Assessing Management and Supervisory Skills In the Job Interview

  • Pay attention to how your candidate answers your questions. Do they appear comfortable responding about each of the situations you describe and question? If not, the candidate may not be experienced as a manager and may be misrepresenting their credentials.
  • Look especially at how a candidate answers questions about conflict. Ask the candidate to elaborate upon their experiences (with direct examples). Aversion to such questions may indicate a weakness in conflict resolution or interpersonal management/leadership.
  • Beware of a candidate who persistently says the right things but fails to back up statements with solid stories that demonstrate the requested value or approach in action.
  • Seek demonstrable experience and get a solid grasp of the person’s current and past management responsibilities.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Can you please tell us about a specific decision that if you had the opportunity, you would have changed or approached in a different way? (This question is especially important for managers and leadership. If the candidate does not indicate that they would change any decisions, than that should be a warning. Also, many times managers will describe a personnel decision. Look carefully at how the candidate describes this situation. Does the candidate break confidence of the individuals involved in the description of the personnel description?
  • If I were to interview the people who have reported to you in the past, how would they describe your management style?
  • If I were to interview your reporting staff members, how would they describe your strengths and weaknesses as a manager and supervisor?
  • Give me an example from your past work experiences about a time when you had an underperforming employee reporting to you. How did you address the situation? Did the employee’s performance improve? If not, what did you do next?
  • Rate your management skills on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent management skills. Provide three examples from your past work experiences that demonstrate your selected number is accurate.
  • Tell me about a specific work environment or culture and its management style in which you have experienced the most success.
  • Tell me about a time when you had a reporting employee who performed very well. The employee exceeded goals and sought more responsibility. Could you tell me how you specifically handled this situation day-to-day and over time.
  • Could you tell me three specific components of your philosophy of management that demonstrate what you value and add, as an individual, to an organization’s culture and work environment.
  • What factors are crucial within an organization and must be present for you to work most effectively?
  • Tell me about a time when you reorganized a department or significantly changed employee work assignments. How did you approach the task? How did the affected employees respond to your actions?
  • One of the jobs of a manager or supervisor is to manage performance and perform periodic performance reviews. Tell me how you have managed employee performance in the past. Describe the process you have used for performance feedback.
  • When you have entered a new workplace in the past, as a manager or supervisor, could you tell me about a specific situation how you have gone about meeting and developing relationships with your new coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff.
  • As a manager or supervisor, one of your jobs is to provide direction and leadership for a work unit. Could you tell me about a specific situation when you have accomplished this in the past.