Interview Questions – How would you describe your management style?
As mentioned in previous articles, success in an interview requires careful preparation. You must anticipate questions that will be asked; prepare concise answers, have examples to support your responses and hone your delivery style.
In this article we will focus on management skills and investigate what an interviewer is looking for when they ask you to describe your management style.
This is becoming a fairly standard question in interviews. Those going for management roles fully expect to be probed on their leadership skills, but regardless of your level in an organisation or the role you applied for, employers are keen to spot candidates with potential to advance and assume managerial positions.
Qualities Sought by an Employer
When preparing for any question, it is always worthwhile pausing to reflect on what an employer is actually looking for. In this instance, they will be assessing your ability to perform the following:
- motivate and develop a team,
- delegate effectively
- maximise team productivity
- manage poor performance
There is no “right” answer here. Management styles vary depending on the situation involved. For example, an experienced member of staff will be managed very differently to a trainee; management styles in an expanding economy may also be quite different to those required in a contracting economy.
What if I am lacking in management experience?
If you have limited management experience you should be honest and state this. You should, however, draw on the relevant experience you do have and demonstrate how these skills are transferable to a larger team environment. Graduates for example, who may have limited work experience, should draw on management skills gained in the sports arena (e.g. if they have captained a hockey, soccer team) to demonstrate their future potential.
Citing examples always strengthens an answer and makes the interview much more personal and engaging. An effective way to illustrate your ability is to refer to a situation where you needed to manage an underperforming member of staff. After all, it is easy to manage good people, but your true management skills only shine when you are challenged. Choose your example carefully………….you want to put your best foot forward!
When giving an example, you should structure your answer carefully.
- Describe the situation: set the background, specify how the employee was under performing and the impact this was having on the team etc.
- Describe the action you took: recount how you approached the employee, what you said and what their reaction was etc.
- Describe the result: detail the outcome and how the employee’s performance improved and if the situation arose again etc.
Benefits of Interview Coaching
To attain the maximum impact in an interview, questions should be well rehearsed. A professional interview coaching session enables you to practise your responses in a safe environment and benefit from the feedback and expertise of a seasoned recruiter. Objective, professional advice before an interview helps build confidence and leads to a winning interview performance.
About the Author
Laura McGrath is the owner of Interview Techniques, a leading provider of interview coaching services. She has spent the last 20 years in staffing and recruitment and is a regular contributor with Irish Jobs, Recruit Ireland and the Sunday Business Post.