So you’ve been working your way up the corporate ladder. You’ve learnt all there is in your previous roles within your sector and now it’s time to move up to a management level role. You’ve landed yourself a very important interview and you’re wondering what type of questions you are likely to be asked.
Take some time to think about what being a manager involves and what the organisation are looking for in a manager. Managers typically these days are very hands on and will have people responsibility. Depending on the size of the organisation they can be tasked with either setting the direction of their team or implementing an existing plan that aligns with the company strategy. Being a manager involves taking responsibility and being accountable for the performance of the team against objectives.
Here are some typical management behavioural competencies that are likely to be assessed during an interview, some potential questions under those headings and some information to get you thinking about preparing specific examples ahead of the interview.
1. Management Style
Q: Describe your management style and give us an example when you had to adapt this style to the benefit of the team and business?
A: There are several different styles of management (directive, collaborative, authoritative, participative etc.). It’s best to answer this question honestly – so describe your natural style of managing people. If you haven’t managed people before and you’re looking for promotion describe how you have worked in teams of people before and describe what role you’ve naturally adopted. Did you naturally take a lead role? Were you comfortable giving out instructions and directing? Did you enjoy sharing ideas with the team or encouraging your team members to participate?
There’s a second part to this first question – how have you adapted your natural style? That’s why it’s important to be honest with this question (instead of trying to guess what the company want in a manager). Think of a time when you had to change your natural style of management to get the best out of the team or an individual? Managing people is a challenging task and people have different ways they like to be managed and have different learning styles and preferences and organisations need to understand your knowledge and awareness of these facts. As a manager you’ll need to recognise this in your team as your job is to get the best out of everyone.
2. Managing People
Q: Give us an example of a time you were managing a well established team of people and you were tasked to increase productivity?
A: Most management roles require people management skills and experience and there may well be several questions asked during the interview to gather different elements of managing people – so it’s worth having several different examples prepared with slightly different angles covered (motivating and empowering people, training and developing people, managing poor performance, managing conflict within the team, managing difficult or disruptive behaviour etc.).
In your answer interviewers will be looking for how you have created a positive environment that encourages learning and development and like the above example they’ll be looking for evidence of how you have ensured career aspirations of the team are recognised and managed effectively for both the individual and the business. Interviewers will be looking for how you have empowered individuals and teams to bring out the best in each member and how you have pro-actively sought to understand the teams’ skills, motivational aspects and aspirations. In order to get the best out of people managers must act as role models and champions for the core values of the organisation. Managers know how to create excellent rapport with their team members to gain respect and to maintain productivity and they do this with enthusiasm.
photo by: Liberty National