Manager Interview Questions

man giving job interview questions

There are few more consequential decisions than hiring for positions with direct responsibility for staff.  

People quit bosses. The research proves the old trope: People leave managers, not companies. 57 percent of employees have left a job because of their manager. Furthermore, 14 percent have left multiple jobs because of their managers. An additional 32 percent have seriously considered leaving because of their manager.


Management-Specific Questions

Interview questions for positions with responsibility for staff should be divided up according to the level and responsibilities of the position.  

Recognizing that each company is unique, there are some topics that should be considered required.  


Tactical Thinking

Tactical thinking is often focused on the everyday tasks such as deliverables and other activities. Tactical thinking is most useful to solve short-term problems, for example, if you are a student and have two assignments due on the same day, you prioritize how to complete these two assignments in the short term. 


Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking provides long-term solutions to problems that we face daily. A good strategic thinker can make plans for the future and predict upcoming trends and changes to a certain industry. Strategic thinkers are also much more analytical, and can use data to form their solutions. In the workplace, it could be the implementation and successful execution of complex projects.  


Management Style

Management style is unique to each company.  Private companies operate differently from PE-owned or public corporations.  

While every employee is unique, there are habits and behaviors that all employees appreciate and respond to. They’re what makes everyone enjoy coming to work each day, and help teams thrive.

What examples can the candidate provide that demonstrate their communication with their staff?  

Employees love managers who appreciate them and their work.

Outside of the obvious promotion, recognition is one of the most important ways to show your employees that you care about them, their progress, and the work they’re doing.

Consultancy firm Towers Watson found that recognition from an employee’s manager increases engagement by nearly 60%

Does the candidate have examples of receiving feedback from staff that led to a change in management style?  

What actions does the candidate reference that demonstrate their care for their staff?  

Does the candidate have examples of investing in their staff’s growth?  How many people have they prompted?  

Ultimately, the right management style is one that compliments and supports the company’s leadership style. 


Delegating Tasks

Delegation is part of every successful leader’s management style. One reason why delegation is so spot-on is that there is a well-designed process of the delegation that ensures a smooth workflow.

Managers are not just about driving team’s outputs but are also responsible to support and motivate them whenever they are in any confusion or not able to find the right path to walk on. Here are a few traits that make an effective manager.

Great managers know that their job is measured by the output of the people and departments they’re managing. 


Making Decisions

When confronted with a difficult decision, how did the candidate make a decision?  

There are several common difficulties in decision-making.  

  • How has the candidate performed in situations with incomplete information? 
  • What did the candidate do when they received push-back from staff? 
  • If subordinates have a stake in the decision or are likely to be strongly affected by it, acceptance will probably be necessary for effective implementation.
  • Ineffective communication of a decision can contribute to poor decision-making.  
  • Has the candidate had an expected outcome from a decision due to timing?  

The success of a manager depends on her/his ability to make the right decision at the right time and to pursue its effective implementation.


Performance Goals

man smiling

When looking into performance goals, there are often a few KPIs that are the most important to the position and the company as a whole.

  • What KPIs important to the position’s success?  
  • What KPIs are important to the candidates for the position?  
  • How does the manager communicate the individual or team’s performance to goals? 

Manager communication with their team is also key. When a manager communicates with their team effectively, productivity often increases.


Administrative Duties

There’s an old saying, “The job is not finished until the paperwork is done.” From an activity network standpoint, this does not necessarily mean that the paperwork can’t begin until the last non-paperwork activity is completed. It might be possible to work on some paperwork as early activities are completed.


Team Building Questions

Team building is another critical aspect when looking to hire a marketing manager. Some of the manager interview questions to ask include:

  • How do you create a sense of team in your department/function/role?  
  • What team-building exercises have you completed?  When?  
  • What did you learn from your experiences with team-building exercises? 

This will let you know whether or not they are able to build rapport with their team as a marketing manager.


Building a Team

4 people working together

Team building should be one of the top priorities when thinking about which marketing manager questions to ask in the interview. Some of the team building questions to include in your interview are the following:

  • How do you define the roles within your team? 
  • How do you maximize the skills of your team members? 
  • How do you set expectations?  
  • What type of risks do you allow your team to take?  
  • How do you celebrate successes?  
  • How do you communicate the lessons from failures?  

This helps the interviewer decide whether the candidate has experience building a team, and how they manage their specific team.


Motivating a Team

Supervisor interview questions should always include how the candidate plans on motivating the team. Some of the most common questions asked regarding motivation include:

  • Does your team know the goals?  How do you communicate progress toward the goals?  
  • How do you encourage teamwork?  
  • Have you provided opportunities for development to members of your team?  
  • How do you determine the correct amount of space to give an employee to grow within a job and organization? 

As we stated earlier, motivation is crucial to cultivating productivity within a team. A marketing manager needs to be able to motivate their team in a way that benefits everyone.


Boosting Performance

Boosting performancer is critical to any organization, especially when you consider how it benefits the company. Some marketing manager questions to ask about boosting performance include:

  • How do you plan on boosting team performance in your first 3-6 months with the company?
  • How do you encourage your team to cultivate the best work possible for the firm?

When hiring a marketing manager, it’s critical to ask how they plan to motivate and boost performance throughout their department.


Morality and Inspiration

Morality is critical to any organization, and it’s important to find out if the candidate’s morals align with those of the company. Some of the marketing manager questions to ask would include:

  • Are you trained in business ethics, and how important do you believe ethics are when choosing a company?
  • Have you ever taken a course in business ethics?
  • What are the similarities between an ethical individual and an ethical corporation?


Conflict Resolution

Conflict in the workplace is almost inevitable, which is why a few of the marketing manager questions should be focused around conflict resoution:

  • Have you ever had to deal with conflict between 2 or more team members? 
  • What did you do?  What was the outcome of your actions?  
  • What would you do differently if confronted with a similar situation?  

These are all important questions to ask when hiring a new supervisor to your team, as this is one of the most important aspects of being a manager.


How to Choose the Right Interview Questionswoman in a job interview

There is no one-way of interviewing to achieve the best hire. 

Some questions will be influenced by the situation that preceded the immediate hire.  For example:  If a manager has terminated someone, then they tend to be focused on what caused the previous person to fail.  

Generally speaking, interview questions reveal:

  • Consistency in decision-making behavior 
  • Cognitive abilities, some people process information faster and more correctly than others.  
  • Personality – The leadership personality consists of many parts, empathy, curiosity, accountability, and consistency of their experiences.  The effort made to find good managers will be repaid multiple times.    


The Right Questions Win the Best Candidates

Here again, it’s not what you ask, but how you ask it.  

Any interview has the objective of; should the candidate advance or be hired or not?  

Candidates want work that:

  1. Has meaning
  2. That provides recognition 
  3. Is competitive compensated.  

Great interview questions are framed by what the candidate wants and the employer requires.  



Hiring a new manager to your team can be a tumultuous process, however, with the right manager interview questions, you can easily find your ideal candidate, and ensure that they will make a positive impact on your team. If you have any questions about how to hire your next marketing manager, contact us today!

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