Top Hard Interview Questions for Managers (Explanation and Answers)

Interview session between a man and a woman

Interviews are daunting, no doubt, and for Managers, you can expect a double heat. What are hard interview questions for managers and how do you get prepared? Read on to find answers.

Managers play important roles in the success of any organization. Whether it is a small enterprise or an established organization. From organizing to planning and executing various departmental plans, managers are involved in making key decisions.

According to an article published by the Online Manipal website, “Managers set the vision and strategy of an organization” Hence, employers and recruiting agencies take careful measures when interviewing for the role of a Manager.

Therefore, if you are interviewing for the role of a manager or any management job, you must learn how to answer tough interview questions. These questions are directed to assess your behavioral response to certain workplace situations.

Hence, getting prepared in advance by revising answers to top strategic interview questions will keep you on your A-game. Also, having backup answers prepared in case you encounter tough interview questions will keep you better prepared for the process. 

Moreover, aside from this, as a norm, you should know the core skills needed to be successful as a manager. Even if you don’t possess all, express your enthusiasm to learn more. To stand a better chance, find out how to impress your employer as a professional manager with skilled experience. All these form the framework for your success.

 Here are the top hard interview questions for managers you can expect in your next interview.

Top 7 Hard Interview Questions for Managers 

Aside from the common interview questions peculiar to other roles, these are some of the hard questions those aspiring for managerial roles encounter in interviews:

  1. What would you do if this position is not given to you?
  2. How would you delegate tasks to team members in case of an emergency?
  3. Why did you stop working at your previous job?
  4. If you were in charge of recruitment in a team, how would you tell a team member to stop working?
  5. What recruitment process do you use most and how effective is the process?
  6. What’s the most exciting aspect of working in a managerial position?
  7. Can you tell me of a time when you Noticed a Drop in Motivation with your Experienced Employers? How did you address the Situation?

#1. What would you do if this Position is not Given to you?

Resilience is an important quality every Manager must possess. Thus, employers ask this question to evaluate candidates’ resilience, positivity, and commitment to the role. They want to know what makes you thick and the reason behind your passion. 

When responding to this question, the best way is to be positive and professional. Avoid speaking negatively about the company, and focus on your commitment to improving your skills. You can also talk about what you would do to improve your chances of success in the future, such as taking additional training or gaining more experience.

#2. How would you Delegate Tasks to Team members in case of an emergency?

A typical working day for a manager is already hectic, but during certain emergencies, it takes one who is creative and coordinated to keep things in place. So employers ask this question to assess a candidate’s ability to think on their feet and make quick decisions under pressure. It is also aimed to evaluate the candidate’s understanding of teamwork and collaboration.

If you encounter this question during your interview process, the best way to answer is to show that you understand the importance of delegation and teamwork. Talk about what you would do to ensure no task is delayed or allowed to suffer. 

More so, you can give an instance of a time in the past you did something similar. For instance, talk about a time you addressed challenges such as how you prioritize tasks, assess team members’ strengths and weaknesses, and provide clear instructions.

#3. Why did you stop working at your previous job?

A study by CareerBuilder found that 70% of employers are hesitant to hire someone who has left a previous job within the first year. When recruiters ask this question, they want access to candidate’s honesty, self-awareness, and ability to learn from their mistakes. In addition, they want to know that the candidate is leaving their previous job for the right reasons and that they are not running away from problems.

When giving your response, ensure you are honest and upfront about your reasons for leaving your previous job. Avoid speaking negatively about your former employer or colleagues, and focus on the positive aspects of your decision. For instance, talk about your desire to seek better opportunities for career growth in a more challenging field.

#4. If Hired what would you do in your next 60 days?

The question “What would you do in the next 60 days” may come as a shock if you, the interviewer do not come prepared for the interview. Interviews ask this question to gauge how well a candidate understands the responsibilities of a hiring manager. 

The right candidate for this job understands the basics needed to get started in the first month. They should know what needs to be done, and what department in the company to get familiar with within the first 60-90 days. For instance, Visiting and revamping the company’s email list to get familiar with the users and recent sign-ups. 

However, although as the interviewee, you may not stick to the answer you provide during your first weeks of resumption, being prepared in advance shows that you know the task and are ready to perform the job

Hard Interview Questions for Managers with Sample Response 

#5. If you were in Charge of Recruitment in a Team, How would you tell a team member to Stop Working?

Another hard interview question you will encounter during your interview for a managerial role is your approach to terminating employees’ appointments. This can be very tough. This question “How to deliver termination news to an employee’ helps employers assess a candidate’s ability to give and receive feedback, as well as their ability to make difficult decisions.

Therefore, interviews ask questions about candidates’ ability to make tough decisions to assess how willing they are to do what is necessary to ensure the success of the team, even if it means letting someone go.

Sample Response:

In a past role as a hiring manager assistant, I had to address a performance issue with a team member. Rather than abruptly telling them to stop working, I initiated a candid conversation. We discussed specific areas of improvement, created a performance improvement plan together, and provided the necessary support. This approach not only addressed the issue but also led to a positive transformation in their performance.”

#6. What Recruitment Process do you use most and how effective is the Process?

One of the key tasks of a manager is overseeing the acquisition of new talents. This requires keen attention to detail and deep knowledge of the basic skills for efficient performance of each department. So, interviewers ask this question about the best hiring technique to assess a candidate’s knowledge and experience of the recruitment process. 

Additionally, this question helps recruiters evaluate candidates’s understanding of what it takes to hire the best talent and that they can identify and mitigate any potential biases in the process.

Sample Response:

In my previous managerial role in a construction company, during the talent acquisition process, I heavily relied on a competency-based interview approach. This process involved assessing candidates based on their past experiences and behaviors. With these techniques, I was able to evaluate candidates’ skills, competence, and potential for the role. 

In the end, the process proved highly effective, resulting in a 20% increase in successful hires compared to the previous year. More so, I maintained a regular feedback routine with the team which helped us in redefining and optimizing our recruitment strategies.

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#7. Can you tell me of a time when you Noticed a Drop in Motivation with your Experienced Employers? How did you address the Situation?

Managing people can be the most difficult thing to do and this happens to be an important task for Managers. As with other roles, sometimes employers get demotivated to work and if not addressed, this can affect the function of an organization. 

Different factors contribute to this, like burnout, unmanaged work-life balance, and maybe workplace bullying or harassment. When this happens, most departments in the organization suffer too. Therefore, it becomes your duty, as the prospective manager to address such issues. 

Hence, employers ask this question to evaluate your collaboration skills and ability to communicate and manage the workers under your control. 

As a tip, this question is a typical example of a strategic interview question. To get this right, you should know what to expect in a strategic interview and the strategic answers to give. 

For instance, in responding to this question, you must apply the STAR technique to ace your interview. 

Here is a sample response: 

Sample Response

My most experienced employee, Sarah, was leading the development of a new marketing campaign. She had a proven track record of success and was known for her creativity and attention to detail. However, I noticed a dip in her motivation during this particular project.

Sarah’s enthusiasm seemed to wane as the project progressed. She missed deadlines, made careless mistakes, and seemed generally disengaged from her work. Concerned about her performance, I decided to have a one-on-one conversation with her to understand the root cause of her demotivation.

During our discussion, Sarah revealed that she was struggling with the project’s direction. She felt that her ideas were not being valued and that her input was not being considered. This lack of recognition and autonomy was taking a toll on her motivation.

To address Sarah’s concerns, I reminded her of her past successes and emphasized the importance of her expertise. I reassured her that her contributions were valued and that her input was essential to the project’s success. 

Additionally, I granted Sarah more control over the project’s direction, allowing her to make decisions and implement her ideas without excessive oversight. This empowered her and reignited her passion for the work.

Also, I made a conscious effort to recognize and celebrate Sarah’s achievements throughout the project. This positive reinforcement boosted her morale and kept her motivated.

With these strategies, I was able to address Sarah’s motivation issues. She regained her enthusiasm and drive, which helped the team deliver beyond expectations. This experience taught me the importance of recognizing the unique needs of experienced employees and tailoring my leadership approach accordingly.

More Hard Interview Questions for Managers 

  1. What is your biggest fear as a manager and how do you manage it?
  2. What strategies do you use to prevent conflicts from escalating and affecting team morale?
  3. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout?
  4. Can you describe a moment as a manager when you felt you made a significant impact on your team or the organization?
  5. Can you share a challenging experience as a manager and how you overcame the obstacles?
  6. How do you celebrate team achievements and recognize individual contributions?
  7. How do you ensure that your team’s efforts contribute to the company’s success?
  8. How do you create an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns?
  9. “How do you create opportunities for your team members to learn new skills and enhance their professional knowledge?
  10. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your employee training programs and make adjustments as needed?
  11. How would you maintain confidentiality and protect the interests of both the company and the individuals involved?


Considering the sensitive nature of Managers in organizations, it is no surprise that interviewers prepare tricky interview questions to evaluate candidates’ competence. To stay confident all through your interview process, ensure you prepare in advance. 

In addition, one good way to scale hard interview questions for Managers is through the STAR technique. With this technique, it is easier to relate to a situation in your previous position, relate to the task, and explain the actions you took and the results you achieved.

Moreover, ensure your answers are all relevant to the question you are asked and in line with the job description. Notwithstanding, if you come prepared, no matter how nerve-racking the interview process, your chances of scaling through are higher than if you did not.


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