60 Questions When Interviewing for Supervisor Positions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When interviewing for supervisory positions, you may encounter specific leadership interview questions you wouldn't otherwise experience when applying for other jobs. Understanding the kinds of questions a hiring manager may ask can help you better prepare for an interview. It may also give you a chance to review your skills and most important accomplishments to share and increase your chances of getting the job. In this article, we review 60 interview questions for supervisors and give sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

General questions for interviewing for supervisor roles

When interviewing for supervisor roles, here are some general questions an interviewer might ask you:

  1. How would you manage a project?

  2. How well do you deal with conflict?

  3. How good are you at your job?

  4. What type of responsibilities do you have now and what was your involvement in this position?

  5. Why should we hire you for this position?

  6. What do you like about your current position?

  7. What is your philosophy for managing people?

  8. How did you handle a difficult situation in your last job?

  9. What kind of decisions did you make?

  10. What are some skills needed in this position?

  11. Are you willing to help with the duties of other positions when needed?

  12. How much experience do you have in this area?

  13. What kind of goals do you have for this job?

  14. What types of people do you like to work with?

  15. What do you know about our company?

  16. What is your experience with a customer base like a grocery store, hardware store, bank, etc.?

  17. Do you have a background in this function or industry?

  18. What are the job responsibilities of the position you are applying for?

  19. Do you have any professional affiliations?

  20. What is your salary range?

  21. What is your availability?

  22. Would it be okay to have a reference or references to contact regarding the position you are applying for?

  23. What have you done to improve your skills over the past two years?

  24. Have you ever had an employee undergo a promotional program within 2 years that boosted their pay, tools, or training?

Related: What is a Panel Interview? (With Tips and Example Questions)

Interview questions about a supervisor's experience and background

Some interview questions about your experience and background may include:

  1. What experience do you have as a supervisor?

  2. Explain some of your leadership strategies?

  3. How many people have you directly or indirectly managed?

  4. What is your philosophy on employee evaluations?

  5. What type of sales, sales quotas, and/or sales goals do you set for each person who reports to you?

  6. How would you supervise a manager that reports to you?

  7. How many departments do you supervise now and how did these departments get placed under your supervision?

  8. What is your philosophy for giving bonuses?

  9. How would you handle a person who did not perform according to standards?

  10. How do you motivate employees?

  11. Have you ever been the leader of a group project or team project?

  12. What do you know about our company culture and environment?

  13. How many people do you directly supervise and what departments are they in?

  14. How would you handle a person who was not meeting the standards of the organisation?

  15. How do you handle situations where there is conflict or disagreement with an employee?

  16. How often do you rotate team members within your department?

  17. What are some of your compensation plans, principles, and policies?

  18. What training programmes have you participated in to enhance your skills and abilities as an employee or supervisor that you could provide for new employees or other supervisors that report to you?

  19. Do you have any professional affiliations which may benefit the position that you are applying for?

  20. How do you deal with layoffs?

  21. What are some projects that you worked on that you're proud of?

  22. How would you handle a situation where an employee is doing everything right, but they are still having problems with customer complaints, work quality, quantity, sales, etc.?

In-depth interview questions for supervisors

Some in-depth interview questions for supervisors may include:

  1. What are your strengths?

  2. What can you do for us that others cannot do?

  3. What are the qualities of a good supervisor?

  4. What do you like about the job that you currently have?

  5. What does supervision involve?

  6. What is your philosophy concerning time management and how do you achieve it?

  7. Do you have any questions about the job or our requirements for this position?

  8. Why are you ready to make this move?

  9. What position would you like to see yourself in five years from now?

  10. What are some of the complex problems that you have encountered, witnessed, or had to deal with?

Related: What Does a Supervisor Do? (Plus Top Skills and Responsibilities)

Interview questions for supervisors with sample answers

Use these sample interview questions and answers to help you understand a hiring manager's reasoning behind asking for certain information and how you can prepare to share the most important information with them:

1. Have you hired an employee?

If the supervisory role for which you're interviewing requires participation in the hiring process for other employees, hiring managers may want to know if you've had this responsibility before. They could look to see if you know how to vet a potential candidate or how to build a cohesive team. When answering this question, be honest about your experience on the management side of the hiring process. Share your steps for choosing candidates and inviting them to interviews.

Example: "In my current role, I've worked with the human resources team to hire three new account managers. I first like to hold a phone interview with each prospective candidate to share more about the company culture and the job position. Then, I conduct a second in-person interview to learn more about the candidate's skills."

2. What is one of the most important decisions you've made as a supervisor?

Hiring managers may ask this question to discover how comfortable you're making decisions for your team without direct orders from owners or someone else above you in the management hierarchy. How you answer can confirm that you've had previous decision-making responsibilities and that you're confident in your process. When answering this question, think about a specific situation where you had to make the ultimate choice on a project or initiative. Share the factors that guided your decision and the overall outcome.

Example: "In my last position as a marketing manager, my team spent a lot of time researching and creating content for a new vegan restaurant campaign. After rollout, the client told us they learned some of their offerings weren't vegan at all. I had to decide how to handle changing the content that we'd already published and how to address the retraction. I ultimately addressed the issue directly on the client's social media channels and website, and we created updated content with source lists and links to preserve customer trust."

Related: Supervisor vs. Manager: What's the Difference?

3. How would your direct reports describe your supervision style?

Hiring managers may ask this type of question to encourage you to look at your supervisory actions from your team members' points of view. It may also help them decide if you're a good culture fit within the new organisation. How you answer this question can show that you're self-aware and that you ask for feedback and constructive criticism from your team members.

Example: "Based on the feedback I've received through performance reviews, my team thinks I'm supportive, with high but realistic expectations. I encourage everyone to try their best and challenge themselves in a way that makes them feel successful. I hold weekly team meetings to get progress updates and learn about the challenges they're facing. I also encourage team members to contact me individually to talk about personal issues, set goals or discuss ways they can feel more comfortable in their work environment."

Related: How to Be a Good Supervisor (With Steps and Tips)

4. Has your supervision style changed over time?

This question can help hiring managers see if you respond to the needs of your team members and make changes based on their feedback. When answering, consider the type of evolution you've gone through to provide the best possible guidance to your team members. Use specific examples of your previous and current methods to demonstrate the changes you've made.

Example: "Originally, I held monthly team meetings but found we weren't addressing challenges quickly enough. We now have more frequent, shorter weekly meetings to discuss the most necessary and important topics. I also used to have set visiting hours where employees could show up without an appointment and talk privately about any aspect of their job. I found those hours didn't work with everyone's schedule and sometimes those who didn't need to talk felt obligated to attend. I changed the policy in favour of as-needed individually scheduled appointments."

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