13 Behavioral Interview Questions for Managers

Behavioral interview questions for managers can help you quickly assess leadership traits, skills and knowledge in management candidates. To make the most of your time with each candidate, ask a mix of specific questions about their experience, knowledge, skills and behavior.

 

Behavioral leadership interview questions are especially important when assessing someone’s leadership potential, determining how they would add to your company culture and deciding if they’re the best candidate.  

 

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What are behavioral interview questions?

Behavioral leadership interview questions are questions designed to help you gain insight into a managerial candidate’s future job performance. While competency-based questions focus on a specific skill, and situational questions ask candidates to share how they would respond to a given scenario, behavioral interview questions ask managerial candidates about how they acted in the past.

 

These questions often start with, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…” to prompt the candidate to discuss how they handled various situations in the workplace.

 

Related: How to Conduct a Job Interview 

 

How behavioral interview questions for managers can help you find the right candidate

Managers have a tremendous impact on productivity, staff morale and corporate culture. Adding behavioral interview questions for managerial candidates can help you understand their management style, assess their leadership qualities and evaluate their potential within your organization.  

 

Answers to behavior-based questions can also provide you with valuable insight into how candidates have handled specific situations in the past. Questions about past behavior can help you understand each candidate’s process for making decisions and solving problems, which are some of the most important responsibilities of any manager. 

 

Related: 7 Manager Interview Questions and Answers 

 

13 examples of behavioral interview questions for managers and supervisors

Consider asking these behavioral questions during your next round of managerial interviews: 

 

1. Tell me about a time when you adapted to a big change at work

Adaptability and flexibility are essential skills for managers. Leaders often have to simultaneously support new staff, implement strategic plans, plan projects and respond to new and unforeseen challenges. This question can give you an idea of the candidate’s mindset when dealing with a dynamic, evolving workplace.

 

2. Describe a situation where you had to collaborate with someone who had a different working style

Effective managers need to be able to work well with all kinds of personalities and working styles. This behavioral interview question gives you insight into their strategies for promoting teamwork among employees who take opposing approaches to completing projects.

 

3. What’s an effective strategy that you’ve used to motivate others?

This key behavioral interview question for managerial candidates relates to their ability to motivate others. Asking interviewees to think about times when they motivated other people can help you understand how they would support positive organizational culture and teamwork.  

 

4. Talk about a time when you had a problem with an employee’s behavior. How did you resolve the issue?

Skilled leaders have strong conflict resolution skills. This behavioral interview question looks at how manager candidates resolve conflicts among workers, as well as between employees and management. How applicants approach interpersonal conflicts in the workplace can reveal a lot about their overall leadership style.

 

5. Give me an example of a time you made a mistake at work, and explain how you fixed the issue

The answer to this behavioral leadership interview question can help you learn how a candidate holds themselves accountable when they make mistakes. Individuals who take personal responsibility for the quality of their work and take steps to learn from their mistakes have the potential to be excellent leaders.  

 

6. Tell me about a time when your team had to meet a tight deadline. How did you ensure everyone completed their work on time?

Time management is a critical leadership skill. This question provides your candidate with the opportunity to discuss their time management skills and explain what strategies and techniques they use to ensure their team members meet deadlines.  

 

7. How do you make new employees feel included? 

Managers should know how to provide new hires with a warm welcome that includes an introduction to their teammates and a workplace orientation. The answer to this question can give you insight into how much each candidate values their team’s happiness and productivity. 

 

8. Talk about a time when you had to make a difficult choice in the workplace. How did you make your decision, and what was the outcome?

One of the top goals of manager behavioral interview questions is to gain insight into how each candidate makes challenging decisions. Inviting interviewees to discuss difficult choices they’ve had to make while working in a managerial capacity can reveal their thought process when facing challenging situations.  

 

9. Tell me about how you delegate tasks

Leadership involves breaking down large objectives into smaller tasks and designating those tasks to team members. Asking your candidate about their approach to assigning tasks to their workers can reveal a lot about the applicant’s ability to plan projects, manage resources and optimize the skills of each worker.

 

10. When have you had to convince others to view a situation from your perspective? Can you give an example of how you explained your point of view?

Managers are often responsible for enacting changes in company policies and procedures, so persuasiveness can be an extremely beneficial leadership trait. The response to this behavioral interview question can tell you how your interviewee approaches people who have different points of view than their own.  

 

11. Give me an example of how you mediated a conflict between your employees or colleagues

Conflict resolution skills are critical for managers. This question is designed to elicit real-world examples of how your candidate deals with disputes in the workplace. You might want to follow up on their answer by asking what steps they would take if they were unable to reach a resolution on their own. 

 

12. Tell me about a situation where you went above and beyond to improve your workplace

The best managers are those who have the drive it takes to seek out opportunities for improvement without prompting. Self-starters tend to look for ways to improve working conditions, employee retention, customer service and other metrics that impact the overall strength of a company. Where and how candidates choose to take initiative can give you an idea of how they would help grow your company. 

 

13. Talk about a time when you had to juggle several projects. How did you prioritize?

Time management is a critical skill among managers who are tasked with leading several different projects or employees at once. A candidate’s strategies for prioritizing can show you what they personally value in a workplace and reveal whether they can perform in a fast-paced business environment. 

 

FAQS about behavioral interview questions for managers

The answers to these frequently asked questions can provide you with more information about manager behavioral interview questions.

 

How should interviewees answer behavioral interview questions? 

While there’s no right or wrong way to answer manager behavioral interview questions, candidates should speak in the first person, which demonstrates that they take responsibility for their actions; talk about their past employees in a manner that’s professional, respectful and free of any bias or discriminatory language and provide clear, honest answers. During the interview, be aware of any nonverbal clues that can indicate whether the interviewee seems comfortable, or uncomfortable, answering behavioral questions. While it’s common for candidates to feel nervous during an interview, the right applicant will present as calm and confident when discussing past managerial experiences. 

 

What are the best answers for behavioral interview questions? 

Unlike competency questions, with behavioral interview questions, there are no right or wrong answers. The best answers to behavioral leadership interview questions are answers that help you gain valuable insight into how each candidate views their role as a manager. Pay close attention to how the candidate talks about their colleagues and workers, and look for applicants who present as professional, likable and motivated. 

 

How much time should you allow for each behavioral leadership interview question response? 

The amount of time you allow for each response depends largely on how many questions you plan on asking and the length of the interview. Ideally, you’ll want to give candidates enough time to provide a clear, comprehensive answer that’s not rushed. You should also factor in some time for follow-up questions or clarification, especially if you’re using an interview panel consisting of two or more interviewers.

 

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