Top 5 Supervisor Job Interview Questions

While you should always be prepared for common job interview questions, there are supervisor-specific questions that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced before hand.

Andrea Barger |
Andrea is our head of PR at Snagajob, where she’s focused on telling the world how we help hourly workers and employers. Her first hourly job was as a lifeguard.
Categories: Interviewing

When interviewing for a supervisor position, you really want to do everything you can to let the interviewer see what a great leader you are. 

While you should always be prepared for common job interview questions, there are supervisor-specific questions that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced before hand.

What makes a good supervisor?

This question will give the interviewer a sense of your management style. Draw from your experiences that can prove you are an effective leader.

“In my previous role as manager of a retail store, I found that if you show your employees you respect them, they will in turn respect you and work harder for you. I like to keep an open-door policy with my employees, meaning that they feel comfortable coming to me with any issues they are having. This also gives them a sense of ownership in their job that has produced great results. While there’s a line between being a supervisor and friend, I like to show them that we are on the same team, working toward the same goal.”

How do you go about solving conflict between team members?

Not everyone on your team will get along, and how you solve conflicts will reflect the type of manager you will be. The interviewer is looking to see if you can handle your employees bickering.

“While I’ve never had a very serious issue with employees not getting along, I have seen what happens when people on your team do not seem to work well together. If it’s something small, like a work miscommunication, I will call them both into my office and we will hash it out. I’ve see that type of resolution work well. But, if it’s something bigger, like personal drama, I usually approach them separately and ask that they leave any personal issues at the door. Then, I make note to not schedule them in the same shift. I keep my time and my employee’s time at work as professional as possible.” 

How do you encourage your team?

Keeping your employees motivated is a major role of a supervisor. The interviewer is trying to see if your employees will respond to you and your encouragement. Use examples to show how your ideas have improved the workplace.

“I’ve always found great success with mini-competitions. I keep them small enough so that’s there’s no hard feelings, but big enough that the employees will work hard. For example, last Black Friday we held a contest to see who could have the most sales by the end of the day. The winner received a mini-spa day for all their hard work. This actually resulted in our most profitable Black Friday to date and the employees really got into it. It was the first time that no one really complained about working the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, they have requested to do more contests like that one. We’ve also done group contests. For example, we found that Wednesdays were our slowest days, so I gave them all a goal of raising Wednesday sales by three percent. If they did, they would each get a gift card to a local restaurant. It only took about three weeks for them to meet the goal.”

How do you go about dealing with bad employees?

Companies are looking to hire supervisors who understand that not every employee is perfect and to see how they handle a bad fit. Show them that you are encouraging and don’t give up easily.

“I wish I could tell you that I’ve never experienced an employee who wasn’t the right fit. But, that’s not the case. In almost every job I’ve had, there’s been at least one questionable hire. Because they were hired in the first place, it shows that we saw something in them that may not be shown at work. I start by scheduling a meeting with them to see what the issue may be. Many times it’s not work related, just that personal issues are being brought into the work place. In that situation we work out a plan on how they should improve and I let them know that, while we are rooting for them they need to step up their game. In other cases where the employee doesn’t seem to care at all about the job or they are getting noticed for not working hard, I will either request that they retake the training or that we part ways.”

What is most important for your store to run effectively?

Being a leader requires you to spend time developing your team and helping them work well together. Think about the things you like to see from your employees and from your own manager.

“The biggest thing that makes my stores run is teamwork. I truly believe that hiring the right people who work well together will give you an edge on the competition. We let our employees know that no one is too good for any tasks and that we are all working together to make the store a success. You can even find me washing the floors if we are short handed or busy. This type of environment encourages everyone to work hard and gives them a sense of pride in their work.”

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