49 Senior Manager Interview Questions (Plus Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 June 2022

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.

Whether you're moving into a senior management role for the first time or finding a new job as a high-level professional in your field, pursuing a new role can be an exciting time in your career. One way to prepare for this potential change is to review interview questions managers often ask candidates to evaluate their qualifications. Reading interview questions can help you practise your own responses and feel confident when meeting with an interviewer. In this article, we list 49 common senior manager interview questions and share four example answers you can use to help you prepare.

General senior manager interview questions

Interviewers often begin by asking general senior manager interview questions that allow them to get to know you personally and professionally. Here are 15 general questions a hiring manager may ask you:

  1. Can you give me a brief summary of your resume?

  2. What motivated you to apply for this position?

  3. What do you know about this company?

  4. What do you like to do when you're not working?

  5. What are some of your greatest professional strengths?

  6. What is one area in which you want to improve professionally?

  7. How would you describe your ideal company culture?

  8. How would you describe your ideal supervisor?

  9. Do you prefer communicating by phone, email or in person?

  10. Do you prefer managing large or small teams?

  11. What's your greatest career achievement?

  12. What's your ultimate career goal?

  13. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  14. What made you decide to leave your most recent position?

  15. Do you have any questions for me?

Related: What to Do Before an Interview to Help You Prepare (9 Tips)

Questions about experience and background

A hiring manager may ask you questions about your professional background and educational credentials to learn about your qualifications. Here are 15 questions an interviewer may ask you about your experience:

  1. Do you have experience managing a remote team?

  2. How do you ensure you maintain a good work-life balance?

  3. What do you think are the most essential traits of an effective manager?

  4. How would you describe your decision-making process?

  5. What types of management software do you have experience using?

  6. Do you have experience hiring professionals for positions on your teams?

  7. Do you have any professional certifications or licenses that may help you in this role?

  8. How would you describe your relationship with your most recent team?

  9. What types of continuing education or training programmes have you completed?

  10. How do you stay updated on trends and issues in your field?

  11. What do you find most rewarding about being a manager?

  12. What do you find most challenging about being a manager?

  13. How do you give your team members praise for a job well done?

  14. Do you encourage your team members to collaborate or work independently?

  15. What management style do you prefer?

Related: 19 Types of Common Interviews and How to Prepare for Each

In-depth questions

Hiring managers often end the interview by asking challenging or role-specific questions to determine what makes you different from other candidates. Here are 15 common in-depth interview questions:

  1. If you could identify one thing you want employees to learn from you, what would it be and why?

  2. Do you prefer to manage through close observation or by encouraging autonomy? Why?

  3. What steps do you take to resolve issues with or between team members?

  4. In what ways have you developed as a manager over the past three years?

  5. Can you tell me about a time you had to terminate a team member's employment and how you addressed it?

  6. Can you describe a time you had to make an unpopular decision and what the outcome was?

  7. How do you encourage open communication among your team?

  8. What are the steps you take to help underperforming team members improve?

  9. What are some methods you use to evaluate employee performance?

  10. How do you decide on a salary to offer a new team member?

  11. What considerations do you make when determining whether to give a team member a salary increase?

  12. Can you tell me about a situation as a manager that challenged your ethics and how you addressed it?

  13. What qualities help you to be effective as a manager?

  14. Do you think it's more important to hire experienced professionals or help current team members grow?

  15. Can you tell me about a time you worked alongside your team to solve a problem?

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

Interview questions with example answers

Here are four interview questions a hiring manager may ask you with example answers you can use to help you prepare your own responses:

1. Can you tell us about a time when you initiated a change? Explain your process and why the change was necessary.

Your answer to this question shows your willingness to both accept and introduce change, which may be necessary for improving a team. Choose one situation from your previous experience to focus on and explain how you were able to create a vision and move the company towards that goal. Show how you, as a senior manager, can express your ideas and persuade others to adopt that same focus with your examples.

Example: "When I was the branch manager for our Singapore office, I noticed the company was allocating resources to outdated marketing practices that showed no clear ROI. To get buy-in from our team, I took the marketing managers to a digital media seminar focused on the current best practices. We spent the next week brainstorming new strategies for our company's online presence. With input from the managers, I reorganised our marketing team and hired two digital marketing specialists to help grow our brand online."

Related: 11 Managing Change Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)

2. If you recognised a new business opportunity for the company, how might you develop new resources or teams to fill this need?

When a potential employer asks this question, they want to find out if you understand what affects business performance growth on a senior management level. First, explain how you recognise growth opportunities. Then, share how you might add additional dimensions to the company by increasing the capabilities of what employees and production systems can do. Finally, prove that you can work with peers and build up new leaders within the company to achieve this vision.

Example: "To recognise a new business opportunity, it's important for me to understand the company's current productivity and capabilities. As a senior manager, I'd prioritise learning about these aspects of the company so I could determine new business opportunities. Once I have an idea in mind, I'd explore our internal resources to see if we have the talent we need to grow. Then, I'd consider attracting qualified talent externally, primarily through the company network. Current professionals and company connections can also help me identify and pursue new initiatives that could benefit the organisation."

3. How have you mentored an employee to help them achieve their goals in the workplace?

Employers ask this question to see how you use your leadership capabilities to encourage others in their improvement. When you discuss this mentoring experience, share how the professional you mentored transitioned from one set of habits to another or how they met a specific goal with your help. Emphasise how you guided them with your expertise and respect for the relationship.

Example: "I had the opportunity to mentor a new assistant manager in my previous position. My coworker was interested in management opportunities and was studying for an MBA. Since I had recently earned my MBA, he asked if I would mentor him through the process, both for his studies and for the new position at work. I was happy to do it.

We met every week for coffee and discussed coursework, projects and ways to use what we'd learned for the company. I attended his graduation last summer. If I'm hired for this position, he's planning on interviewing to take my place there."

Related: How to Find a Mentor (And the Benefits of Having One)

4. If you're hired, what are your plans for the company in the next five years?

This question lets prospective employers see how you set and plan goals for a company. Before the interview, research the business and make a plan with two or three big ideas for growth based on what you've learned. Share your strategy for increasing company performance both internally and externally.

Example: "I've seen that the company is performing well in stock projections for the next three years. We need to continue to deliver consistent performance for our stakeholders by strengthening the reach of our international brand opportunities. I also plan to increase our domestic market growth by 3% using a new software rollout that updates our current operating systems. I believe we can also offer a new healthcare option to employees using a percentage of that growth."

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