Hiring a candidate with excellent leadership skills can be challenging. According to a recent SHRM study, more than half of workers across the U.S. say that their leaders could benefit from people management training.
But there’s good news. Finding candidates with a knack for managing teams comes down to asking the right interview questions.
In this article, you’ll find 28 interview questions to help you gauge a candidate’s people management abilities. Along with general people management questions, you’ll also find questions for related competencies, including humility, ownership, and integrity.
Read on to uncover all of the people management interview questions.
General People Management Interview Questions
- You have an important decision to make for your department, and all other options will likely be unpopular with your team. What intel do you gather before making the decision? What factors do you consider?
- Give me an example of a time when you needed to tell a direct report you were unhappy with their work. How did you approach the conversation, and what was the outcome?
- Describe your process for evaluating your direct reports.
- Describe a time when you had to make a very important and difficult decision that affected everyone in your department. How did you make the decision, and what was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you built a feedback loop into the work you delegated to a direct report.
- Tell me about a major project you managed. How did you assign tasks to your direct reports? How did you monitor progress? How did you measure success along the way and post-project?
- Managers need good information to be able to make the right decisions. Do you tend to gather information up to a deadline to make a better-informed decision or gather just enough information to make a good decision quickly?
- Tell me about a time when you had to implement a new performance standard for your team.
- Give me an example of a time when you felt you led by example. What did you do, and how did others react?
- How have you successfully fostered motivation within your team(s)?
- Tell me about your most successful hire. What led you to hire the candidate? What impact did they have on your team?
Humility Interview Questions
- What’s the most useful piece of constructive feedback you’ve ever received from a direct report?
- Tell me about a time when you received a critique you weren’t expecting from leadership or a direct report. How did you react?
- What’s the biggest change you’ve made in yourself or your work based on constructive feedback?
- Tell me about your approach to furthering your team’s professional growth.
- Tell me about a time when you received feedback you didn’t agree with. How did you react?
Ownership Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when you did more work than was asked of you for a project. What did you do, and why did you determine that was necessary?
- Tell me about a time when you spoke up at work, even when it was difficult or risky for you to do so. What made you decide to speak up?
- Share a time when you were less busy than usual at work. What did you do with the extra time or resources you had?
- Tell me about a time when you were working on a project with an inefficient or ineffective process. How did you approach the situation, and how did you decide what to tackle first?
- Tell me about the last time you took the initiative to take on additional work or a project. What led you to make that decision?
Integrity Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when you could have taken a shortcut on a project, but you chose the longer route instead.
- Describe a time when you had to navigate a situation at work that went against your ethics. What happened, and what did you do?
- Tell me about a time when you had to stand up for what you believed to be the right thing. How did you approach the situation?
- Describe a time when you lead your team with integrity despite challenging circumstances. What happened?
- Share an example of a time when you gave a direct report the benefit of the doubt, and it turned out to be the right call. What happened?
- Let’s say you’re working on a project that’s due shortly, and you discover a small mistake. It’s most likely no one will notice it, and fixing it will delay the delivery. You have to decide whether to fix it or not. Which would you choose, and how would you arrive at that decision?
- Tell me about a time when you had to be honest with your team, even though it was difficult.