Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Question 1: What strategies do you use to motivate a team?

[SITUATION] In roles at _______ and ________ I have been responsible for managing teams. [TASK] Motivation has been a key issue when demand has peaked and insufficient resource has been a factor. As team leader I had to maintain motivation within the team to ensure delivery didn’t suffer. [ACTION] My approach to motivation depends on the context the team are operating in and individual values and behaviours. I seek to appeal to individual motivations and play to these. For example, for those focused on developing their career I will identify opportunity to gain new skills and take on additional responsibilities. [RESULT] Where motivation techniques are targeted to individual values they are infinitely more effective. I have had excellent success at motivating teams through very difficult circumstances.

Question 2: What would you do if an employee was under-performing?

[SITUATION] As Manager at __________ and __________ I have dealt with employee under-performance in the past. [TASK] My role was to understand any barriers to high performance, ensure clarity of role, set appropriate performance objectives and ensure performance was managed. [ACTION] I would do this firstly through 121s with the individual. Should this fail to bring an improvement then more formal performance management processes may be required. [RESULT] Where I have had issues with under-performance I have managed to effect and increase through the above methods and my coaching management style.

Question 3: Describe a time when you led by example

[SITUATION] This occurred when I was working on ________ project. [TASK] I was responsible for leading a team in the delivery of ________. This was a very challenging situation as resources were limited and motivation was suffering. [ACTION] I led by example by getting involved in delivery, working alongside the team. I maintained high energy, positivity and hard work. I was the first in and last out. The team respected this determination and mirrored it. I made sure everyone recognised their achievements and the scale of work undertaken. [RESULT] The team delivered and did so positively with pride for their achievement.

Question 4: What’s your management style?

[SITUATION] I have had responsibility for managing teams in various roles, namely _______ and ________. [TASK] To me, a manager is responsible for motivating a team, giving clear advice, setting the team’s direction and supporting team members. [ACTION] I undertake to do all of this and use a variety of methods, including performance management, 121s, open door approaches and coaching. [RESULT] I have always had good success with team management and felt I have got the best from them. Different people require different management styles depending on their motivations, values and beliefs and I adopt accordingly with great results.

Question 5: Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult employee

[SITUATION] Whilst informal responses have tended to prevent situations from escalating, in my ______ role, I did have a difficult employee who would pick up the full responsibilities of their role. [TASK] My challenge was to ensure they fully understood the role, the purpose of the activities, identify any barriers and resolve with the employee. [ACTION] To do so I met with the employee on multiple occasions, relayed my concerns, discussed their responsibilities and agreed clear objectives and methods for monitoring with them. [RESULT] It transpired that it was more of a confidence issues which, with coaching, improved the situation and led to better performance and a more engaged team member.

Question 6: What strategies do you use to manage a team?

[SITUATION] I have had responsibility for managing teams in various roles, namely _______ and ________. [TASK] My main strategies are based around recognising colleagues’ achievements, giving consistent feedback, and providing context for their work. [ACTION] The ones I utilise most depends on the employee. For example, those who are most goal orientated tend to respond best to understanding the impact of their work, and colleagues that are under-performing are best motivated when given set areas to work on and improve. [RESULT] By considering individual beliefs and values and adapting my management strategy accordingly, I have improved team performance and, as a result, business results. By altering strategies, I have also improved individual team member performance.

Answering Manager Interview Questions and Answers – Standouty’s STAR Methodology

All of our Manager Interview Questions and Answers are based on the STAR method. This is recognised across the industry as the BEST method for answering interview questions. If used well the panel will be unaware of its use but consider your answer to be well constructed, methodical and just plain AMAZING.

The STAR Technique involves constructing your answer in the following way:


Set the context of your answer. Tell the panel, where, when and why this situation came to be. For example, “Whilst working in my current role, we were holding an event in which 100 plus people were due to attend any minute. That’s when I was notified the caterers weren’t able to make it.”


What did you have to do. For example, “I had to organise alternative caterers and without the guests knowing. The failure of the event would have been a disaster for the company.”


What did you actually do. For example, “I spoke to the venue owner and we identified other caterers who may be able to help at short notice. I contacted all of them and identified one who could cater the event albeit one hour later than planned.”


How did the situation play out. For example, “Catering was provided in line with guest expectations. The evening, after this initial hiccup, went seamlessly. I was congratulated by the senior managers for sorting out what could have been a catastrophe.”

Constructing your answers in this way will ensure you fully address the question / scenario given and the criteria the panel are measuring you against.

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