Managers are a vital part of any company. Managers delegate tasks depending on their employees’ strengths and encourage teamwork and trust while advancing the company’s goals. 

Below are the top interview questions for managers, with sample answers and tips to help you ace your management interview. 


10 Tough Interview Questions for Managers With Answers

Managers must be creative problem-solvers and excellent analytical thinkers. Review these 10 interview questions and sample answers to prepare for your all-important meeting.

1. How would you describe your management style?

Leadership comes in many different styles, and managers often have a mix of various management types. Be honest about your management approach, but research the company’s philosophy to ensure yours are compatible. Use an example to describe how your particular style has worked in the past. You might say: 

“My management style combines a relational approach with direct guidance to create a supportive yet efficient work environment. In a recent project, I led a team through a challenging deadline by establishing clear goals and expectations upfront. However, I also took the time to understand each team member’s strengths and preferences, fostering open communication channels. For instance, one team member was particularly adept at troubleshooting technical issues, so I assigned them to lead that aspect of the project. This approach ensured that tasks were completed effectively and empowered team members to contribute their best work, resulting in a successful project outcome and strengthened team cohesion.”

2. Tell me about a project you led and what made it successful.

This question shows your understanding of people, communication skills and creative problem-solving. Think of an example that encapsulates all these qualities and share them using the STAR method. For example: 

“In a recent project I led, we were tasked with implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system for our sales team. I carefully planned the project timeline and allocated resources to optimize time and the team’s strengths. I fostered department collaboration by providing comprehensive training sessions and ensuring regular communication channels. We successfully implemented the CRM system ahead of schedule, leading to a 20% increase in sales efficiency and improved customer satisfaction scores.”

3. How do you delegate responsibilities?

Knowing how to delegate and prioritize tasks is vital to any management role. Walk them through your process of recognizing the team’s talents to distribute tasks accordingly. Remember to be specific. Here’s how it should look: 

“I delegate responsibilities by assessing each team member’s skills, strengths, and workload capacity. I meet individually with each team member to understand their expertise and goals. Then, I review their past projects, performance metrics, and feedback from peers and clients to identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Once I understand each individual’s capabilities, I assign tasks aligning with their expertise and developmental goals. Additionally, I provide clear instructions, set expectations, and establish checkpoints to ensure tasks are completed effectively and on time.”

4. Tell me about a time when you had to give negative feedback.

Delivering negative feedback can be as challenging as receiving it. Employers want to know that you can get the job done while showing empathy and maintaining trust within your team. The STAR method can help you construct your answer. Here’s an example: 

“In my previous role as an art director, I had to address a situation where one of our graphic designers did not meet a client’s expectations for a branding project. I scheduled a one-on-one meeting with the designer to discuss the client’s feedback constructively. I provided specific examples of where the design fell short of the client’s expectations and emphasized the importance of aligning with the client’s vision. To help the designer improve, I offered guidance on better understanding and interpreting client briefs. Additionally, I suggested brainstorming sessions with the team to generate new ideas and encouraged the designer to seek inspiration from successful branding projects. The designer appreciated the feedback and proactively refined their approach to future projects. The designer successfully revised the branding concepts to better align with the client’s vision, ultimately strengthening the client relationship and improving the quality of our deliverables.”

5. How do you motivate your team?

Maintaining motivation is key to a productive team. However, some people need different approaches to stay motivated. Explain how you adjust your strategy to encourage your employees. For example: 

“I motivate my team by addressing each individual’s diverse needs and preferences. For team members who thrive on recognition and positive reinforcement, I publicly acknowledge their achievements and contributions during team meetings or via personalized notes. Alternatively, for those motivated by growth opportunities, I provide challenging tasks, mentorship, and support for professional development initiatives, ensuring they feel valued and invested in their career advancement within the team.”

6. How do you translate the company’s goals into your team’s strategy?

The employer wants to ensure you understand your team’s role in the company’s overall goals and how to break them down into specific tasks and KPIs. Managers must be able to underscore the value each team member brings to the company’s objectives. You might say: 

“While explaining our new strategy to my editorial team, I emphasized the company’s goals to increase readership by expanding into new markets. Our team aimed to produce content tailored to those demographics while maintaining our core brand identity. I broke down these goals into actionable steps, such as conducting market research, developing targeted content plans, and optimizing distribution channels, ensuring that each team member understands their role in contributing to the company’s growth trajectory.”

7. What is your approach to managing conflict within your team?

Managers must address challenging moments in a team’s dynamic while maintaining a positive work environment. Describe a time when you had to manage conflict between team members. How did you analyze the situation, and what steps did you take? Here’s an example: 

“Addressing issues promptly, openly, and constructively has led me to success. For example, when faced with a conflict between team members over project responsibilities, I first gathered input from all parties involved to understand their perspectives and underlying concerns. Then, I facilitated a team meeting to discuss the issue, encouraging empathy openly and collaboratively, finding a resolution that honored everyone’s contributions and strengths, and ultimately fostering a more cohesive and productive team dynamic.”

How do you build trust in your team?

This is an opportunity to describe your management style further. Do you promote transparency by openly discussing challenges the company may be facing? Do you encourage autonomy in decision-making? Use a story to illustrate the concept. For example: 

“I prioritize transparency and encourage being proactive to build trust within my editorial team, especially during the company’s challenging situations. For instance, when our company faced a sudden decline in website traffic due to technical issues, I openly communicated the challenge to my team, explaining the potential impact on our readership and revenue. I then empowered each team member to autonomously decide on their approach to address the issue: optimizing existing content, creating new articles, or collaborating with other departments to find solutions. This transparent and collaborative approach led to innovative solutions to the problem. It strengthened trust and confidence within the team, as everyone felt empowered to contribute their ideas and expertise towards overcoming the challenge.”

9. How do you measure success?

Goal-setting and performance evaluation are critical to any managerial role. The interviewer wants to know your approach to identifying the team’s objectives and the metrics you use to assess their success. Do you prioritize the team’s success or focus on individual accomplishments? Here’s how it should look: 

“I employ a multifaceted approach that begins with clearly defining our objectives in alignment with the company’s goals. I then identify specific metrics tailored to each objective, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) related to project deadlines, customer satisfaction ratings or revenue growth. Regular performance reviews and feedback sessions allow us to track progress against these metrics, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate achievements, ensuring that our team remains focused and accountable for achieving success.”

10. What is your approach to maintaining cultural sensitivity for all staff in a diverse team?

Illustrate to the employer how your values of diversity and inclusion translate into the work environment and team dynamic. It’s essential to ensure your biases won’t negatively impact how you manage your employees. Consider telling a story about when you made and learned from a mistake. For example: 

“My approach is grounded in creating opportunities for open dialogue and mutual respect. In a recent project, I assigned tasks without considering cultural holidays and observances, inadvertently causing inconvenience to some team members. Recognizing my oversight, I apologized to the affected individuals, discussed preventing similar situations, and implemented a shared calendar highlighting important cultural events. This experience reinforced the importance of considering diverse perspectives and prompted me to prioritize cultural awareness in team planning, fostering a more inclusive and harmonious work environment.”


Common Interview Questions for Managers

While you can’t prepare for every possible question the interviewer may have, we gathered 20 common interview questions to help you practice: 

1Tell me something that's not on your resume.

2Share a story about a time when you made a mistake.

3What are your greatest strengths?

4What are your greatest weaknesses?

5Have you always considered yourself a leader?

6What's your most significant professional accomplishment?

7What motivated you to become a leader in the workplace?

8Why are you leaving your current position?

9How would your past colleagues describe you?

10What is your ideal work environment?

11Describe a time when you faced a challenge at work and how you handled it.

12What made you apply for this position?

13What are your hobbies?

14How do you keep yourself motivated?

15Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?

16Why should we hire you?

17How do you view a manager's role in a team?

18Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult employee.

19How do you reward success?

20Share a story about a time you failed. How did you handle it?


Good Interview Questions for Managers

To prepare you even further, here’s a list of more in-depth and less common interview questions for managers: 

  • Would you consider earning an additional degree?

  • How do you provide freedom to your employees while maintaining authority?

  • How do you assist your employees with their professional development goals?

  • If offered the job, what is the first thing you would change?

  • How would you approach a situation that has legal implications for the company?

  • How could you develop your leadership skills further?

  • Tell me about a time you had your team’s back. 

  • How do you approach letting go of an employee?

  • As a manager, how can you assist with the hiring process?

  • How do you hold your employees accountable?

  • What’s your approach to delivering progress updates to department leaders?

  • Share a story about a time you had to manage different personalities within your team. 

  • Describe a time you acted as a mentor to someone. 

  • Do you have experience delivering presentations to executives?

  • Do you have any industry-specific certifications?

Management Interview Tips

Follow these expert tips to impress the employer and secure your ideal managerial role: 

  • Research the company:

    Displaying your knowledge of the company’s policies, goals and culture shows initiative and interest in the role. 

  • Be ready to tell stories:

    The best way to highlight your leadership skills is to provide specific examples. Arrive at the interview with a few stories to showcase your ability to motivate people and guide a team to success.

  • Be brief:

    A good manager prioritizes time management, so be concise with your answers. 

  • Have a plan:

    An excellent way to impress the hiring manager is to identify areas of improvement for the company and, without spilling your secrets, provide a few ideas for addressing them. 

  • Display confidence:

    Managers lead by example. Show you’re confident in your skills and capacity to perform the role. 

Key Takeaways

Now that you’ve examined our 45 interview questions for managers let’s review the key points:

  • Examples are essential to a successful interview. Anytime you can answer a question with an example. 

  • A vital part of a managerial interview is showing how you can critically analyze a situation and maximize your team’s strengths to address it effectively. 

  • Employers want to ensure a manager can handle conflict and build trust within their team while maintaining productivity. 

  • Emphasize your ability to remain empathetic towards your employees while encouraging growth and accountability within your team. 


Learn About Our Writing Standards

Editorial Standards 

JobHero has published in-depth career guides, resume and cover letter articles since 2014. We aim to share job-seeking tools and empower job seekers throughout their careers!