3 Killer Interview Questions to Evaluate Your Manager

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Sep 28

The biggest indicator of success in the job is the relationship that you have with your manager (even if you are a manager…). The better the relationship with the manager, the more likely you will like your job. As well, your relationship with your new team is critical to your success in the new job. Groove with the team and support is yours.

So part of what a Cubicle Warrior does during an interview is evaluate the manager and team to determine if the relationship is the right fit. You don’t get a lot of time in the interview to ask questions, so your questions need to give you the best ability to analyze your potential manager. Here are three killer questions that do just that.

Interview Question One: Why do you believe your team is best prepared to meet your goals?

This question opens up two areas of discussion. The first is how the manager has prepared the team to meet the goals of the department. The second is the manager’s view of how the team is organized, the skills they bring to the department, and how they work together.

All of these areas give you great insight on the manager’s view of the job and the manager’s role in preparing the team to meet goals. This would be the same role the manager would have in supporting you on the team.

Interview Question Two: What are the biggest challenges facing the people you manage and why are they challenging?

Rather than asking something about the goals of the department that can simply be stated and provide no insight, ask about the challenges facing the group. The challenges facing the department often are not about the goals, but something else that is preventing the department from reaching their goals.

As well, the challenges, in corporate speak, are problems to solve. Since you want to show how you solve problems, this question also allows you to show how you have solved the exact problems the manager is facing.

Interview Question Three: What would you say are the two biggest strengths you bring to your management team?

The manager you will work for is also part of a team of managers. Your potential manager’s peers are also using their people to reach their goals. Managers help each other just as your coworkers help you.

This question gives you insight in how the manager sees him or herself contributing to the manager’s team. It will bring out what the manager thinks are the two biggest strengths and those two tend to be the same strengths the manager brings to your potential team.

All three of these questions give your potential manager an open-ended question to answer that can go in many different directions. What you are trying to determine is if your best way of working is supported by the manager and team dynamics.

If the manager provides the support that best helps you perform well, then there is a good chance of success. If not, it may still make sense to take the job, but success will be more difficult to achieve.

What other great questions have you asked in interviews to evaluate your potential manager?

  • Joe says:

    These are three excellent interview questions to ask. I believe they would lead to great insight about the manager you might work with and their ability to share openly. A polished manager may be able to snowball you, but a great one will pause and with some reflection provide you a window into the inner working of the company. Great questions!

  • Amanda says:

    I agree. These are thinking questions that will provide a small window into the inner workings of the company. My favorite is question number two.

  • Scot says:

    @ Joe — most interview questions are predictable. I’m hoping these are not as predictable and you will get a better answer from the manager.

    @ Amanda — perhaps I should have put up a poll! Thanks for choosing a good one; perhaps I can expand on it a bit with a different article.

    Any other good questions to ask a potential manager?

  • Rick Saia says:

    Nice questions Scot! I especially like No. 2 because since it’s a two-parter, it sheds light on how well the manager knows his team, and how he or she sees the team’s role in accomplishing the goals of the organization.

  • Oluka lawrence says:

    our boss is running the hotel bear and has assumed all the responsibilities of the manager.what best atmosphere can he operate now?

  • That’s great questions! I will use it to evaluate my manager.

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