interview questions for a supervisor candidate

Interview Questions for Supervisors:
  • Why do you think you would be a good supervisor? …
  • How would you describe your management skills? …
  • What three factors improve teamwork and success? …
  • What is your management style? …
  • Describe the toughest challenge you’ve faced at work and how you overcame it.

When interviewing for a supervisor position, you really want to do everything you can to let the interviewer see what a great leader you are.

While you should always be prepared for common job interview questions, there are supervisor-specific questions that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced before hand.

SUPERVISOR Interview Questions and ANSWERS! (How to PASS your Supervisor Interview!)

What is one of the most important decisions you’ve made as a supervisor?

Hiring managers may ask this question to discover how comfortable you are making decisions for your team without direct orders from owners or someone else above you in the management hierarchy. How you answer can confirm that youve had previous decision-making responsibilities and that youre confident in your process. When answering this question, think about a specific situation where you had to make the ultimate choice on a project or initiative. Share the factors that guided your decision and the overall outcome.

Example: “In my last position as a marketing manager, my team spent a lot of time researching and creating content for a new vegan restaurant campaign. After rollout, the client told us they learned some of their offerings werent vegan at all. I had to decide how to handle changing the content that wed already published and how to address the retraction. I ultimately addressed the issue directly on the clients social media channels and website, and we created updated content with source lists and links to preserve customer trust.”

10 interview questions for supervisors with sample answers

Use these sample interview questions and answers to help you understand a hiring managers reasoning behind asking for certain information and how you can prepare to share the most important information with them:

12 in-depth questions for supervisors

Hiring managers may use in-depth questions to get more situational, less rehearsed responses about a supervisory candidates experience and personality. These questions often require a story or an answer with specific examples. Some in-depth questions may include:

  • Describe a time you introduced an important change to your team in your last supervisory role.
  • Describe a time when you coached or trained an employee to complete a task.
  • What skills and experiences in your past positions prepared you for this specific supervisory role?
  • Describe the toughest challenge youve experienced as a supervisor and how you overcame it.
  • Is there anything you would change about the supervisory positions in our organization?
  • Describe a situation where you felt you needed help to meet a supervisory challenge.
  • Describe a time where you struggled to communicate a message to a team member and how you overcame it.
  • Describe a situation where you let your personal life affect your job and how you resolved the issue.
  • Describe a time when you disagreed with the opinion of a team member and how you handled the situation.
  • Describe a time when you made a mistake or mishandled a situation and how you made up for it.
  • Describe your management philosophy.
  • Describe your most notable achievement in your last position.
  • 8 Supervisor Interview Questions and Answers

    How do you resolve disputes between employees?

    Supervisors are often expected to resolve issues between their direct reports to avoid escalation. This question gets to the heart of the candidate’s ability to negotiate conflict on their team.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Evidence they have handled employee disputes in the past
    • Confirmation they have had success resolving issues on their previous teams
    • A style of resolution that aligns with your company culture

    When was the last time you had to deal with an employee who was not performing and how did you handle it?

    Unfortunately, even good employees can falter sometimes and you need a supervisor to be able to identify poor performance and address it. This question gives the candidate a chance to prove they know how to manage the task.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Indication they understand the importance of setting employee goals and standards
    • Evidence they know how to cultivate talent in their staff
    • Proof they feel comfortable addressing problems on their team

    What are some successful ways you’ve been able to motivate employees?

    One of the best things a supervisor can add to your team is keeping other employees excited about their work and prepared to give every day 100 percent. Learning how the candidate approaches this task will tell you a lot about how prepared they are to take on the role.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Evidence they have been in charge of successful teams
    • Willingness to adjust their motivation techniques as needed
    • Understanding of their role as a supervisor in regards to morale

    Have you hired an employee? Describe the factors you think are important when hiring someone.

    Some supervisors are responsible for hiring, while other companies leave those decisions to department heads and HR. This question will reveal if the candidate has had the responsibility of hiring, and how they would handle it even if they’ve yet to do it.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Evidence they know what to look for in a good hire
    • Awareness about the steps required to build a solid team
    • Indications they are motivated to take part in the hiring process

    How would you describe your leadership style?

    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. Look for a candidate who confidently answers this question and expresses pride as they explain their system for motivating and improving their team members’ performance.

    The candidate’s answer should emphasize:

    • A clear and comprehensive leadership style
    • Their delegation abilities and tactics
    • How successful they are as a leader and motivator

    An answer to this question could look like this:

    What is one important decision you’ve had to make as a supervisor? Why was it critical?

    Supervisors need to feel comfortable making decisions, even if they serve under a department manager. This question allows the candidate to illustrate their ability to step up and make important calls as needed.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Confirmation they feel comfortable making decisions independently
    • Evidence they have taken on more decision-making responsibility over time
    • Confidence in their thought process behind making important choices

    How would your previous direct reports describe your supervision style?

    How a supervisor is able to mesh with their team can make or break their success at your company. This probing question will reveal if they’re a good culture fit for a supervisory role.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Self-awareness about how they are perceived by other employees
    • Indications they have asked their direct reports for feedback
    • An alignment with your company culture

    Has your supervision style changed over time? How?

    Learning to adapt management styles and techniques can create an exceptional supervisor. This question helps you figure out if the candidate is able to receive feedback and adjust their style if needed.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Indications their supervision skills have grown over time
    • Proof they have received feedback well and adjusted their style as necessary
    • Confirmation they are self-aware about their need to evolve

    Supervisors should be aware of how they are perceived by direct reports. In workplaces with high retention rates, employees may feel affinity and respect toward their supervisors — and feel comfortable raising any concerns that arise.

    Managers and supervisors need to be success-oriented at a company level, a team level, and an employee level. And they need to understand and strive toward company goals. An answer to this question can demonstrate how they prioritize and organize goals and measure achievements.

    A supervisor may be required to mediate difficult on-the-job conflicts—and their ability to do so can impact team performance. Assessing a candidate’s ability to solve interpersonal problems will help you identify a true leader.

    Tell me about a time that you had to make an important decision that affected others in the workplace. How did you handle it and what was the impact?

    A supervisor should remain a leader no matter what—employees will likely look to them even more for support during a busy season, transitions, or times of adversity. This question can help you identify a candidate’s problem-solving abilities and navigational skills.

    How do you go about solving conflict between team members?

    Not everyone on your team will get along, and how you solve conflicts will reflect the type of manager you will be. The interviewer is looking to see if you can handle your employees bickering.

    What prior supervisory experience do you have?

    This question is going to be one of the very first ones asked, so be ready with a great answer. When considering how you are going to respond, make eye contact and relate how your previous supervisor experience relates to what they are looking for.

    Remember, the interview is not about you; it’s about them. Try and show you can fulfill their needs and solve their problems.

    EXAMPLE ANSWER:

    FAQ

    What questions will be asked in a supervisor interview?

    Supervisor Interview Questions
    • Have you hired an employee? …
    • What is one important decision you’ve had to make as a supervisor? …
    • How would your previous direct reports describe your supervision style? …
    • Has your supervision style changed over time? …
    • What are some successful ways you’ve been able to motivate employees?

    What makes you the best candidate for the supervisor position?

    Because you have the skills and abilities a good supervisor has (mention the strengths from the first answer), because you are motivated to work hard, and because you have experience with similar jobs (if any of that is true).

    How do I interview for a first time supervisor position?

    Four Tips for Interviewing for Your First Management Role
    1. Share experience from your personal life. …
    2. Use real-life examples of leadership qualities. …
    3. Show you can be hands-on and do the work. …
    4. Be prepared for commonly asked questions.

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