How to Nail A Management Job Interview


Any management job interview can be stressful, and the further up the management ladder you get, the more stress you are likely to feel. However this can be managed and almost eliminated in the preparation has been thorough. Put in the work in advance and you will feel the benefits on the day.

Here we look at ways in which you can reduce your stress levels, prepare fully for the interview and put strategies in place to achieve your dream job. Confidence is all important but overconfidence can come across as arrogance. It’s all about balance. Be prepared and be successful.

Best Preparation for A Management Job Interview

The obvious preparation of course is your suitability for the job. However even if you have all the qualifications and experience to do the job, you still need to portray that in your interview. Whilst any interviewer will focus mainly on your leadership skills and experience, there is no doubt that they will also enquire about your background and qualifications. In addition, they will pick up on your communication skills in the interview.

In preparing for your management job interview, you need to think of specific examples in your working history that will support your replies to questions. Compile examples where you have resolved conflicts, with names and other details to add weight to your replies. Recall details of when your leadership skills have been called into action; this will demonstrate you leadership qualities in a real and tangible manner.

Do you research about the company that is interviewing you. This is where RGF can actively assist you. Talk to one of our experts and gain real insight into what the company is looking for. Once you fully understand their requirements, you can make sure that your examples are tailored to suit them.

On the day of the interview, get yourself into a positive frame of mind. You want this job, make sure that your desire comes across in the management job interview. Enthusiasm on the day is important, make sure that the interviewer feels your enthusiasm for the job.

What are Top Executives Looking for in a Candidate?

When a top executive is undertaking a management job interview, they will adopt a very different approach to that when holding an entry level interview. They will already know by your experience that you have risen about entry level so the interview will focus on certain areas where you need to shine.

Making Decisions Quickly and Competently

They will want you to explain how you deal with problems such as an employee being frequently late or dealing in an inappropriate manner with a client. You need to demonstrate that you can handle these issues quickly and competently whilst  putting the company first. Any conflict resolution has consequences, they will want to feel confident that you can minimise these. At the same time you need to act quickly in order to avoid a bad situation getting worse.

Motivating Your Team

Any great office thrives on teamwork. Think of any truly great sports team, there is always a great captain out there. No matter how good the CEO is the office needs to thrive in his or her absence. You are the boss, but you need a good captain and a good team in order to truly reach the office potential. Your ability to get the whole office on message needs to shine through in your management job interview.

Delegating is a Real Skill

So many people are afraid to delegate. There is an innate fear that allowing those working under you to take control somehow lessons your effectiveness. The opposite is true. Really good leaders know instinctively when to take their hands off the wheel and allow under managers to take control. Delegating raises moral and motivates staff members.

Individual Excellence Needs to be Rewarded

Explain how you will learn about your team members’ needs and desires as they also progress in their careers. Never be afraid of helping a staff member improve their own job opportunities within the company. You need to be confident that you will remain in charge, but everyone under you needs to grow. This can only happen in the right environment.

The Importance of Communication Skills

You could be the greatest ideas person on the planet, but if you cannot communicate your ideas effectively to your team, it is pointless. In any management job interview you will need to fully demonstrate your ability in this area. You need to explain how you will be direct and honest when dealing with issues. At the same time this has to be delivered in a non threatening way.

Likely Management Job Interview Questions and Answers

In answering this it’s a good idea to look at successful business leaders and examine what their favourite go to questions are. Richard Branson explains in his book “The Virgin Way” that he is not a big fan of resumés. He explains that if a candidate has put everything about themselves in their resumé then the interview becomes unnecessary. So he always asks what did you leave out of the resumé that you wished you had included. It is worth keeping something positive back from your CV to use at a later date. Keep your powder dry!

Be prepared for something coming completely out of left field. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappo has an unusual technique. He will ask things like “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?” Here the number is not crucial, it’s all about balance. Answer One and you will come across as straight laced, answer 10 and you’ll appear off the scale.

Hannah Paramore CEO of Paramore an ad agency in Nashville likes to ask how old you were when you had your first paying job. She feels that if candidates started working whilst in college it shows a strong drive and work ethic.

What all this is alluding to is that there is a kind of collective psyche among people conducting a management job interview. The questions are often a way of looking at your personality rather than simply assessing your credentials. Most of these types of questions can be second guessed. With the “when did you first start working” question, it is clear that Paramore is not looking for you to say at age 27. It should be obvious that earlier is better here.

It is important that you expect this type of question and think carefully as you answer. Sometimes the question is meant to throw you slightly so they can see how you deal with it. Keep calm and answer confidently.

Don’t be Afraid to throw a Question Back at Your Interviewer

By asking questions of your interviewer you are demonstrating confidence and an ability to question, both very positive characteristics. Enquire about the history of the role for which you are applying. Is this a new position or if not what did the previous manager bring to the role. Ask what they are hoping for you to achieve within the first 3, 6, or 12 months. Ask for specifics about the role; what does it bring to the company? How does it fit in with other departments? for example. You need to know the working hours and overtime expectations. It is also important to talk about technology, ask them exactly which technologies you will be expected to work with. All this allows you to take a certain amount of control in the management job interview.

It is also worth broaching the subject of remote working, for example. If you live in an area where bad weather is a fact of life, there will be times when you will be better working from home. It is also perfectly fine to ask when the new job starts, should you be successful. It is pointless going through all the stress of a management job interview if the commencement date is not suited to your needs.


The golden rule of preparing for a management job interview is simply that; prepare, prepare, prepare. Do your homework, learn about the company and the role, prepare your questions for them and arrive feeling positive and confident.

Never be afraid to ask questions and always be inquisitive and authoritative in your responses. By the time you are in a position of attending a management job interview you should have the experience behind you and the confidence to portray it. The rest is down to preparation.