Friday, November 30, 2007

Management interview questions

Disclaimer: I found these questions from different websites & compiled them together. I am not responsible for any mistakes!


You never know what you will be asked on an interview. The following management interview question list will help you prepare. You need to be able to answer all questions truthfully and professionally. Here are the tough interview questions and answers:


Q. Why are you considering leaving your present job?

A. Regardless of the reason, do not bad mouth your current employer. Negativism will always hurt you. Good answers include: “There is no room for growth at my current employer. I am looking for a company with long term growth opportunities”. “Due to a company restructuring, my entire department is relocating to Florida. I was give the option of moving, but do not wish to relocate”. “My current company is not doing well, and has been laying off employees. There is no job security there, and more layoffs are expected”.


Q. What are your goals for the future?

A. “My long term goals are to find a company where I can grow, continue to learn, take on increasing responsibilities, and be a positive contributor”.


Q. How do you handle stress and pressure?

A. “I find that I work better under pressure, and I enjoy working in an environment that is challenging.” “I am the type of person that diffuses stress. I am used to working in a demanding environment with deadlines, and enjoy the challenges.”


Q. What do you know about our company?

A. This question is used to see if you have prepared for the interview. Candidates that have researched the company are more appealing. Companies like prepared, organized candidates.


Q. We have met several candidates. Why are you the one we should hire?

A. Give definite examples of your skills and accomplishments. Be positive, and emphasize how your background matches the job description.


Q. What are your greatest strengths?

A. Be positive and honest. “My greatest strength is maximizing the efficiency of my staff. I have successfully lead numerous teams on difficult projects. I have an excellent ability to identify and maximize each of my staffs strengths.” Give examples.


Q. Tell me about your greatest weakness?

A. It is very important to give a strength that compensates for your weakness. Make your weakness into a positive. “I consider myself a 'big picture' person. I sometimes skip the small details. For this reason, I always have someone on my team that is very detail oriented.” Another good answer: “Sometimes, I get so excited and caught up in my work that I forget that my family life should be my number one priority.”


Hopefully these interview questions and answers will help you. It is important to customize the answers for your specific background and experience.


/************************************************************/

Another set of Management Interview Questions

1. Please tell us about yourself.

Briefly and lucidly cover the facts relating to your life – your early background, education, work experience and last job.


2. What do you know about our organization?


You answer could include information about the promoters, products or services, sales figures, profits, share prices, recent news, history and business philosophy or reputation.


3. Why do you want to work for us?


Find the best fit between your career goals and the organizational goals. Substantiate both by some research.


4. What makes you so special? Why should we hire you?


Because you are the best person for the job. Skills, attitude, results, past experience, dreams and ambitions – all point to that. If you can identify any particular work situation that you can handle best with respect to this organization, spell it out.


5. What do you look for in a job?


Growth, challenge, opportunity, satisfaction, desire to excel.


6. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our firm?


Use your experience and your expertise to answer this one realistically.


7. What is your management style?


Temper your answer with the knowledge of the company’s management style. After all you would have to fit into this environment.


8. Do you have the potential to take upon the responsibility of top managerial positions?


Of course! But cite examples. Speak of your experiences and leadership qualities and how they would stand you in good stead at the top.


9. What is the most challenging thing about being a manager?


Making the best use of available resources to meet or exceed targets is the most challenging thing about being a manager.


10. What trends do you see in our industry?


With some good preparation you can answer this question easily. The key is to be prepared of course.


11. Why are you leaving your current/last job?


Maintain the highest level of professionalism while answering this type manager interview questions. The job may not have been challenging enough, you may have wanted better growth prospects, the fit between your career goals and the organization goals was not right or whatever else. Don’t speak down on the organization or the people. Such talk only reflects on you.


12. What is the salary that you expect?


Spell out a range. But seriously, before the interview, do your research on the kind of a salary you could expect and then stick to a range you are comfortable with.


13. What are your long-term goals?


Have them ready with you. But spell out those that are aligned to the organization’s long-term interests in hiring you.


14. What action would you take if you joined the company?


Prepare for this manager interview question on a tactical and strategic level. Time frames and results.


15. How do you motivate employees? How do you reward employees? How do you fire employees?


Think of your best experiences either as a boss or as a subordinate to answer these questions.


/************************************************************/

The 25 most difficult questions you'll be asked on a job interview

Being prepared is half the battle.

If you are one of those executive types unhappy at your present post and embarking on a New Year's resolution to find a new one, here's a helping hand. The job interview is considered to be the most critical aspect of every expedition that brings you face-to- face with the future boss. One must prepare for it with the same tenacity and quickness as one does for a fencing tournament or a chess match.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Since this is often the opening question in an interview, be extra careful that you don't run off at the mouth. Keep your answer to a minute or two at most. Cover four topics: early years, education, work history, and recent career experience. Emphasize this last subject. Remember that this is likely to be a warm-up question. Don't waste your best points on it.

2. What do you know about our organization?

You should be able to discuss products or services, revenues, reputation, image, goals, problems, management style, people, history and philosophy. But don't act as if you know everything about the place. Let your answer show that you have taken the time to do some research, but don't overwhelm the interviewer, and make it clear that you wish to learn more.

You might start your answer in this manner: "In my job search, I've investigated a number of companies.

Yours is one of the few that interests me, for these reasons..."

Give your answer a positive tone. Don't say, "Well, everyone tells me that you're in all sorts of trouble, and that's why I'm here", even if that is why you're there.

3. Why do you want to work for us?

The deadliest answer you can give is "Because I like people." What else would you like-animals?

Here, and throughout the interview, a good answer comes from having done your homework so that you can speak in terms of the company's needs. You might say that your research has shown that the company is doing things you would like to be involved with, and that it's doing them in ways that greatly interest you. For example, if the organization is known for strong management, your answer should mention that fact and show that you would like to be a part of that team. If the company places a great deal of emphasis on research and development, emphasize the fact that you want to create new things and that you know this is a place in which such activity is encouraged. If the organization stresses financial controls, your answer should mention a reverence for numbers.

If you feel that you have to concoct an answer to this question - if, for example, the company stresses research, and you feel that you should mention it even though it really doesn't interest you- then you probably should not be taking that interview, because you probably shouldn't be considering a job with that organization.

Your homework should include learning enough about the company to avoid approaching places where you wouldn't be able -or wouldn't want- to function. Since most of us are poor liars, it's difficult to con anyone in an interview. But even if you should succeed at it, your prize is a job you don't really want.

4. What can you do for us that someone else can't?

Here you have every right, and perhaps an obligation, to toot your own horn and be a bit egotistical. Talk about your record of getting things done, and mention specifics from your resume or list of career accomplishments. Say that your skills and interests, combined with this history of getting results, make you valuable. Mention your ability to set priorities, identify problems, and use your experience and energy to solve them.

5. What do you find most attractive about this position? What seems least attractive about it?

List three or four attractive factors of the job, and mention a single, minor, unattractive item.

6. Why should we hire you?

Create your answer by thinking in terms of your ability, your experience, and your energy. (See question 4.)

7. What do you look for in a job?

Keep your answer oriented to opportunities at this organization. Talk about your desire to perform and be recognized for your contributions. Make your answer oriented toward opportunity rather than personal security.

8. Please give me your defintion of [the position for which you are being interviewed].

Keep your answer brief and taskoriented. Think in in terms of responsibilities and accountability. Make sure that you really do understand what the position involves before you attempt an answer. If you are not certain. ask the interviewer; he or she may answer the question for you.

9. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our firm?

Be realistic. Say that, while you would expect to meet pressing demands and pull your own weight from the first day, it might take six months to a year before you could expect to know the organization and its needs well enough to make a major contribution.

10. How long would you stay with us?

Say that you are interested in a career with the organization, but admit that you would have to continue to feel challenged to remain with any organization. Think in terms of, "As long as we both feel achievement-oriented."

11. Your resume suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position. What's Your opinion?

Emphasize your interest in establishing a long-term association with the organization, and say that you assume that if you perform well in his job, new opportunities will open up for you. Mention that a strong company needs a strong staff. Observe that experienced executives are always at a premium. Suggest that since you are so wellqualified, the employer will get a fast return on his investment. Say that a growing, energetic company can never have too much talent.

12. What is your management style?

You should know enough about the company's style to know that your management style will complement it. Possible styles include: task oriented (I'll enjoy problem-solving identifying what's wrong, choosing a solution and implementing it"), results-oriented ("Every management decision I make is determined by how it will affect the bottom line"), or even paternalistic ("I'm committed to taking care of my subordinates and pointing them in the right direction").

A participative style is currently quite popular: an open-door method of managing in which you get things done by motivating people and delegating responsibility.

As you consider this question, think about whether your style will let you work hatppily and effectively within the organization.

13. Are you a good manager? Can you give me some examples? Do you feel that you have top managerial potential?

Keep your answer achievementand ask-oriented. Rely on examples from your career to buttress your argument. Stress your experience and your energy.

14. What do you look for when You hire people?

Think in terms of skills. initiative, and the adaptability to be able to work comfortably and effectively with others. Mention that you like to hire people who appear capable of moving up in the organization.

15. Have you ever had to fire people? What were the reasons, and how did you handle the situation?

Admit that the situation was not easy, but say that it worked out well, both for the company and, you think, for the individual. Show that, like anyone else, you don't enjoy unpleasant tasks but that you can resolve them efficiently and -in the case of firing someone- humanely.

16. What do you think is the most difficult thing about being a manager or executive?

Mention planning, execution, and cost-control. The most difficult task is to motivate and manage employess to get something planned and completed on time and within the budget.

17. What important trends do you see in our industry?

Be prepared with two or three trends that illustrate how well you understand your industry. You might consider technological challenges or opportunities, economic conditions, or even regulatory demands as you collect your thoughts about the direction in which your business is heading.

18. Why are you leaving (did you leave) your present (last) job?

Be brief, to the point, and as honest as you can without hurting yourself. Refer back to the planning phase of your job search. where you considered this topic as you set your reference statements. If you were laid off in an across-the-board cutback, say so; otherwise, indicate that the move was your decision, the result of your action. Do not mention personality conflicts.

The interviewer may spend some time probing you on this issue, particularly if it is clear that you were terminated. The "We agreed to disagree" approach may be useful. Remember hat your references are likely to be checked, so don't concoct a story for an interview.

19. How do you feel about leaving all your benefits to find a new job?

Mention that you are concerned, naturally, but not panicked. You are willing to accept some risk to find the right job for yourself. Don't suggest that security might interest you more than getting the job done successfully.

20. In your current (last) position, what features do (did) you like the most? The least?

Be careful and be positive. Describe more features that you liked than disliked. Don't cite personality problems. If you make your last job sound terrible, an interviewer may wonder why you remained there until now.

21. What do you think of your boss?

Be as positive as you can. A potential boss is likely to wonder if you might talk about him in similar terms at some point in the future.

22. Why aren't you earning more at your age?

Say that this is one reason that you are conducting this job search. Don't be defensive.

23. What do you feel this position should pay?

Salary is a delicate topic. We suggest that you defer tying yourself to a precise figure for as long as you can do so politely. You might say, "I understand that the range for this job is between $______ and $______. That seems appropriate for the job as I understand it." You might answer the question with a question: "Perhaps you can help me on this one. Can you tell me if there is a range for similar jobs in the organization?"

If you are asked the question during an initial screening interview, you might say that you feel you need to know more about the position's responsibilities before you could give a meaningful answer to that question. Here, too, either by asking the interviewer or search executive (if one is involved), or in research done as part of your homework, you can try to find out whether there is a salary grade attached to the job. If there is, and if you can live with it, say that the range seems right to you.

If the interviewer continues to probe, you might say, "You know that I'm making $______ now. Like everyone else, I'd like to improve on that figure, but my major interest is with the job itself." Remember that the act of taking a new job does not, in and of itself, make you worth more money.

If a search firm is involved, your contact there may be able to help with the salary question. He or she may even be able to run interference for you. If, for instance, he tells you what the position pays, and you tell him that you are earning that amount now and would Like to do a bit better, he might go back to the employer and propose that you be offered an additional 10%.

If no price range is attached to the job, and the interviewer continues to press the subject, then you will have to restpond with a number. You cannot leave the impression that it does not really matter, that you'll accept whatever is offered. If you've been making $80,000 a year, you can't say that a $35,000 figure would be fine without sounding as if you've given up on yourself. (If you are making a radical career change, however, this kind of disparity may be more reasonable and understandable.)

Don't sell yourself short, but continue to stress the fact that the job itself is the most important thing in your mind. The interviewer may be trying to determine just how much you want the job. Don't leave the impression that money is the only thing that is important to you. Link questions of salary to the work itself.

But whenever possible, say as little as you can about salary until you reach the "final" stage of the interview process. At that point, you know that the company is genuinely interested in you and that it is likely to be flexible in salary negotiations.

24. What are your long-range goals?

Refer back to the planning phase of your job search. Don't answer, "I want the job you've advertised." Relate your goals to the company you are interviewing: 'in a firm like yours, I would like to..."

25. How successful do you you've been so far?

Say that, all-in-all, you're happy with the way your career has progressed so far. Given the normal ups and downs of life, you feel that you've done quite well and have no complaints.

Present a positive and confident picture of yourself, but don't overstate your case. An answer like, "Everything's wonderful! I can't think of a time when things were going better! I'm overjoyed!" is likely to make an interviewer wonder whether you're trying to fool him . . . or yourself. The most convincing confidence is usually quiet confidence.

This article has been excerpted from "PARTING COMPANY: How to Survive the Loss of a Job and Find Another Successfully" by William J. Morin and James C. Cabrera. Copyright by Drake Beam Morin, inc. Publised by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Available in http://www.datsi.fi.upm.es/~frosal/docs/25mdq.html

/************************************************************/

Questions That Examine Leadership Potential

1. How do you handle non-productive team members?
2. How do you motivate team members who are burned out, or bored?
3. How do you handle team members who come to you with their personal problems?
4. What are your career goals? How do you see this job affecting your goals?
5. Explain how you operate interdepartmentally.
6. Tell me how you would react to a situation where there was more than one way to accomplish the same task, and there were very strong feelings by others on each position.
7. Consider that you are in a diverse environment, out of your comfort zone. How would you rate your situational leadership style?
8. Give me an example of your leadership involvement where teamwork played an important role.

Questions That Examine Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

9. Why are you interested in this position?
10. Describe what you think it would be like to do this job every day.
11. What do you believe qualifies you for this position?
12. What have you learned from your failures?
13. Of your previous jobs, which one did you enjoy the most? What did you like the most/least? Why? What was your major accomplishment? What was your biggest frustration?
14. Tell me about special projects or training you have had that would be relevant to this job.
15. What are some things that you would not like your job to include?
16. What are your current work plans? Why are you thinking about leaving your present job?
17. Describe an ideal job for you.

Questions That Examine Judgment

18. What would you do if you found out that a contractor was in a conflict of interest situation?
19. If I were to contact your former employee, what would he say about your decision-making abilities?
20. Give me an example of a win-win situation you have negotiated.
21. Tell me about your verbal and written communication ability. How well do you represent yourself to others? What makes you think so?
22. Give me an example of a stressful situation you have been in. How well did you handle it? If you had to do it over again, would you do it differently? How do you deal with stress, pressure, and unreasonable demands?
23. Tell me about a tough decision you had to make?

Questions That Examine Experience

24. Describe what you did at your work place yesterday.
25. How would you solve the following technical problem? (Describe a typical scenario that could occur in the new position.)
26. What strengths did you bring to your last position?
27. Describe how those contributions impacted results?


/************************************************************/

Another Set of Questions

* If I were to interview the people who have reported to you in the past, how would they describe your management style?


* If I were to interview your reporting staff members, how would they describe your strengths and weaknesses as a manager and supervisor?


* Give me an example, from your past work experiences, about a time when you had an underperforming employee reporting to you. How did you address the situation? Did the employee’s performance improve? If not, what did you do next?


* Rate your management skills on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent management skills. Provide three examples from your past work experiences that demonstrate your selected number is accurate.


* Describe the work environment or culture and its management style in which you have experienced the most success.


* Tell me about a time when you had a reporting employee who performed very well. The employee exceeded goals and sought more responsibility. Describe how you handled this situation day-to-day and over time.


* Describe three components of your philosophy of management that demonstrate what you value and add, as an individual, to an organization’s culture and work environment.


* What factors are crucial within an organization and must be present for you to work most effectively?


* Tell me about a time when you reorganized a department or significantly changed employee work assignments. How did you approach the task? How did the affected employees respond to your actions?


* One of the jobs of a manager or supervisor is to manage performance and perform periodic performance reviews. Tell me how you have managed employee performance in the past. Describe the process you have used for performance feedback.


* When you have entered a new workplace in the past, as a manager or supervisor, describe how you have gone about meeting and developing relationships with your new coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff.


* As a manager or supervisor, one of your jobs is to provide direction and leadership for a work unit. Describe how you have accomplished this in the past.


* What are the three most important values you demonstrate as a leader?


* What goals, including career goals, have you set for your life?


* How would you define “success” for your career? At the end of your work life, what must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?


* Describe a work situation in which you can demonstrate that you motivated another person.