6 Ways To Show Off Your Management Skills In An Interview

From theladders.com by Ashley Jones

Interviews are stressful, but interviews for management roles can be even more so. When you’re trying to prove that you can be a good boss, the pressure is on. You need to know exactly how to show off your management skills in an interview without skipping a beat.

Every manager leads differently, so going into a management interview, your main goal is to explain to an interviewer how you do it and why you’re the best person to do it for their company. This takes a bit of planning and preparations — two things managers should already have mastery of.

The hiring manager, HR person, recruiter, or anyone else you interview with will very likely have management experience themselves. Because of this, there’s really no fooling them if you haven’t prepared to discuss exactly why your management skills should land you the role. 

Whether you’ve managed a large staff, overseen projects managed entire departments, or are interviewing for your very first management role, the main point that you want to get across to the person interviewing you is that you can lead. 

What are management skills?

To showcase your management skills during an interview, you first need to have a firm understanding of what skills are necessary for managers — especially for this particular role. From there, you can think back through your work history and craft concrete examples of these skills, and prepare to talk about them during your interview. 

Below is a list of several key management skills along with examples of how you might highlight these skills during your interview and questions you can ask yourself to better understand your own skillset. 

  • Planning: What strategies did you use to set goals and achieve them in your previous role? Use tangible examples to explain your planning process and how it’s worked out for you in the past. This is a great time to utilize data from successful projects to show that the way you plan actually pays off. 
  • Delegation: A good manager knows how to delegate tasks and delegate them well. To show your delegation skills in an interview, use examples of times when you successfully transferred a task to the right person to get the job done. 
  • Communication: What is your communication style and how has it served you as a manager? You can also think back on times when you have had a communication challenge and detail what you did to work through the issue.
  • Support: How did you show support for your previous team? In an interview, you can provide examples of procedures that you implemented to better support your team and explain instances where these systems paid off with concrete examples. Maybe you set up one-on-one quarterly meetings for feedback which helped reveal communication gaps or you started a mentorship program. These are concrete examples of a manager who exercised the skill of supporting their staff. 
  • Problem-solvingHow do you approach problems at work? Give your interviewer specific examples of problems that you’ve tackled and detail the steps you took to get through. Let them know that you’re not afraid to meet a challenge head-on as a manager.
  • MotivationWhen a team isn’t motivated, they’re less likely to be successful. Did you lead a team-building activity or staff competition that drove your employees to reach a goal? You can share short anecdotes with your interviewer of times when you were able to motivate your staff to achieve a goal and how you did so.

Above and beyond preparing examples of your management skills, you should also have a firm handle on what your management style is. It’s common to have an interviewer ask about your management style, so be prepared to discuss what this says about you as a leader

Even if you don’t have direct management experience, you can still look for opportunities in your interview to bring up these skills when speaking about your past work experience. Your examples might be different — maybe you spearheaded a successful campaign or solved a communication issue between co-workers — but the skills you use are the same. 

 

How to prepare for a management interview

Before you even step foot into a management interview, take some time to prepare. Often, management interviews have less straightforward or common interview questions, and more queries that begin like, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…” to gain insight into how you lead. 

While these questions are extremely telling for the interviewer, they can also be a challenge for the applicant to answer. That’s why it is best to prepare your answers ahead of time and have in mind what you’ll say — more or less — when the time comes. Just like you would on a resume, use action verbs like initiated, coached, developed, achieved, guided, and directed to best show off your management skills. 

Even if the answers you prepare aren’t verbatim how you end up explaining things in the interview, the preparation can help you have a better grasp on what you want to say and you’ll be less likely to fumble through your answers. 

Here are some steps you can take to help prepare to show off your management skills in an interview:

    1. Learn about the company. Research them online, reach out to anyone in your network who might be connected and get some insight into how they operate, what their goals are, and what the company is like. Basically, do your homework. This knowledge can help you tailor your prepared responses to interview questions that assess your management skills. 
    2. Review the job description. Read back through the job posting to understand how you can best highlight the necessary management skills that they’re seeking during your interview. For example, a job description that lists problem-solving as a desired skill means that you should go into the interview prepared to speak to your past experience with this.
    3. Refer to your resume. Look through your resume for examples of management skills that you can showcase during your interview. Pull concrete numbers from here to back up your explanations and help provide a roadmap for how you’ll walk an interviewer through your management experience. 
    4. Prepare and practice. Go over what you will say about your management skills and practice putting into words examples of the skills listed above. It can be helpful to write down what you want to say, read through it, and then practice saying it out loud.
    5. Make a list of questions. Think of questions that you can ask during the interview as well and write them down. Insight into the company’s long-term goals, culture, or expectations for this role can help you decide whether or not this position is the right fit for you. These inquiries can also showcase more of your management skills by showing that you’re invested in the company’s growth and development.
    6. Bring your notes. As, Ringo Nishioka, Founder of HR Nasty, previously told Ladders, “It’s OK to bring in notes you’ve prepared for your interview. Companies don’t think about this as ‘cheating.’” 

Even if you’re a bundle of nerves on the day, if you’re well prepared to talk about your management skills, have practised what you’ll say, and have notes in hand, you’re likely to pass the interview with flying colours.

 
 
 
 

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