Job search FAQs
Frequently asked questions about General Manager jobs
As a GM, you may be overseeing daily operations of your retail location, developing strategies to grow business, managing employees, ensuring revenue growth and profitability, and delivering quality customer service to customers. You’ll be making decisions, communicating with employees and customers, and reporting on the success of your location.
You may be responsible for developing and executing business and growth strategies, preparing and tracking budgets, hiring, training, and firing employees, and reporting revenue, and ensuring goals are met. You may also have to evaluate performance and productivity of your employees, and provide coaching when necessary.
Ensuring great customer service is also a large part of the job. You’ll be helping to close sales, resolve issues, and provide an overall positive experience for customers and clients who interact with the business.
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum education requirement for a general manager role. Depending on the industry and size of the company, they may prefer a candidate with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a related field.
Additionally, most companies require a candidate to have several years of experience, sometimes within the company as an associate or lower-level employee before a general manager promotion. Or, it may be preferred to have assistant manager experience first, or similar experience with another company.
To become a general manager, first, make sure you meet the educational requirements or finish your studies in a relevant field. Next, get a job in a similar or relevant field to gain experience in the industry, or at a company. As you gain experience or tenure, be sure to keep your resume updated and apply for a position when you meet the minimum requirements.
Requirements for a general manager role can vary by company, but many require the same basic things like:
High school diploma or equivalent
Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Strong organization and time management skills
Experience leading people or managing a team
Dedicated to customer service and a great customer experience
Experience with recruiting and performance evaluation
Proficiency in Microsoft Office
Proven ability to develop and maintain budgets and financial plans
Working knowledge of operational policies and procedures
The company may ask for experience in performing specific tasks that are related to the industry. Also, keep in mind when it comes to educational requirements, it can depend on the industry and company you’re applying with. Some organizations will accept certifications or other formal training instead of a degree in a relevant field.
The job description should clearly outline requirements, but if you have questions, ask the hiring manager.
General manager salaries depend on their level of experience, the industry, and the company they work for. For example, more years of experience may mean higher pay.
The average salary for a general manager is around $53,500 per year but can range from around $39,000 annually to $65,000 or more. Some hourly pay ranges from minimum wage to $65 per hour or more.
Interview questions vary, but you can expect a mix of general questions, ones about your background and experience, and in-depth or job-specific queries.
Knowing what types of questions may be asked, and preparing answers ahead of time, can help you succeed in your interview:
Where do you see yourself in five years?
How would your previous coworkers describe you?
What is your management/leadership/coaching style?
Describe your experience hiring and training employees.
Explain how you handle work-related stress.
What is your greatest work-related accomplishment and why?
How do you motivate your team? What do you do if a team member is falling behind?
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in a previous role? How did you overcome it?
What are three professional skills you’ve gained from previous roles that could help bring value to our company?
Tell me about a time when your location was underperforming and not meeting goals, and what you did to improve the situation.
There are several qualities and skills a good general manager will have to be successful in their role. Some of the best qualities or traits include:
Handles constructive criticism
Ability to make decisions
Works well with others
Likable and personable
A general manager’s skills should focus on leadership, communication, and business skills. These can include:
Presentation and reporting
Looking at your career path, you may aspire to be a district manager, general sales manager, senior manager, director, or higher role.
Generally, the next career step for general managers is into a district manager or senior manager role, often taking on more responsibilities and leading a larger team of employees.
Additionally, you learn and perfect many skills as a general manager that are transferable to other jobs and industries, so your career path could pivot but you could continue to advance if desired.
General managers typically work 30-40 hours per week, though in some cases you may work more than 40 hours per week depending on the company and tasks that need to be performed. You’ll find you work around 6 to 8 hours per day, usually the standard 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with time for lunch.
Also depending on the company and your location, you may be asked to work evening shifts, on weekends, and even on holidays.
As a general manager, you’re expected to be where your team of employees is. Depending on the industry and company, your workplace could look like a variety of things.
In general, you’ll likely be on your feet for extended periods, helping employees and facilitating positive customer experiences. You may use computers, phones, and point-of-sale systems to complete transactions and other tasks.
In most cases, you’ll also have a desk or office to carry out the more administrative or managerial tasks. Typically this is located at the store or retail location you typically work in, though there may be a corporate office you’d visit.
Additionally, some general managers are asked to travel between store locations, or to a corporate headquarters for training or meetings.