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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Alternative and related questions:

What is your management style?
How do you manage people?

The meaning behind the question:

There’s nothing too complex about this question. The interviewer wants to know what your perception of leadership is and how you go about the day-to-day responsibility of management.

They’re only going to be asking this question if you’re applying for a management-level role and they’re hoping to gauge just how successful you are likely to be in fulfilling such a role.

It’s also going to be of interest to them to see how you perceive yourself. It can tell them a lot about you as a person.

Your answer:

Unless you really are the perfect manager, try to interpret this question in terms of the manager you aspire to be – because that’s the kind of manager the interviewer is wanting you to be!

There are two main aspects to a management role:

  • Getting the job done
  • Handling the people who will help you to get the job done

Your answer needs to cover both these bases.

The precise points you raise in your answer will depend on the kind of management role for which you are applying. Different employers will have different expectations of how their managers should behave and what they are expected to achieve.


I’m a very hands-on manager. While I am clearly in charge of my team, we are nonetheless a team – and I am very much a member of that team. When the circumstances require it, I will assert my authority and lead my staff in the direction I have determined we should go. However, I’m always open to input, ideas and suggestions and consider myself to be very approachable in that respect. I realise the importance of motivating my staff to deliver their best and I’m tactful and diplomatic when dealing with potential problems; I believe a lot more can be achieved through communication than through conflict. I am nevertheless very results-driven and expect every member of my team to pull their weight and help us to achieve our common goals.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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More classic interview questions and answers


How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organisation?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organisations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?