Typical Interview Questions

What sort of manager are you? / What makes a good manager?

If you're applying for a management role, then you need to show an awareness of your own management approach. It is worth doing some reading about management styles, so that you can say if you fit in with these or not. Otherwise, state what you believe to be important in a good manager, ensuring that you can produce examples that show how you displayed these characteristics.

Do you work well with others? Or are you a loner?

It's important to demonstrate that you are flexible enough to work with other team members as well as singly when required. The interviewer will know that most people prefer one or the other way of working, so be honest with yourself about which suits you best - and why. Even if the job is a mix of working alone and in a team, there will be more of one than the other.

Do you need other people around to stimulate you or are you self-motivated?

As before, it's best to show that you can work very well under your own steam, but that you also appreciate the input of other team members. The qualities you need to highlight, as well as your self-motivation, are a willingness to listen and consider other people's ideas. Good communication is always considered a strength.

Are you accepted into a team quickly?

You do need to be able to answer 'yes' to this question, as employers prefer people who can get along with the existing team. It's important to highlight that it's your ability to interact with others and liaise with different kinds of people that ensures you do.

Can you act on your own initiative?

It's important to say that you can. Every team member needs to be able to organize their own work and progress under their own initiative at times. Think of some examples that show how you have successfully implemented ideas, developed projects or completed tasks wholly or largely without supervision.

How do you run a meeting?

This question aims to identify more about your way of interacting with colleagues, as either a manager or team member. The answer reflects more broadly on your management skills. Running a meeting well depends on having a strong agenda and sticking to it, while enlisting input from everyone present.

What motivates you?

You may be motivated by specific aspects of the job, so you should include one or two of these and be prepared to say why you're interested. More importantly, you need to mention some broader career goals, such as your development in a new role, having the opportunity to learn new skills, the positive experience of working in a good team of colleagues, etc.

What management style gets the best results out of you?

You need to show that you are aware of your own working style and how you respond to direction from managers. Prepare for this question by thinking about the managers you have found to be the best in the past - their style is likely to be one that you're comfortable with. Focus on the aspects that were positive for you. Keep it quite general, as you don't want to speak against a management style used by this employer.

Do you know how to motivate other people?

This question will arise where you are going to be taking a leading role in a team. If you're applying for a leadership role, then you should be able to give a positive response to this. Your answer should cover what the different motivational factors for different people might be, how you'd utilise these, how you'd recognise and reward contributions, as well as how you'd provide support to team members.

Are you competitive?

The kind of role you're applying for will influence your answer to this. In a sales role, competitive drive can be extremely valuable, helping you to handle knock-backs and continue striving for results. If you're working in a team role, then this drive might be detrimental to good teamwork, so you need to show that you can direct it towards team goals rather than individual ones.

Are you aggressive?

Using this word is a bit risky, as it has many negative connotations. The first thing you should do is clarify the meaning of the word as the interviewer is using. If they are asking whether you're determined enough to finish a job at all costs, then your answer would be yes. You need to defuse the question by stressing that you are considerate to colleagues and will never disregard them in a personal drive for success.

What do you dislike doing?

You should never own up to disliking any aspect of a job, even if pushed. You can state that you give equal attention to the routine aspects of your work, understanding that these are essential if you are to achieve success in pursuing your goals. A good response is that you address the less exciting aspects first to get them out of the way, so you can focus on the more interesting tasks.

Part 6: Job Interview Questions

Part 1: Answering Interview Questions

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