how to best answer interview questions for a supervisory position

Involved in closely supervising employees on a daily basis, supervisors are on the top rung of the lower rank of management. They’re strong leaders who know how to work hard, but they also know how to follow orders from higher ups.

11 Essential Supervisor Interview Questions

1. What are the essential qualities of a good supervisor?

In your interview answer include these key competencies or supervisory skills that apply to all supervisor jobs.

  • planning and organizing
  • problem-solving
  • decision-making
  • delegating
  • motivating
  • influencing
  • communicating
  • managing conflict
  • 2. What do you consider to be the role of a supervisor?

    “The primary role of the supervisor is to plan, coordinate and oversee a group or team of people to efficiently use available resources and maximize productivity in order to achieve set objectives.”

    how to best answer interview questions for a supervisory position

    3. Describe your supervisory style.

    When answering supervisor interview questions around your personal supervisory style remember that there is no wrong or right supervisory style.

    The only criteria is that it should be appropriate to the situation. Your ability to adapt your style to the demands of the person you are dealing with, the task at hand and the circumstances is key to success as a supervisor.

    Provide examples of how you have had to adapt your supervisory style to meet different needs.

    4. What are your strengths as a supervisor?

    This complete list of employee strengths will help you answer this common interview question. Make sure you highlight those strengths that are relevant to the job opportunity.

    Relevant supervisor workplace strengths include:

  • decision making and judgment
  • coaching and mentoring
  • organizing and planning
  • communication
  • You may be asked which areas you would like to improve on as a supervisor. This list of common workplace weaknesses can help you with this.

    5. How do you motivate your employees/team members?

    The more your employees or team members understand about their jobs and responsibilities the more motivated they are. Show how you ensure each subordinate has clarity about his or her role and responsibilities.

  • discuss how you set clear, specific and realistic targets that are agreed on rather than dictated
  • focus on how you involve employees by asking for suggestions, ideas and feedback
  • 6. Tell me about a time an employee made a significant mistake. What action did you take?

    This is a behavioral or situational interview question. You are expected to provide an example of how you successfully managed a difficult employee or team member. Find out more about handling the behavioral interview.

    In your answer to this supervisor interview question focus on your ability:

  • to communicate openly to understand the cause of the mistake
  • to discuss with the employee how it can be prevented from happening again
  • to view the mistake as a learning opportunity to improve future performance
  • 7. Describe a time you had to introduce important change in your last job.

    Your ability to persuade and influence your employees or team members to accept change is key.

    Show how you were able to gain support and commitment from them:

  • by using the appropriate communication style
  • by listening and responding to concerns and questions
  • by asking for their help and commitment
  • by providing support
  • 8. Describe a time you had to manage conflict within your department/team/group.

    Your example can show how you identified the source of conflict, used the conflict situation as a constructive process to exchange opinions and ideas and clarify roles and responsibilities.

    Discuss how you kept the focus on the desired outcome rather than on personal grievances.

    9. Tell me about a time you had to coach an employee to perform a task.

    Coaching and developing others is part of the supervisor function.

    Supervisor interview questions about the development of employees should include your ability to:

  • agree on the outcomes and methods of coaching with the employee
  • explain and demonstrate task performance
  • observe and provide constructive feedback
  • 10. Tell me about a short term plan you developed for your department/team/group.

    These supervisor interview questions explore your ability to plan and organize. Your interview answer should demonstrate your ability to:

  • set priorities
  • establish objectives and milestones
  • schedule activities and plan proper use of resources
  • Good time management interview questions and answers

    11. When evaluating an employee or team members performance what factors are most important to you?

    This question is designed to assess your performance standards. Show:

  • how you set high work standards for yourself and your subordinates
  • how you communicate your expectations
  • how you monitor performance
  • You will also find these pages useful for your supervisor interview

    Supervisor interview questions will also include common job interview questions. Find out how to answer frequently asked interview questions.

    What Makes a Good Supervisor?

    There are several hard and soft skills that effective supervisors possess.

    Key skills include:

  • Planning and organization. It’s up to you to efficiently and effectively delegate employees. You need to be able to plan for the future and prepare for contingencies.
  • Problem-solving. Teams need to tackle problems through a unified solution. It’s up to you to provide this common direction.
  • Decision-making. Contrasting voices in a team lead to endless debate and zero action. Supervisors step in to make the final say and propel the team forward.
  • Motivating. Unmotivated team members are ineffective. You have to appeal to a common goal.
  • Communication. Every other skill is useless if you can’t get your idea across. It’s up to you to make sure every team member understands any crucial aspects of the project.
  • Energy. Teams look to their leaders for inspiration and direction. A leader who devotes themselves to the task-at-hand and leads by example motivates everyone.
  • Charisma. Charisma doesn’t mean that you have to be super extroverted and outgoing. It just means that your words are influential and can affect employee actions.
  • Empathy. When team members have an issue they need addressed, they have to believe that you’ll understand their viewpoint before they’re willing to bring it to you.
  • What characterize a great supervisor?

    A great supervisor can motivate their subordinates, they go by example, they have good observation skills, and they can utilize the strengths of the people they lead in their teams. Alternatively you can say that great (production) supervisor maintains the highest possible productivity and motivation of the team (or of each team member), and helps the company to achieve their goals on an ongoing basis.

    FAQ

    How do you ace an interview for a supervisor position?

    A strong supervisor should have impressive leadership skills to motivate their employees to deliver valuable work. If the candidate has had many years of experience working as a supervisor, they should have a clear leadership style and strategy that they regularly use to successfully inspire and lead their team.

    How do you answer what makes you a good supervisor?

    Supervisor roles come with a lot of responsibility, so it’s a good idea to recognize this fact when discussing why you want to be a manager. You can do this by talking about your management philosophy and the leadership strategies that you would implement for a team to become more profitable and productive.

    How do you pass a supervisor interview?

    Supervisor roles come with a lot of responsibility, so it’s a good idea to recognize this fact when discussing why you want to be a manager. You can do this by talking about your management philosophy and the leadership strategies that you would implement for a team to become more profitable and productive.

    Why you think you will be a good fit for a supervisor role?

    Supervisor roles come with a lot of responsibility, so it’s a good idea to recognize this fact when discussing why you want to be a manager. You can do this by talking about your management philosophy and the leadership strategies that you would implement for a team to become more profitable and productive.

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