Interviewing for a management position is all about demonstrating your strategic and analytical thinking skills and what contribution you will bring the company’s bottom line, so it’s vital that you go to your job interview thoroughly prepared.
“If you are interviewing for a management position for the first time, it is important to think about the kind of responsibility you’d be taking on in that role, and use this to demonstrate strategic thinking to your interviewer – be they your current or prospective employer,” says ManpowerGroup South Africa’s MD, Lyndy van den Barselaar.
“Prepare to highlight your skills such as decision-making, negotiation, and delegation, and to talk about your experience in managing people, projects or budgets.”
She shares her top strategies for preparing for a management position interview:
Know what type of manager you would like to be
You’re guaranteed to be asked about your personal management style so it’s important that you research and understand which type of management style you relate to best and are most likely to be.
This will give your interviewers insights into the type of leader you are, but it also demonstrates forward thinking and ambition.
Show that you understand how your management skills affect the company’s bottom line
Key to this is having a clear idea of where you fit into the organisation’s bigger picture. Once you understand your role you’ll be able to come up with strategic suggestions that will help grow the company’s profit margins.
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You should also take this opportunity to sell the ways that you and your role are critical to the effective running of the business.
Act like a manager in the interview
Your interviewer will throw curve balls at you to test your response to pressure. This is a deliberate move so it’s critical that you remain calm and speak confidently.
They want to see how you are able to command a room and get your point across in the face of pressure.
The more you’re able to demonstrate your managerial skills, the better your chances for landing the job.
Demonstrate you are a problem-solver
Being a manager means you’ll be expected to solve problems – whether business or colleague-related issues.
Van den Barselaar says showing that you’re capable of handling problems swiftly and effectively will stand you in good stead.
“Prepare notes on some experiences you’ve had in your career that required you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Ask your interviewer about possible challenges you may face in the role, and suggest some solutions to these, if possible,” she advises.
Be prepared to ask questions
“Very often, candidates would save their questions for the end of the interview. However, when interviewing for a management role, you may be encouraged to engage more in the discussion, rather than just taking part in a back and forth question and answer type conversation,” says van den Barselaar.
By asking questions during the interview you are highlighting your ability to extract necessary details in any situation.
Dress for one level higher
You need to lead by example so even if your employer isn’t fussy about dress code, you need to hold yourself to a higher standard and that means dressing for the part – not only during the interview.
If you’re interviewing at a new company, try find out what the standard dress code is for managers there to get a sense ahead of the interview.