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Published on October 21, 2019

Top 10 Interview Questions for Hiring the Best Managers

Top 10 Interview Questions for Hiring the Best Managers

Whether you’re considering a management role or wanting to hire the best managers, a common assumption is that being a high performing technical expert makes an ideal manager. This idea is precarious for both the candidate and employer.

Becoming a manager isn’t for everyone. Before you review the interview questions for managers, it’s important to know and learn that managers require very different skill sets:

Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who is not ready to become an effective manager.

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Management Candidate

Too often, people are hired to become managers because they are high performers in their technical roles or have been with the team for a long time and it seems to be a natural progression. As an employer, to increase the chances of success for the company and the individuals working within it, you’ll want to critically review the key mindset shifts and basic skills and competencies of an effective manager.

Are you hiring the best person for the job? Consider asking these interview questions. Assuming that all the candidates have similar technical skills, these people-focused and interpersonal skills-based interview questions can help gauge their readiness for a management role.

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1. How do you manage conflict (with your team, stakeholders, and immediate manager)? How would you describe your conflict management approach?

It’s inevitable that we run into conflict at work. And it’s even more important for managers to know how to handle these situations when staff escalate tricky situations that they need help with.

2. How do you have difficult conversations with stakeholders about performance issues?

Some employees, suppliers or customers are overzealous while others may be underperforming. Wherever your stakeholders fall on this spectrum, remember it’s the manager who needs to address any issues impacting the performance of the team and business.

3. Describe a situation when you coached or mentored others. How would you describe your coaching style?[1]

Knowing how to empower others so that they feel good about the work they are doing provides a creative environment that indirectly enhances the performance of the organization. Companies need managers and leaders who can listen, understand, and partner with others to realize the potential within themselves.

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

4. Describe your management style. How will you handle unexpected changes and direction from management?

How will you handle unexpected changes and direction from management? This response will give you insight into how they will fit into the existing corporate environment or complement it. Consider the personalities, work environment, and stakeholders that are involved in the business.

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5. How do you appreciate other people’s efforts?

We all give and receive in different ways. How will this individual accommodate the various styles on the team?

6. Why do you want to be a manager?

The candidates need to be clear on their rationale. This will give you an idea of what motivates them. Ask follow-up questions to dig deep and learn what drives them.

7. How do you provide positive feedback and constructive feedback? How do you tend to receive feedback?

Managers need to be able to work in diverse settings, adjust to change and troubleshoot. Their ability to provide observable and objective feedback impacts how others behave and ultimately perform at work.

8. The team you’re overseeing does a great job at __________. However, some of the challenges on this team include __________. What’s your plan to manage a team with such unique abilities, personalities and work styles to achieve the company’s objectives?

Is the candidate ready to let go of technical responsibilities to develop others? This question can give you insights about that.

9. What do you plan to accomplish within your first 30 days as a manager? How will you get to know the individuals on your team?

Change is usually coupled with a fear of the unknown and uncertainty. It’s no different when there is a new manager. People may feel uneasy and not know what to expect. It’s good to know how the new manager will handle this type of change.

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10. How would you address mistakes that your team made to senior management?

Are they ready to be responsible for the success and failures of their team? The manager may not have made the mistake, but their team did and this is an indication that something was mismanaged. Is the manager politically astute enough to support the actions of the team and or learn from the errors made?

Bonus: How to Prepare for a Management Interview

As an employer, you need to know how this management role impacts the organization and vice versa.

Know Your Company

When you’re caught up with the daily operations, it’s easy to forget if the strategic direction of your company will change what is required for new management hires. Take time to review the opportunities of your management role against current and future initiatives:

  • Why do you need this management position?
  • What are the key people challenges that someone in this role will face in your company?
  • Who are the key stakeholders she/he will need to interact with?
  • What are the key interpersonal skills required for these relationships to be successful for the business?

Talk to Key Stakeholders

Speaking to internal and external stakeholders who will interact with this management role will provide you with insights about the type of skills and competencies required for this role. Here are some questions to ask them:

  • What are the key challenges someone in this role will face in her/his work with your department?
  • When you have worked with a high performing manager in this role, what were the key behaviours and skills that she/he demonstrated?

Also, getting insights from your People and Culture or Human Resources department will help you understand the leadership competencies required for management roles that are aligned with the organization’s objectives.

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Bottom Line

When it comes to hiring the best manager, be organization-aware. Talk to key stakeholders to find out the people skills required for the new management role.

Don’t make the mistake of hiring a high performing technical expert to become a manager. Take time to hire the best manager with effective interpersonal skills.

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ami Au-Yeung

Workplace Strategist | Career Coach | Workshop Facilitator | Writer | Speaker | Past Business Professor

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career How to Recon Like a “Spy” to Manage Conflicts in the Workplace How to Learn at Work in the Most Effective Way Top 10 Interview Questions for Hiring the Best Managers Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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