With the right preparation, an interview can feel less like a daunting prospect and more like something to be excited about. You’ll have all the right answers and leave a lasting impression on your interviewers.

To help you succeed at your next job interview, we’ve compiled our top tips and interview questions for managers.

Management interview questions

No matter the type of management role you’re applying for, the interview questions for a manager position will have some overlap. You may be asked about your leadership and communication style. Or you may be given a ‘managing conflict in the workplace’ interview question.

There are also role-specific questions where the interviewer is trying to assess your suitability for the company culture, as well as the role. You don’t need to be applying for a CEO or managing director role for that to be an important consideration.

Below you’ll find some behavioural interview questions and answers for managers for different types of roles.

Project Manager

As a project manager, you need quite specific knowledge and experience in project management. You also need to demonstrate a range of soft skills, such as relationship and team management.

Project manager interview questions may include:

  • What project management methodologies are you familiar with?
    In your answer, show your versatility by talking about all of the methodologies you’re familiar with and have used in the past. Instead of just listing the methodologies, provide retrospective examples of when you’ve used them.
  • How do you build strong relationships with project sponsors?
    Answer this question with an example that shows how you’ve been able to overcome a project challenge based on the strength of your relationships. Projects aren’t always smooth sailing, and so this also helps to demonstrate your ability to navigate challenges such as scope creep, a missed deadline or budget blowout.
  • How do you foster collaboration within your team?
    This is an opportunity for you to showcase your leadership style and experience. You can talk about how you manage team conflict, how you motivate your team and how you bring them together to achieve a positive outcome.

Operations Manager

From logistics to financials, there’s a lot of depth to an operations manager’s role. As you answer questions, show the interviewers that you are capable of that depth given your broad experience and strong skill set. Operations manager interview questions may include:

  • How do you develop and implement financial budgets?
    As an operations manager, this is a core component of your role, so provide an example of the process you follow and the inputs you use. Demonstrate how you leverage relationships within and across teams to get the right outcomes. You can also talk about your experience with cost analysis and other financial reporting.
  • What is your approach when negotiating vendor contracts?
    Your answer to this question should demonstrate that you have the skills and experience to build strong relationships with vendors. Successful negotiations stem from successful relationships, so talk about how you set expectations, as well as how you set your communication style.
  • How do you communicate the vision, mission and values of the company to your team?
    You’ll need to demonstrate to the interviewers that you have a leadership style that aligns with the culture of the company. Give an example of how you lead day-to-day and align your team communication with the objectives of the company.

National Sales Manager

This can be quite a high-pressure role with quotas to meet and a large team to manage. It’s not enough to be a great sales person. You also need the skills and experience to lead a sales team. Interview questions for a national sales manager may include:

  • What is your approach to understanding sales data?
    Provide examples of how you use data to meet quotas. You need to demonstrate how you forecast and spot trends in the data to drive results in your team.
  • How do you manage underperformers in your team?
    In an ideal world, every member of your team would be a top performer. But that won’t be the case. If you’ve never managed an underperformer before, talk about how you set expectations with your team. This question is all about determining if you have the skills and experience required for difficult conversations.
  • What motivates you?
    The sales profession can be highly monetarily driven. In a national sales manager role, you also need to demonstrate that you’re intrinsically motivated by results and by leading a team.

Management interview tips

As the founder and CEO of C-suite headhunting agency Arete Executive, Richard Triggs knows a thing or two about how to impress in an interview.

Triggs suggests responding to interview questions with probing questions to get more information about what the interviewer is looking for.

“Often an employer will start the interview by asking why you want this job,” explains Triggs. “Rather than launching into your motivations, a better strategy is to say, ‘ In order for me to answer that intelligently, I’d like to know what success looks like in the role.’

“They might then tell you that one of the things you need to deliver is a 25 per cent cost reduction. You can then give them examples of when you’ve done that in the past.”

If you don’t ask the question, you risk providing examples that, while impressive, aren’t relevant to the success measures for the role.

“This is also an easy way for you to assess, as a candidate, if you want the job,” adds Triggs.

You may have heard of the STAR approach for answering interview questions. For each answer you provide, you explain the situation, the task you were given, the actions you took and the result.

Triggs suggests looking back over your career and coming up with a few different experiences or, as he calls them, “stories” that you can prepare for the interview. Often these stories can be adapted to answer different questions.

“You don’t need to memorise them, but if you practice them, you’ll come across as more confident and be less likely to stumble,” he says.

How can an MBA help you?

Why study an MBA? Out of all the skills an MBA can give you, one of the most important skills for an interview is confidence. It gives you a broad knowledge base to draw on in your interview and a holistic picture of commercial demands.

An MBA may also help your resume stand out from other candidates, giving you a head start in the interview process. When you’ve secured the interview, it then becomes your chance to talk about the depth and breadth of experience you’ll bring to the role. You’ll still need to do the work to impress the interviewers, but the MBA can be your foot in the door.

It’s also worth mentioning the network you have access to through your MBA, as you’ll complete your MBA with students from different industries and professions. When you’re applying for a job, you can then tap into that network for industry or company insights to supplement your own research.

Unlock the key to your future career

With multiple online MBA options available across Australian business schools, speaking to a Student Enrolment Advisor is the best first step. We can guide you through the process of choosing the right MBA for you.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor to start the conversation and pave the way for a bright career future.

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