How to Interview for a Management Position

Amy Culver |
Amy is our Lead Copywriter at Snagajob, where she loves to use her word nerd powers to help workers and employers connect. Her first hourly job was as a cashier at Chick-fil-a.

Interviewing for a position in management is much different from entry-level job interviews. Instead of asking you about your skills, the hiring manager will address a number of different competencies. This helps the hiring manager understand how you'll think and act in tough management situations.

We've identified five management competencies you have to demonstrate in the interview. Find out what questions you can expect to hear and what your answers should include.

Management skill #1

Show them you can make decisions.

Common interview questions:

  • "What would you do if one of your employees was rude to a customer?"

  • "What if someone who worked for you was always coming in late?

What they want to hear:

  • You think about all of the consequences of the decision you're making.

  • You take into account the needs of the business.

  • You're not afraid to act decisively.

  • You will use all of your available resources (company policies, documentation of incidents, your manager) to your advantage.

Management skill #2

Show them you can assign duties to team members.

Common interview questions:

  • "How will you delegate tasks to your employees?"

  • "How will you be sure that each task is completed successfully?”

What they want to hear:

  • You pick the right people for each task.

  • You deliver clear instructions.

  • You encourage each employee.

  • You follow up with them (sometimes more than once) to be sure the task has been done well.

Management skill #3

Show them you can motivate your team.

Common interview questions:

  • "How would you coach different people on your team?”

  • "How would you motivate your team?"

What they want to hear:

  • You customize your approach to each individual.

  • You motivate your team with appropriate rewards and reasonable incentives.

  • You're creative with your incentives (leaving early, bonuses, prizes, or just a good ol' fashioned pat on the back).

Management skill #4

Show them you'll develop your employees.

Common interview questions:

  • “How will you train your team?”

  • "How will you retain great employees?"

What they want to hear:

  • You get to know your staff, so you can find out how they learn and what they need.

  • You prepare your employees for promotion opportunities.

Management skill #5

Show them you're a great communicator.

Common interview questions:

  • "How do you let an employee know he or she is not meeting your expectations?"

  • “What's the best way to communicate your expectations to someone who reports to you?”

What they want to hear:

  • You are direct and honest with feedback.

  • You know how to offer feedback in a non-threatening manner.

  • You're able to pick the proper time and place for communicating with employees.