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Interview questions about management skills

These interview questions about management skills can help you assess whether candidates would make good managers.

Why you should ask candidates about their management skills

Managers play an important role in improving and enhancing a company’s performance. Their responsibilities include:

  • setting and pursuing targets;
  • improving team productivity;
  • training and motivating staff;
  • contributing to business development planning.

Look for experienced candidates to fill managerial roles. They should be applicants with an in-depth knowledge of their industry and your corporate objectives. Use interview questions specific to the job role to test their knowledge and determine whether they have the skills it requires. These include:

  • leadership skills;
  • problem-solving skills;
  • an ability to motivate others;
  • a focus on getting results.

Managers need to report results and suggest improvements. You should therefore focus on candidates who take responsibility for their actions and are good at making decisions. Managers need to perform a large number of duties every day and liaise with other colleagues or customers in the process.

Look for candidates who prefer variety in their work and do not shy away from difficult tasks. Candidates should also demonstrate a high level of professionalism as they serve as role models for their employees.

Here are a few sample interview questions that you can ask your interview candidates about their management skills. Combine these questions with those on communication skills and problem-solving.

Sample interview questions about management skills

  • Imagine that you’ve been given an important task but the other members of your team keep interrupting you with questions. How do you get the task done and how do you respond to your team?
  • Tell me about a time one of your team members was constantly disagreeing with your ideas. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time your team met an ambitious target that you had set. How did you motivate and support them?
  • Tell me about a project that you managed from start to finish. What challenges did you have to face and how did you overcome them?
  • What’s your approach to delegating work to colleagues? How do you ensure that it gets done?
  • Have you ever mentored anyone? How was this person able to grow? What did this person do at the start, and what do they do differently now?
  • How would you explain to a colleague that they are underperforming?
  • Tell me about an important meeting that you led. How did you prepare?

Tips for assessing candidates’ management skills

  • Ask candidates to tell you about their experience in a work setting. The examples they give can help you understand the candidate’s management style and decide whether they would be a good fit for your company.
  • High staff turnover in managerial roles can disrupt the balance of a team. It’s therefore important to pick managers who are going to be long-term partners. For this reason, you should decide whether the candidate’s career goals are compatible with your company’s future and whether you share the same values.
  • Look for complementary skills. If the post holder will be required to recruit new staff, test their recruitment and training skills.
  • Take particular notice of creative candidates who broadcast innovative ideas. A new manager often offers a fresh perspective and can help the company improve its performance.
  • Do not immediately discount candidates who do not have much experience in your industry. You should first ask them questions to see whether they understand basic concepts and processes and are keen to learn something new.

Warning signs

  • Applicants blame someone/something else. Whether it’s “not enough resources” or “poorly performing colleagues,” a candidate who tries to find excuses for bad results shows that they can’t take responsibility.
  • Applicants seem uninterested. Motivating a team starts with the manager. If they can’t motivate the team, how can it expect to deliver the goods? You should therefore look for candidates who show an interest in your company and really want the job.
  • Applicants seem inflexible. A strong manager is open to new ideas and bolsters team spirit. If you detect signs of arrogance or self-righteousness, this may indicate an inability to work well with other people.
  • Applicants give unrealistic answers. Candidates want to make a good first impression. However, if they struggle to answer questions such as “Tell me about a conflict you had with an employee,” this could suggest a lack of experience or knowledge.
  • Applicants seem uncomfortable when confronted with routine tasks. Managers need to perform difficult tasks like delegating work and telling employees about their poor performance. Candidates who seem uncomfortable doing this may not be suitable for the position.

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