9 Insightful and Powerful Behavioral Interview Questions for Managers

9 Insightful and Powerful Behavioral Interview Questions for Managers

The behavioral interview questions for managers that you select will help you assess a candidate’s leadership skills and other applicable traits. These questions should be challenging but fair and offer insight into how a candidate has handled real managerial scenarios in the past.

Look for answers that are thorough and rooted in anecdotes. Concrete evidence and the outcomes produced due to a candidate’s actions are the most insightful.

First: What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?

There are three broad categories of interview questions:

  1. Competency interview questions: focus is on a specific skill
  2. Situational interview questions: how does a candidate respond to a specific scenario?
  3. Behavioral interview questions: how has a candidate acted in a specific situation in the past?

Behavioral interview questions (for managers and others) typically start with prompts such as, “tell me about a time when…” or “what do you do when…”. These questions seek to understand a candidate’s approaches in the past when faced with genuine scenarios.

Question 1: How do you effectively motivate others?

Your list of behavioral interview questions for managers should include a question about motivating others. It’s up to managers to keep their team on track and excited. Doing so means the team completes their work at a high level.

Considering only 15% of employees feel engaged at work, and teams with high levels of engagement see 21% higher profitability, you want to hire managers who can successfully excite their team.

Question 2: Tell me about a time you took issue with an employee’s behavior. What did you do?

The best leaders are excellent at conflict resolution. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes a manager’s teammates will take actions the manager disagrees with. 

Stick this on your list of behavioral interview questions for managers and look for someone fair but firm. How does this candidate approach interpersonal conflicts at work? 

Question 3: Describe a time you failed. What was your response?

Everybody fails. What matters more is how someone handles that failure based on the feedback they receive. The candidate’s response should include what they took away from their failure, how they prevented it from happening again, and honest ownership of their mistakes.

Red flag answers include someone who says they’ve never failed. Failure literally changes neural and synaptic pathways in your brain to make you more efficient; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Candidates should respond honestly and show how they learned from their mistakes.

Question 4: Tell me about a time you successfully persuaded others to agree with you at work. What was the outcome?

Leaders are responsible for making decisions. On your list of behavioral interview questions for managers should be one that touches on persuasion. How does this candidate convince others of their point of view?

Look for a particular scenario that the candidate can describe. What approach did they use to convince others? What hurdles were there? What was the outcome?

Related: 14 Unique Interview Questions to Ask Your New Hire

Question 5: Describe an instance where you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague. What lessons did you learn?

Since emotional intelligence is the backbone of being a leader, your list of behavioral interview questions for managers should touch on colleague relations. We sometimes regret how we’ve handled things with a coworker; ask the candidate about this and pay attention to what they learned.

You can gain insight into someone’s interpersonal skills by asking how their communication style has evolved through unsuccessful interactions.

Question 6: Was there ever a time you needed information from someone who wasn’t communicative? What did you do?

Any manager will face challenges when leading a diverse team of people. It’s very possible that some of their employees won’t be as communicative as the manager would like. How does the candidate use their leadership and communication skills to address someone who doesn’t respond?

A manager’s ability to communicate with someone who struggles in that department is insightful. If they can successfully communicate with this type of person, it’s a testament to their overall skills. If you’re looking for tough interview questions for managers, add this to your list.

Question 7: Describe a time when you collaborated with someone who had a different working style.

On any given team, you’ll find a plethora of working preferences and styles. One of the most essential behavioral interview questions for managers includes how candidates collaborate with these various approaches.

To be a successful manager, the candidate should demonstrate an ability to work cohesively with various working styles. What makes their approach successful?

Question 8: Tell me about a time when your team had a tight deadline. What did you do to ensure on-time completion?

Tight deadlines are unpleasant for many, but they’re also inevitable. How a candidate handles these situations and what they do to ensure their team succeeds is an insight into their managerial capabilities. 

Time management should be second nature to any managerial candidate; assess this skill and the techniques a candidate uses to help their team meet deadlines.

Question 9: How do you delegate tasks?

Your final list of behavioral interview questions for managers should include how the candidate handles task delegation. Leaders need to effectively break down large tasks into smaller ones and assign those to team members. How does the candidate decide all this? What do they assess in their team members, and how do they set everyone up for success?

Need Help Finding the Best Senior Managers?

We hope these 9 questions help you give successful managerial interviews, or even simply bolster your current list of questions. But even the strongest behavioral interview questions for managers won’t be enough if you’re unsatisfied with your candidate pool. 

Jennings Executive would love to help you find the best upper-level managers for your company. We have over two decades of combined experience matching senior leaders with various businesses. Learn more today!

Related: 6 Winning Tips for Attracting and Retaining Talented Employees During America’s Labor Shortage

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