Top Interview Questions for Managers (With Answers) in 2023

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: February 10, 2023Rated 4.5/5 Stars

When interviewing for a manager position, you must demonstrate the business acumen, leadership skills, personality and subject-matter knowledge to meet the job requirements.

Top Interview Questions For Managers

That’s why manager interview questions and answers differ from what you expect from individual contributor roles.

This guide provides:

  • Advice to prepare for your interview.
  • More than 50 leading questions and answers for a management interview.
  • Tips for what to do after the interview.

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Manager interview questions

Interview questions for a management position generally fall into two categories: performance — how you approach tasks, situations and ideas; how you do something, and behavior — how you handle certain situations, like a failed project or an underperforming employee.

Let’s look at 10 of the top manager interview questions and answers for each category.

Top 10 performance-based manager interview questions

Performance-based interviews focus on how you perform a task and the outcomes of your actions. When answering these questions, be specific and call on past achievements from your work history as examples.

  • What do you hope to accomplish in your first month here?
  • I have several goals for my first 30 days as a new manager with Letterpress Designs. I plan to schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member to learn more about their current projects and goals and to gather feedback about department processes. I will identify areas where we can streamline workflows to improve client services. I did the same thing in my last position and customer satisfaction increased by 20% over the following two months.
  • How do you keep your teams engaged?
  • I find that happy employees are productive employees. To help my teams stay happy, I keep an open-door policy and listen to their needs. Then I take steps to see how I can meet them as long as they pertain to the company’s goals. These steps might include training and career development, opportunities to join exciting projects, travel or engaging with the community through volunteer efforts.
  • What is your approach to delegation?
  • I recognize the individual strengths of each person on my team, and I assign tasks based on those strengths and each team member’s performance. This approach worked well in my former position. My strength lies in recognizing the potential and abilities of each team member and delegating tasks to reach the greatest team performance. There are two reasons for this conclusion. The first one is that delegating tasks helps me to get all the tasks at hand done and finalized within the set deadlines.
  • How would you incorporate the company’s goals into a strategy for your team?
  • I would do what I’ve been doing at my current job because it has worked so well. At the end of every quarter, I revisit the company’s goals and what we, as a team, have done to help make them successful. We celebrate the wins and then discuss what we could have done better. I then create team and individual performance goals based on the company’s goals for that quarter and individual performance goals based on the company’s goals for that quarter.
  • How do you manage an underperforming employee?
  • I’ve found this approach to underperformers to work every time: I set clear expectations verbally and in writing, and I talk one-on-one with the employee to ensure they understand my expectations. If the employee still struggles to perform, I work with them to create a roadmap for their success. The roadmap starts with small steps and gradually increases as the employee becomes more engaged. Throughout the process, I focus on the positive and meet with them weekly to review their performance and provide feedback. After about one month, we reconvene to reevaluate their job performance. So far, I’ve had nothing but successful outcomes.
  • What is your plan to grow the team?
  • I plan to restructure the current team and hire new people with new skill sets to complement the current team’s strengths. For example, I believe the current team’s biggest strength is product development. A data analyst can enhance it by providing insights into your customer’s purchasing trends and identifying areas where the company can improve. Beyond that, I will encourage inclusivity and diversity and prioritize collaboration.
  • How do you reward your employees for excellent performance?
  • First, I thank them face-to-face and explain what their contributions mean for the team and the company so they can see the tangible results of their efforts. I also look for ways to give them personalized rewards for their efforts and ensure their bonuses reflect their achievements. I make sure my high-achieving employees’ work is seen by the company, too. I thank them in team announcements via email and all-hands meetings.
  • What strategies do you use to encourage collaboration within your team?
  • For me, a strong team is a collaborative team. To achieve this, I encourage open communication, inclusivity, monthly team-bonding activities and team meetings involving brainstorming sessions so everyone may participate in a project. In my current role, we have team potluck lunches offsite, and the number one rule is: We don’t talk shop. Consequently, we have formed bonds that extend beyond work and enhance our ability to work together.
  • Why do you think you’re a good fit for this job?
  • I’m a great fit for this job because my skill set is a perfect match. I create and execute strategies that succeed at fueling growth and increasing revenue for companies and I have a proven track record of creating and growing sales teams that excel. For example, in my current role, I manage a team of 25 award-winning sales associates who consistently break sales track records.

Top 10 behavioral interview questions for managers

A behavioral interview looks at your behavior in difficult situations. To answer these questions, highlight the soft skills you’ve gained throughout your career.

Pro tip Familiarize yourself with The STAR Method, a tried-and-true technique for answering management interview questions. To use the star method, describe the situation, explain the task you completed to handle the situation, describe the actions you took to complete the job and show the results of your efforts.

  • How do you handle conflict within your team?
  • When there is conflict on my team, I remain neutral, and I listen to both sides. I discuss the issue with each person, and then we come together to figure out the best mutually agreeable solution. I was in a situation early in my management career where two team members did not work well together. I noticed it was affecting the rest of my team’s productivity, so I listened to them individually. Then I brought them together, and we devised a reasonable solution that worked well for the whole team.
  • Describe a mistake you’ve made and what you did to fix it.
  • My first year as a clothing store manager, I took all tasks on myself, from greeting customers to inventory control. It didn’t take long to realize that I needed to delegate to run the business efficiently and increase sales successfully. That lesson is the reason for my current ability to build award-winning sales teams.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to reprimand an employee.
  • I once had an employee who struggled with teamwork. She consistently received complaints from colleagues for not collaborating on projects. I had a one-on-one conversation with the employee in which she and I reviewed her colleagues’ complaints. During our discussions, the employee realized their interpersonal communication and teamwork skills needed improvement. Within one month, her colleague’s feedback improved substantially.
  • Tell me about your most significant professional accomplishment.
  • So far, my biggest achievement was spearheading an integrated marketing campaign for a new product my last company was launching. It was a new approach for a company accustomed to siloed marketing techniques that were no longer resonating with our core customers. My strategy was for a cohesive and comprehensive brand experience that created a renewed interest in the company and boosted our market share.
  • Have you ever had to fire someone?
  • Unfortunately, yes, once. There was sufficient reason for letting the person go — I caught him stealing from the company — so it was not a difficult decision. As a manager, I had to put the company first.
  • Describe a situation where someone on your team became upset with you.
  • I once had an employee who disagreed with me over the best way to handle a customer dispute. I called a meeting with my employee to discuss our different approaches privately and openly. She trusted me enough that she was honest about the concerns she had about my approach to the matter, and it turned out we were actually on the same page, but our communication about it had some glitches. From then on, I prioritized open, honest and direct communication.
  • What is your leadership style?
  • Throughout my career I have learned that being a good communicator who listens to my team is the most effective way to lead, and to that end, I am always sharpening my active listening skills. I have learned so much from my current team because I have instilled trust in them by encouraging them to come to me with ideas, questions and concerns.
  • Tell me about a time you had to make an unpopular decision.
  • When I started working as general manager of Swanky Nightclub, there were no scheduling procedures in place, causing tension among staff and confusion for managers. I implemented a new scheduling policy that forced accountability and restricted shift updates and the staff had trouble accepting the changes at first. Once they saw how my changes streamlined workflow and enhanced efficiency, they were grateful for the change.
  • How do you know you can lead a team?
  • I know I can lead a team because I’ve proven it. After three years as an individual contributor in my last job, I was asked to oversee the implementation of new content management software on a tight deadline. I created a project scope and budget, and I worked closely with the development team to ensure they stayed on deadline and within budget. When we were ready to launch the new system, I coordinated with several teams cross functionally and trained them all on the new system. In the end, the project was successful. Production was not interrupted and we finished on time and under budget.
  • What is your biggest management weakness?
  • There are times when I have to remind myself that I can’t fix everything. In past positions, when there have been problems with a project, I’ve tended to throw myself into it and attempt to solve it myself. I’ve learned that it gets in the way of my employees’ growth and causes them to feel like I don’t trust their abilities to handle problems. Now, I pause, assess the situation, and let my team know that they handle it but can come to me if they need assistance or advice.

More behavioral interview questions for managers

But wait! There’s more. Check out these articles for more advice about
interviewing for a manager job.

Describe your system for keeping track of multiple projects
Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick to make a decision
Give me an example of a time when you used good judgment to solve a problem

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Common interview questions for managers by job title

Are you looking for manager interview questions and answers for a specific job title? We created the following pages with you in mind.

After the Interview

Following up with potential employers after a managerial interview is a must if you want to elevate yourself as the job candidate they want to hire. You have a short window of time so follow these tips after a manager interview to seal the deal.

First Thing First

1. First things first: Get your interviewer’s contact information.

Before you leave, ask the hiring manager for the next steps if they don’t offer them. You can say something like, “Thank you for your time; it was great meeting you. What are the next steps?” or “Thank you for your time; it was a pleasure to meet you. How soon are you thinking of making a decision?”

As Soon As

2. As soon as you’re able, write down anything you want to remember.

This could be insights about your potential team, the company’s immediate goals, the work environment and the tasks involved in the job.

Group 70


3. Send a thank-you note.

Your thank-you note should be concise — just a few short paragraphs — but detailed and follow this formula:

  • Start with a polite and professional salutation, like “Dear Jane.”
  • In your first paragraph, thank them for taking the time to interview you and mention something positive you took from the conversation. If you connected with your interviewer about work or personal interests, remind them here.

For example: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about the manager role at Account Wizards. I enjoyed talking with you about the challenges you face on the client side and our mutual fondness for science fiction novels.”

  • Create a new paragraph to reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and your interest in working for the company. Even better, explain that your interest has increased because of something you learned about the company, team, work, or project during the interview, and be specific, like so:.

For example: Your description of Granite Builder’s commitment to volunteer work and philanthropy — specifically your team’s work with Housing for Humanity — strengthens my respect for the company and heightens my interest in working with you. I’m also impressed by your approach to building structures that work with the environment to ensure we conserve natural resources — a value I strongly believe in. “

  • In the third paragraph, write two sentences summarizing your qualifications for the management position to reinforce your ability to do the job. Don’t forget to point out what makes you unique. Help them envision you at their company.

Pro tip If you leave the interview kicking yourself for not mentioning something that would set you apart or if you feel like you blundered an answer to an interview question, then address them in one or two sentences thank you letter. Just keep it upbeat!

For example: With the company at such a critical turning point, I’d love to bring
my extensive experience building productive teams and efficient processes to
assist the company increase market growth and international revenue.

  • Conclude by reiterating that you appreciate the opportunity, hope to be able to contribute to the success of their company, and look forward to learning about the next steps, like this:

“Thank you again for discussing the management role at Start-up
Enterprises. I appreciate the opportunity to build out a team of talented
individuals so that we may all contribute to the company’s mission of developing innovative software. I look forward to hearing from you.”

  • Then sign off with a professional term such as “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” “Respectfully,” or “Sincerely,” followed by a space and then your name.
Pro tip Attach documents — references, a work assessment from a former job, written work, links to news stories about a project you spearheaded — that support the content of your letter.

Wait Patiently

4. Wait patiently.

All you can do after sending your thank you letter is wait. Refrain from calling and emailing the hiring manager and human resources to check because you don’t want to seem impatient. If they give you a timeframe for following up, contact them by email if you don’t hear by the end of that timeframe.