s individual strengths. Make sure you make the answer positive and focus on how your approach was a success. 

How to predict what you might be asked

During your interview practice, prepare answers for common interview questions and potential ones. Come ready with multiple stories and examples to share so that you have options depending on how the questions take shape. Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Study the job description. 

The job description outlines what you’ll be doing if you’re hired. This is a great place to start when anticipating what might be covered in an interview. You’ll get clues here about what will be expected of you, the work culture, and company policies and processes. Review it and think of some examples to show that you can do what the job entails. 

2. Look at the essential criteria.

Even bigger clues can be found in the essential criteria for the role. Interviewers will be considering how well you meet the essential requirements in the interview, so prepare responses and related examples that show your ability to meet them. For example, if they’re looking for someone with an innovative approach to change management, how can you demonstrate this? Have an example ready to go. 

3. Research the company.

Researching the company means that you can tailor your answers to subjects that are important to your potential employer. For example, if the company has a teamwork and collaboration culture, it would be best to include relevant examples of times you’ve worked with others. Research should also allow you to find out about any notable achievements, projects, or awards that you can drop into your answers. 

  Read more: 11 Interviewing Skills to Benefit Your Career

4. Ask questions.

At the end of the interview, you’ll likely be asked whether you have any questions. This is your opportunity to learn information about the position that wasn’t mentioned in the job description. 

For the interviewer, asking questions shows your interest in the role and company. The kinds of questions you ask will give them an idea about your motivations and personality. Some examples of good questions to ask include:

  • Can you give me some examples of the types of projects I might be working on?

  • What type of training and professional development are available to employees?

  • What is your favorite thing about working here?

  • Who will be my direct report?

Read more: Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview

Get started 

As you continue your job search, continue to practice your interview questions and answers to help boost your confidence.  For more help with preparing for your interview for a management position, take a look at this course on Advanced Interviewing Techniques from the University of Maryland. 

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