Common Interview Questions for Managers and 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, practising some common interview questions for managers can help you feel confident about your answers. First, review the job description, company mission, and vision to understand the employer's wants. Then, you can use the following tips and questions to help you prepare for a manager interview.

What kinds of questions are asked in a management interview?

Management interviews typically include questions to determine your skills at a senior level. An interviewer may also ask broader questions to understand your motivations, your suitability for the company, and your skills and experience. 

Such questions might include, '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, research the company so you can tailor your experience and mention why the company excites you. Carefully match your skills and expertise 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?

Interview questions for managers

In addition to the questions above, an interviewer will usually ask you more specific interview questions for management-level positions. When answering any interview question, give examples of your skills and experience to demonstrate your expertise. Management interview questions may include the following:

How would you describe your management style?

With this question, the recruiter wants to learn more about you and how you operate as a manager. They want to understand whether your style is compatible with their organisation, so make sure you research their work culture and values.

When describing your management style, give examples to support your claims. Focus on successful outcomes that resulted from how you managed a team. For example, you can 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. 

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 discussing outcomes.

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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 measures you took, the challenges, and how you overcame them with positive results. 

Paint a picture so the recruiter can understand the conflict and its occurrence. They want to see that you can deal with sensitive situations, so demonstrate how you understood the problem from all perspectives and determined an intervention. Be mindful about how you describe the conflict so you aren't appearing to take sides, put an employee down, or divulge sensitive information. 

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. 

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

Navigating change is a vital management skill. Here, the interviewer will look at how you effectively approach a situation, manage your team's feedback and feelings, and show leadership. Your example can include details of how you led the process without compromising productivity and the strategies you used to manage any anxiety or conflict in your team regarding the change. 

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 look for proof that you can make timely, considered, and effective decisions. Discuss your choices and thought processes to explain how you came to the solution and achieved outcomes. The employer 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. 

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 strengths. Make sure you make the answer positive and focus on your successful approach. 

How to predict what might be asked

Prepare answers for common and potential interview questions during your practice. Come ready with multiple stories and examples to share so you have options depending on how the questions take shape. Here are a few ways to do this:

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 about what will be expected of you, the work culture, and company policies and processes. Review it and think of some examples to show you can do the job. 

Look at the essential criteria.

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

Research the company.

Researching the company means you can tailor your answers to subjects 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 discover notable achievements, projects, or awards that you can drop into your answers. 

Ask questions.

You'll likely be asked whether you have any questions at the end of the interview. This is your chance to learn about a position not mentioned in the job description.

For the interviewer, asking questions shows 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 projects I might be working on?

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

  • What is your favourite thing about working here?

  • Who will be my direct report?

Get started 

As you continue your job search, keep practising your interview questions and answers to help boost your confidence. For more help preparing for your interview for a management position, look at this course on Advanced Interviewing Techniques on Coursera. 

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