Adriana Herrera, Interview Destiny FounderUse this Preparing for a Managerial Interview: Free Ultimate Guide (2022) article to help you impress your interviewer.

If you want everything you need to ace your interview, click here.

Adriana Herrera, Interview Destiny FounderUse this Preparing for a Managerial Interview: Free Ultimate Guide (2022) article to help you impress your interviewer.

If you want everything you need to ace your interview, click here.

Preparing for a Managerial Interview: Free Ultimate Guide (2022)

by | Jul 8, 2022

Preparing for a Managerial Interview (Icon)

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with interview anxiety when preparing for a managerial interview.

What do you prioritize? How do you sell yourself? What interview questions will you be asked? How do you interview for a management position with no experience?

Lucky for you this article shares how a management interview is different from other interviews, how to prepare for a management position, managerial interview questions with example answers, insights into what the hiring manager is looking for, and answers to frequently asked managerial interview questions.

There is no need to worry or get overwhelmed! By the end of this article you will have the help you need to go into any management interview feeling prepared, confident, and ready for anything.

If you’re ready for tips and insights to ace your managerial interview keep reading! 

Preparing for a Managerial Interview (Icon)

Preparing for a Managerial Interview (Overview)

What is a management position?
A management position is any job that involves leading and coordinating the efforts of others. Some managers work in teams, such as team leads and project managers, while other managers work alone. Possible management positions include:


  • Team lead or manager
  • Supervisor or middle level manager
  • Department head or director
  • Project leader

Every management position has several things in common, managers are responsible for:

  • Making sure their employees have everything they need to do their jobs well (from training opportunities to basic office supplies), 
  • Finding ways to motivate employees (that don’t always include monetary compensation),
  • Advocating for their department, team and project, and
  • Making important decisions for their department, team, and project.

Typically, companies look for managers who have skills in:

  • Planning and organizing others’ work, 
  • Verbal and written communication, 
  • Problem solving, 
  • Motivating people of different backgrounds, skill sets, and experiences towards a common goal. 

If a company lacks effective managerial leadership it will not function well and will likely have poor employee morale, growth, and profitability. Good hiring managers know this and will carefully look for a candidate that exhibits skills and traits that indicate they are the most likely to have success if hired.

When preparing for a managerial interview keep in mind what a manager is responsible for and what skills they must possess. Think about your own work history and work wins and how you will communicate experiences that highlight your ability to excel in the managerial position. 

What should I expect during a management interview?

During the management interview process you should expect a phone screen interview followed by one to three interviews at least 45 minutes long.

The first 45-minute managerial interview will generally have the following interview flow:

  • An introduction to the company and interviewer 
  • Introductory interview questions
  • Work history questions 
  • Commonly asked managerial interview questions
  • An opportunity to ask the interviewer questions 

The interviewer will be looking for concrete examples of your leadership, organization, planning, problem solving, and decision-making skills. You should prepare to provide specific examples of these skills that you can easily recall and provide to the interviewer without long pauses, saying “um,” or struggling. 

If you have a second or third management interview the hiring managers will deep dive into your management skills, they will assess how you would lead, motivate, and grow teams. They will also assess how you might add to the existing company culture and get along with the leadership team.

Depending on the company the process to interview for a managerial position may include a skills assessment or interview assignment. Skills assessment and interview assignments are used to assess your capabilities and may be used to calculate base pay using a standardized scoring method (i.e. how well you perform on an interview assignment can impact how much you’re paid).

Skills tests allow employers to gauge your specific skill level. For example, if the managerial position requires you to lead a team of bilingual customer representatives the employer is likely to give you a language skills test. Skill tests that take less than an hour to complete and cannot be used by the company to generate revenue are equitable for employers to use in the hiring process.

Slightly different than a skill test, an interview assignment is an opportunity for the company to see how you work under “real conditions.” The interviewer will give you a business problem similar to what you would face if hired and ask you to come up with a solution.

Hypothetical interview assignments that take a few hours to complete and cannot be used to generate revenue are equitable interview tests (though contributing several hours to complete an assignment does not guarantee you will be hired). Interview assignments that take more than one hour to complete and can be used by the company to generate revenue are not equitable and may signal a problematic employer.

For example, if you are interviewing for a Content Director position and are asked to come up with a content marketing campaign to acquire customers for the business the assignment is not equitable. This is because the business could choose not to hire you but still use your assignment to generate profit. If the company asked you to create a content marketing campaign for a made-up business not in their industry the interview assignment would be equitable while still allowing the business to assess your abilities to perform primary job duties.

Preparing for a Managerial Interview (Steps)

Preparing for a management interview can be overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. Here are 13 steps plus a free bonus resource to help you get ready for your interview:

1. Do your research know the company, the interviewer, and job description inside and out so that you can proactively impress with statements and questions and anticipate what types of questions you may be asked. 

2. Prepare yourself physically and mentally get a good night’s sleep and have a nutritious energizing (but not overly heavy) meal before your interview.

3. Develop your professional “Tell me about yourself” narrative to impress the interviewer at the beginning of your interview and set a positive tone. 

4. Prepare a list of quantified work wins and experiences that relate to the job description that provide specific examples of your ability to perform well in a managerial role. Be sure to provide leadership and decision-making examples. 

5. Prepare answering commonly asked managerial interview questions such as:

6. Practice answering managerial interview questions using the STARLA format to provide concise brief answers that limit the need for the interviewer to feel as though they need to ask follow-up questions (because they have doubts in your abilities).

7. Prepare supplementary interview materials to offer the interviewer such as letters of recommendations and lists of references with contact information.

8. Prepare to dress for success select interview attire that matches the company’s style and the role you are interviewing for (when in doubt opt for business casual neutral color clothing such as light blues and khaki), have a backup outfit in case something unexpected happens to what you plan to wear

9. Arrive a few minutes early, but not too early. Arriving 10 minutes early to an in-person interview makes you look good while arriving five minutes early to an online interview is appropriate.

10. Be prepared to answer questions you don’t have an answer to. You are bound to be asked an interview question you have no experience in and/or didn’t have a chance to prepare for ahead of time. Prepare how you will respond to a question you don’t have an answer to. For example, you could say something like…”I haven’t thought about that before. Would you mind if we moved on to another question and come back to this one so I can give it a little thought?”  

11. Be prepared to answer any questions about areas you are weak. Being weak in an area doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the job. If you know you are weak in a particular area, be prepared to provide the interviewer with information that will remove their doubts about your ability to improve and perform well in that area.

12. Be prepared to ask the interviewer questions about the company, team, job duties, growth opportunities, and anything relevant to your success in the position and with the company (remember an interview is a two way street you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.

13. Be prepared to negotiate your job offer. Managerial positions have a lot of responsibility. It’s important to ensure you are compensated fairly for your work. To ensure you maximize your compensation, build your salary negotiation skills.   

(Free) Bonus Resource: Want to make sure you’re ready for your interview? Click here to get our free interactive interview preparation checklist. 

Managerial Interview Questions (Plus Example Answers)

Managerial interview questions will assess your ability to lead and motivate others, as well as your decision-making skills. Many times, management interview questions will focus on real-world scenarios you may encounter in the workplace. The interviewer wants to see how you would react in a situation where you are in charge. Questions are themed around:

  • Ability to overcome challenges 
  • Leadership style
  • Ability to hit goals 

While there are many different types of management interviews, most will ask some combination of these three themes. Preparing for these themes ahead of time will help you go into the interview feeling confident and ready to answer any question that comes your way.

Managerial Interview Questions (8 Examples with Answers)
Below are examples of eight managerial interview questions you may be asked in your interview:

What have been your greatest challenges as a manager?


When answering this question your focus should be on sharing challenges you faced and how you overcame them. This shows your:


  • Self-awareness,
  • Honesty, and
  • Ability to handle difficult situations.

Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #1

“My greatest challenges as a manager have surrounded supporting underperforming individuals and determining when it’s time to let someone go before they become problematic.

As a metrics-driven manager it’s easy for me to see when a team member is consistently underperforming. In the past I’ve struggled determining why someone is underperforming in a role compared to their direct colleagues.

In one case where I was hired into the managerial role I discovered the underperforming individual received no training. So, I helped them reset by formally training them which resulted in significant improvement.

In another case I had someone who would focus on tasks that were not the top priority. As a result the team suffered as a whole. When I spoke with the individual I sensed they didn’t care about the quality of their work.

While I sensed this I didn’t want to jump to conclusions so I tried everything to motivate them. I scheduled one-on-one time to problem-solve, got them into the company’s mentoring problem, had them shadow top performers, created opportunities for them to ask questions formally and informally, and more. Despite all the support they received they continued to underperform.

After exhausting resources and seeing them continually bring the team down I had to go through the formal HR to terminate them.

The challenges taught me to rely on metrics to measure performance but to also have a measurable system to support underperformers. A measurable system to support underperforms ensures everyone has the same chance to be supported while not allowing bad apples take advantage – wasting time and resources.”

What is your leadership style?


An impressive answer to this question involves:

  • Assessing your leadership style, and 
  • Providing examples of your leadership style. 

When preparing to answer this question, think about what kind of leader you are and what type of leader you aspire to be. Assess your leadership style by looking at your experience and skills but also considering what kind of people would work best under your leadership.       

Think about the day-to-day responsibilities you have carried out as a manager or in another position (if you’re interviewing for a managerial position for the first time) and how you approached them. Are you someone that delegates often? Do you prefer to coach team members hands on? Or are you someone who gives feedback frequently or only when necessary?

Whatever your leadership style may be, be honest in your answer. This will set you up for success. If you are not honest you may end up in a work environment completely opposite of your leadership style which can result in having to completely adapt how you work. In extreme cases this can result in failure.


Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #2

“I would say that I tend to approach leadership as a coach. I like to help draw-out attributes like a sense of ownership and purpose, communication, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. 


I do this by creating systems to facilitate efficiency and consistently measure outcomes. Having systems and processes in place gives people space to be trusted to contribute their best independently while ensuring they never feel unsupported.

I know if my leadership style is working by measuring how well the processes and systems work. In my last role, my leadership style resulted in a 63% increase in my team’s productivity, 100% employee retention in the 23 months I managed by team of 22, and a savings of $121,000 in overtime expenses – no overtime was needed because the team was so efficient.”

What makes you think you'd be a good manager?


When answering this question you want to provide the interviewer concrete examples of situations where you displayed traits of a good manager, such as the ability to:

  • Clearly communicate with entry-level roles and senior managers
  • Present difficult information to others
  • Help an underperforming team or individual overcome challenges and improve performance through feedback, hands-on help, etc.

Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #3

“In my previous managerial role, my team generated 48% more profit than any other team. They also had the highest employee satisfaction rating. The team of 30 rated their satisfaction and work happiness at 96% compared to the company’s average of 72%. In addition, I was able to generate these results while decreasing supplemental spending on resources by 20%, saving my department $34,000.00.

I pride myself in building systems and processes that help everyone thrive and using metrics to proactively identify if someone is falling behind. These methods ensure my team is in sync and individuals are always supported.

I believe my approach to managing others and the results I’ve produced show that I am a good manager and that I’d be able to excel in this position.”

It is easy to understand from the interview answer example above how the person is a good manager. The metrics provided in their answer reflect their ability to communicate with all roles, work with others, and support their team.

How do you motivate your team?


An effective answer to this question would involve:


  • Stating your “theory” of how to best motivate a team, and 
  • Providing examples that support your theory.

Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #4

“I like to motivate my team by setting clear expectations with goals, objectives, and success metrics for all projects and ensuring that each team member knows how the work they do contributes to the bigger picture. This gives everyone direction and purpose.

To keep people motivated I believe in doing regular check-ins so that everyone knows how they are performing against the established expectations and to ensure they feel supported and valued.

As a project kicks off and begins to hit milestones I make sure to publicly recognize and praise team members. I also empower team members to praise and recognize each other.

Depending on the project I may ask the team to come up with an additional project goal that would result in a “grand slam” outcome. If I do this I also ask the team to come up with an incentive they’d like if the team “hits a grand slam.”

In my last role my motivation style resulted in my team surpassing 96.4% of goals and increasing company profit by 26%.”

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How do you define success?

It is important to be prepared with an answer to this question because it leads into other interview questions such as:

  • What did you do to achieve success in your last role?
  • How would you define success for yourself and others at our company?

When this managerial interview question comes up, use it as an opportunity to paint a picture for the interviewer!

A good answer includes three key components:

  • A definition of success
  • Having clear long-term goals
  • Preparing for challenges/roadblocks along the way

Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #5


“I consider myself successful when I am surpassing, not just hitting, goals and simultaneously learning new skills or pitching in on other projects.


This is success to me because it demonstrates my mastery of my job and my freedom to stretch myself to help others or learn new things.


My five-year career goal is to make partner. Viewing success in this way helps keep me focused, excelling, and growing. It also ensures that if I ever find myself not surpassing goals that I find resources to help. In general these resources have included online courses, mentorship, and shadowing other top performers.

Success to me is surpassing not just hitting goals.”

Why should I hire you?

It is important to think about how you will answer the question “
Why should I hire you?” before it is asked because it can lead into other questions such as:

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What would your former coworkers say about you?

You want to present a list of your best skills and traits, and also provide an explanation as to why you are a good fit for the role.


Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #6


“I am passionate about the software development industry.


I want to find a position at a company that is building software that helps others where I can contribute my experiences and achievements.


I understand that this position requires scaling the project management team.


I previously scaled a team of project managers from 2 – 18 this achieved an increase in company revenue of 87% generating $14.8 Million in profit.


If hired I would apply the skills I’ve learned to achieve similar results by implementing a metrics-driven equitable hiring and training process to hire and retain the best.


I also see that this position requires profit and loss management.


I previously managed a project management departmental budget of $6 million and generated a 3X return on spend this achieved an increase in revenue of over $18 million..


If hired I would feel comfortable working with the team to identify processes that need to be evolved to maximize efficiency, outcomes, and team happiness. Together we’d be able to set and surpass project and profit goals.


The position also requires representing the company at conferences.


I previously represented companies at conferences and have given 48 keynote and panel presentations that increased brand recognition and helped the companies attract new talent.


If hired I would be able to quickly collaborate with others to learn existing systems to begin to hit milestones, measure success, and use learnings to generate an assessment and plan to yield maximum departmental results.


As someone who has a growth mindset I welcome opportunities to learn skills and approach challenges with a positive attitude. This position would give me an opportunity to support the COO and CPO with board reporting.


My previous employer and team can provide additional reasons why you should hire me. I’m happy to put you in touch with them. Would you like me to make an introduction to them?”

If you need help answering this managerial interview question use our Why should I hire you? Interview Answer Creator.

Tell me about a time you had to lead by example.

Interviewers often ask this question because it’s an opportunity for you to highlight how you demonstrate leadership skills on a day-to-day basis. The “question” helps them understand your personality and performance in past roles, while seeing how well you can communicate with others at all levels.

When preparing for a managerial interview it is important to reflect on, and prepare, times when you led by example.


Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #7

“I have always been very passionate about leadership, so whenever I have the opportunity to be a leader I will take it. Recently, due to an unexpected family emergency my manager was out-of-the-office for two weeks.

Because her being out-of-the-office was unexpected no plans were in place to ensure her duties were completed. Not wanting her to come back to a mess after dealing with a family emergency I took on her responsibilities.

While she was out I held 1:1s with team members to ensure they felt supported and that their projects were being completed successfully. This serendipitously allowed me to grow my management skills.

When she returned everything was running smoothly. In fact, projects were ahead of schedule. It was this experience that brought me here today. I’m ready to, and capable of, taking on more responsibility.”

Are you willing to do what it takes to accomplish all required tasks - even ones you don’t like to do?

In every job, there are tasks and duties we like to do and others we don’t like to do that we may even procrastinate on.

When asking this question the interviewer very directly wants to know if you are able to step up and take charge of projects, regardless if you like them or not.

It is important you communicate to the interviewer that you are willing to do what it takes, even when the duties required of you aren’t glamorous, ideal, or interesting.


Example Interview Answer for
Managerial Interview Question #8

“I have a tendency to take charge of projects that my teammates aren’t excited about. I’m willing to do what needs to be done in order for us to finish our work on time. Whether it’s work related to my own job description or work that needs to get done by my team.

An example of this is a time the company’s internet was running slow. It was slow because it was being hosted on company servers. I finished a project a few days ahead of schedule and asked to take on the project of speeding up the company’s servers.

It wasn’t a glamorous project and quite challenging but I knew how much of an impact it was having on everyone in the company. So I dove in and managed to successfully configure the servers to reduce latency.

I could’ve just played it cool and not done anything for a few days like some of my colleagues do when they finish projects ahead of schedule. But that’s not my style. I’d rather take on the project no one else wants to touch.”

Preparing for a managerial interview can be trickier than preparing for other types of interviews. This is because managerial interview questions focus on topics that are less familiar to you compared to interview questions like “Walk me through your resume? or “What did you study in school?” As shown above, interviewers will ask you open ended questions that seek to assess a variety of traits, skills, and characteristics.

To best prepare answers to management interview questions, take time to reflect on your work history. Use your reflection to develop a list of real scenarios and experiences  that you can include in interview answers to demonstrate your ability to lead others and make decisions on behalf of a department, team, and/or project.

To ensure you clearly communicate your abilities, be sure to quantify your experiences and add those details in your interview answers. 

Preparing for a Managerial Interview (FAQs)

What should I say in a management interview?

In a management interview you should always provide concrete examples. Providing clear quantified examples of how you did something, learned something, achieved something, and/or overcame something leaves little room for the interviewer to doubt your abilities.

In a management interview the interviewer will assess you on your: 

  • Knowledge of the industry and company, 
  • Skills and abilities, 
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, 
  • Leadership abilities, and 
  • Decision-making skills. 

When answering any managerial interview question you want to provide clear examples that support what you say.

For example, if the managerial interview question is assessing a specific skill, trait, etc. provide quantified examples of times you successfully used that skill or trait to successfully work independently, within a team, and as a team leader.

The key to a successful management interview is supporting what you say with quantified examples.

How do I ace a general manager interview?

Preparing to ace a general manager interview requires:

  • Doing your research on the company, industry, interviewer, and job description, 
  • Preparing quantified examples of leadership, communication, and decision-making skills,
  • Practicing answers to interview questions (general interview questions as well as general manager interview questions)
  • Preparing questions to ask the interviewer, and 
  • Following up on your interview. 

How do I prepare for my first management interview?

To prepare for your first management interview you want to focus your interview preparation on highlighting your:

  • Leadership skills,
  • Decision-making skills,
  • Communication skills, and
  • Ability to motivate others. 

Though you may never have formally held a manager position it is likely you have performed the duties and/or acted manager like. You want to prepare to appropriately highlight these skills and abilities.

To prepare for your first management interview:

  • Research the company and position, 
  • Research the interviewer to anticipate the types of questions they will ask,
  • Prepare quantified examples of your leadership skills, 
  • Prepare quantified examples of your decision-making skills, 
  • Prepare quantified examples of your communication skills, 
  • Prepare quantified examples of your ability to motivate others, 
  • Practice answering general interview questions
  • Practice answering managerial interview questions, 
  • Prepare a professional way of answering interview questions that take you off guard or that you have never thought about before, 
  • Prepare intelligent questions to ask the interviewer, and
  • Follow up on your interview with a thank you email and thank you note.

To prepare quantified examples of your skills and abilities use PayDestiny’s free Achievement Bank.


What questions will I be asked in a management interview?

Questions you will be asked in a management interview will assess your ability to lead others towards a common goal and make decisions, often with little information. Examples of management interview questions include:

  • What have been your greatest challenges as a manager?
  • What is your leadership style?
  • What makes you think you’d be a good manager?
  • How do you motivate your team?
  • How do you define success?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Tell me about a time you had to lead by example.
  • Are you willing to do what it takes to accomplish all required tasks – even ones you don’t like to do?


Hopefully, the managerial interview questions and example answers, steps to prepare for a managerial interview, interview preparation tips, and insights shared have boosted your confidence to ace your management interview.

If you’re still not sure what to do or how to prepare for a management position interview please take a look at our blog for more tips. To give yourself a competitive edge create an InterviewDestiny account to really build your interview skills and confidence!

Now, I’m going to turn it over to you.

What is one question you would like answered about preparing for a managerial interview?

Let me know in the comments below.

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