Classic Job Interview Questions for Senior Managers

Executives don’t have it easy – not only do they manage an enormous amount of responsibility, but in any job interview, they’re often asked the most critical and difficult questions. Many senior managers don’t cope well when personnel managers throw out bizarre or misleading questions. Any candidate who applies for a management position should stay level-headed and calm, and prepare themselves for the possible difficulties they may encounter.

Classic Job Interview Questions for Senior Managers

To avoid breaking into a sweat, and to make sure you show off your best self during an interview, today we present you with some of the most classic interview questions for senior managers.

The Classics: Interview Questions for Senior Executives

1. How would you describe your leadership style?

A good manager is characterized by his ability to make decisions, a clear communication style, but also by his connections with colleagues and his ability to lead a team. This should also be shown in one’s leadership style. They consider their leadership responsibilities, and find the best solution for the team.

They provide structure to a team, while also giving everyone the opportunity to develop and share their own ideas. Open communication is standard between you and your team, based on mutual respect, and when problems arise, you are the first point of contact. You should aim to serve your team as both an executive and a mentor.

2. How do you command respect as a manager?

A good manager does not waver – when you’re interviewing for a management position, you must demonstrate your decision-making abilities, in every area of your life. Those who can’t decide on the little things – like a lunch order – will never be able to manage an executive position in the long run.

Respect is earned when your colleagues acknowledge your ability to lead, and see that even in a crisis situation, you never lose your nerve. Good managers act with decorum and principle, and thereby they demonstrate their authority. But respect among your coworkers is not simply earned by showing skill, establishing structure, or meeting precise decisions.

Good managers keep the needs and demands of their team in mind at all times, because they know: management is not a one-man show. Managers depend on their employees. For this reason, good managers always have an open ear for the problems and needs of their team.

3. What would you accomplish during the first 100 days of your tenure here?

The first 100 days are an important phase – your performance during this time can positively influence your transition into a new leadership position. These first few months will serve as the foundation for your future cooperation and working style between you and your team. You must define goals and responsibilities to create a new energy and workflow in your department. At least, you have the potential to do so.

You should use the first few days to orient yourself within your new company, department, and team. Focus on your new environment and get to know your new tasks. This also includes relationship building between you and your team, as well as the implementation of communication structures. In the subsequent evaluation phase, you can begin to conceptualize and gather all of the information you need to understand your new space.

What are the biggest problems facing the company / the department / the team? Now you can clearly set goals and propose a battle plan for the upcoming months. In the last step, the implementation phase, you can start to take the necessary measures to put your plans into action. It’s extremely important to get regular feedback from your employees. Look – you’ve already mastered your first 100 days as a senior manager!

4. How do you critique your coworkers?

Leaders must make clear and concrete statements – this speaks to those procedures that are already going well (as your team appreciates and deserves the recognition), but also for methods that aren’t running so smoothly. It’s up to the senior manager to provide those employees who can improve with the relevant feedback – privately, of course. A conversation like this isn’t always comfortable, but take pains to remain professional and lay out just the facts, nothing critical about the employees themselves.

In most situations one should begin with something positive. Next, after you’ve highlighted some of their strengths, you can clearly indicate the areas where you feel that they could improve. Explain concretely what you expect from your employees in the future. During this conversation, communicate it precisely and directly – there’s no sense in beating around the bush here. Just state – clearly – what needs to change, and steer the conversation toward possible solutions. This shows your employees that you appreciate and value them, in spite of their mistakes or shortcomings.

5. Should a manager be feared or loved?

The question isn’t about being loved by all of your employees – that’s unrealistic, and simply impossible. But what’s important is to have a trusting relationship with your employees, based on mutual respect. The bad-tempered and irritable boss isn’t just a stereotype in Hollywood movies. What kind of employee feels motivated when he’s being ordered all over the place, and humiliated for every small mistake?

Good senior managers know that a healthy work atmosphere has a hugely positive effect on their team, and consequently, on their work performance. For this reason, make an effort to build a good, respectful, professional relationship with your employees.

Now you’ve learned about the classic job interview questions for senior managers, and you can prepare yourself according. We wish you the best of luck as you take your next career step!

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