Organizational Wellness

42 Manager Interview Questions For HR Leaders to Ask

Apr 22, 2024
Last Updated May 10, 2024

It’s no secret that managers have a big effect on morale in your organization. For about seven out of 10 workers, managers have just as much impact on people’s mental health as their spouses, according to a 2023 Workforce Institute report. This emphasizes the importance of careful consideration when hiring leaders for your organization. 

HR leaders play a pivotal role in hiring managers who have the soft skills and experience to positively shape the workplace environment, Especially because managers wear a lot of hats, it can be tricky knowing what to focus on during time-bound interviews. How does HR get down to what matters most about their managerial candidates?

By incorporating a set of strategic questions aimed at uncovering a candidate's skills and experience, HR leaders can adopt a more intentional approach to interviews. From conflict management to leadership styles, pulling from this bank of questions can help you and identify top-tier leaders.


42 Interview Questions for Managers

Effective management is a huge factor in organizational success because employees are deeply affected by their leaders. Interviews are key in assessing managerial competencies. To support informed hiring decisions, here is a curated list of managerial interview questions focused on candidates experience in leadership and their problem-solving abilities. 

Behavioral Questions

Interviews that discuss a candidate’s behaviors help uncover their past experiences and actions. These questions are based on the premise that past behavior is a strong indicator of future performance.

  1. Tell me about a time you had to manage an employee struggling with productivity.
  2. How do you measure success?
  3. Describe a project where you faced tight deadlines and limited resources. 
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a major change in the workplace.

Leadership and Management Style

Identifying a candidate's leadership style is one way to evaluate their people skills and emotional intelligence. It helps align their approach with the organization's culture and values, as well as their ability to effectively lead and encourage teams. 

  1. How would you describe your management style?
  2. How do you delegate responsibilities?
  3. Can you provide an example of a situation where your leadership style was instrumental in achieving a team or company goal?
  4. What leadership values or principles guide your decision-making as a leader?
  5. How do you handle situations where your leadership style may clash with a team member's preferences or work style?
  6. What strategies do you use to build and maintain strong relationships with your team members?
  7. How do you adapt your leadership style when working with individuals from diverse backgrounds or with varying skill sets?
  8. Can you describe a time when you had to lead a team through a period of significant change or uncertainty?
  9. What role does communication play in your leadership style, and how do you ensure effective communication within your team?
  10. How do you empower and motivate your team to take ownership of their work and responsibilities?
  11. Can you share an example of a situation where you had to make a tough decision as a leader? How did your leadership style influence that decision?
  12. Describe your approach to resolving conflicts or disagreements within your team.
  13. How do you prioritize tasks and delegate responsibilities as a leader to ensure efficient and effective outcomes?
  14. Can you provide an example of a time when you successfully coached or mentored a team member to improve their performance or reach their potential?
  15. What steps do you take to continuously develop leadership skills and style?

Motivation and Conflict Resolution

Understanding how a candidate motivates teams and handles conflicts is another way to discover effective leaders. Motivation fuels productivity, while conflict resolution skills help maintain a harmonious work environment. You can use the following questions to learn how a candidate approaches difficult conversations and other hurdles.

  1. How do you motivate your team?
  2. How do you handle conflict between team members?
  3. How do you go about identifying what motivates each team member individually, and how do you tailor your leadership approach accordingly?
  4. Can you share an example of a time when you successfully boosted your team's morale and motivation during a challenging project or period?
  5. How do you set and communicate clear performance expectations to help team members stay motivated and focused on their goals?
  6. Can you describe a situation where you had to address and overcome a team member's lack of motivation? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome?
  7. What role do recognition and rewards play in your approach to motivating your team?
  8. How do you approach conflicts within your team or between team members, and what steps do you take to address them effectively?
  9. Can you provide an example of a particularly challenging conflict you've successfully resolved as a leader? What strategies did you employ?
  10. What methods do you use to foster open and constructive communication within your team, with the goal of preventing conflicts from escalating?
  11. How do you handle conflicts that involve differing opinions or perspectives between team members, particularly when there's no clear consensus?

Organizational Relationships

When HR leaders are looking for managers, it’s important to evaluate how they navigate and foster positive organizational relationships. These relationships greatly affect the wellness of employees and the organizational goals. Here are some ways for HR to inquire about this topic:

  1. Can you give an example of a time when you had to navigate office politics to get a project done? What was the outcome? 
  2. What do you think an effective staff meeting looks like? What about an ineffective one? 
  3. How do you foster cooperation with someone in another department?
  4. How do you prepare for a high-stakes presentation to stakeholders or senior management? 
  5. How do you maintain your team's focus and morale during organizational changes?
  6. Have you ever faced a conflict with a fellow manager? How did you resolve it?

Interview Questions for Managers to Ask

Managers asking questions during interviews is not only essential but also invaluable in the hiring process. Managers asking questions during interviews serve as a two-fold opportunity. 

First, HR can gain a deeper understanding of a candidate’s qualifications and experience. Second, having other leadership participate showcases how engaged the organization is as an employer. In both cases, HR can be much more strategic with their questions and get insights from their fellow experts.

By probing with well-considered questions, other leaders can help you make informed hiring decisions that align with the company's objectives. These questions are especially impactful when coming from an existing manager:

  1. Can you walk me through a project you led and what made it successful?
  2. How do you give feedback and hold team members accountable?
  3. Can you share an example of a challenging situation you encountered in a previous role and how you approached it?
  4. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision that had a significant impact on your team or organization. What factors did you consider, and how did you arrive at your decision?
  5. How do you prioritize your tasks and manage your time effectively to meet deadlines and achieve goals?
  6. Can you provide an example of a project where you had to collaborate with other teams or departments to achieve a common goal? How did you ensure effective communication among team members?

Tips for Creating an Efficient Interview Process

A strategic set of questions that assess the qualities of a good manager can elevate the entire interview experience. Still, it’s not the only thing HR can do. Here are some quick tips for streamlining and capitalizing on interviews.

Clear Competencies

As you narrow down your questions, it’s helpful to identify skills and behaviors that are ideal for the managerial role. For example, your organization’s structure may favor certain leadership styles—or some roles may require a baseline of industry knowledge.

Structured Interviews

Developing standardized questions helps HR prioritize fairness and consistency across interviews. This not only prevents unconscious bias during decision-making but also helps HR comply with equal opportunity laws.

Panel Interviews

Just like involving other managers in the interview process, you can bring in different stakeholders and other senior leadership. This provides diverse perspectives for your final decision.

Practical Assessments

For more involved interviews, you can ask candidates to prepare presentations to assess their real-world problem-solving skills. This also gives you an idea of how they present themselves in front of others.

Interviewer Training

HR has the interview skills, but other leaders in your organization may not. You can train other interviewers with effective techniques, such as avoiding unconscious bias or helping them understand the evaluation criteria.

Comprehensive Feedback

It can streamline your hiring process down the road when you use structured feedback forms for all interviewers. This usually leads to more organized debrief sessions when discussing a candidate's strengths and weaknesses.

Managing Wellness With Hires and Benefits

Effective management is the backbone of organizational excellence. The right hire can help lead teams to success in business and support a culture of wellness. 

Ninety-three percent of workers say that their physical wellbeing impacts their productivity and 95% say that their emotional wellness impacts their productivity. Managerial influence greatly affects employees’ comfort level in prioritizing wellness, like carving out time for a mid-day meditation or having walking meetings.

Building a culture of wellness that helps employees maintain their wellbeing means finding the right management hire and the right benefits to support them.

To take your benefits package to the next level with a holistic wellness subscription, talk to a Wellbeing Specialist!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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