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How to Answer ‘Why Do You
Want to be a Manager?’

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 01, 2020
3 minute read

When you’re trying to make the career transition from being a team member to being a manager, your interviewer will likely want to know what your motivations are for making the change. You can expect to get some variation of the question: “Why do you want to be a manager?” or “Why do you want to be a supervisor?”

There are both good and bad reasons to give for wanting to join the ranks of management, and how you answer this question will tell the interviewer a lot about your management qualifications and leadership capacity.

Here are some tips examples for giving the best possible answer.

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Highlights Benefits for the Company, Not Your Career

You probably want to move into a managerial position because it is the next logical step in you career progression. But that’s obvious to the hiring managers, and is not what they want to hear. Instead, you need to show them how you being a manager will help the company.

“In the interview, focus on how you can help the team achieve self-development together and avoid talking about management in terms of yourself,” suggests Yuri Khlystov, CEO at Laowai Career. “If you are not a team player, it will show.”

Bad Answer: I have been working towards a management position for five years and feel like I deserve to lead a team of my own now.

Good Answer: I am passionate about the work we do here, and I feel that my experience will be very valuable in leading the team towards greater success.

Give Real-World Examples of Your Leadership

To convince the hiring manager that you’re a good fit for the job, you need to prove you can handle it and have the right personality traits to lead a group. Give concrete examples that show how you lead others. Do you have experience with leading a project, or working with people of diverse backgrounds and personalities? Your example doesn’t need to be a huge project that you have managed, just any time when you have used leadership to get something done.

Bad Answer: I am a born leader, people have always told me this.

Good Answer: In my last position, I was given responsibility for the launch of a new initiative. It was a time sensitive project, but I managed all of the details and delegated responsibilities with team-members. The launch went off without a hitch, and the team was praised for our efforts.

Demonstrate Your Management Mindset

Being a manager entails a lot of responsibility, so it’s a good idea to let the hiring manager know that you recognize that when talking about why you want to be a manager. Explain what your theory of management is, and how you plan to lead and manage a team to success. Perhaps highlight some leadership challenges you have seen or dealt with, and explain how you would handle it differently.

“Try to spin it where your time as a team member will give you a complete understanding on how to motivate your team,” says Pierre Tremblay, Director of Human Resources at DUPRAY Inc.

Bad Answer: I want more responsibility, and I’ll do a better job than the last manager.

Good Answer: I am prepared to take on the added responsibilities of being a manager. Rather than the current weekly progress meetings, I would like to have a daily team meetings to ensure that the project is moving along as it should and address any issues.

Moving into a managerial position is a big and exciting career development. The first step towards achieving that goal is answering that question, “Why do you want to be a manager?” Follow these interview tips, and it will be clear to the interviewer that you are management material.

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