Saturday, June 20, 2015

Interview questions for Senior Manager Position

Q.  Why are you here?
A.  Thank you for the question. I have been invited here for a formal interview against the post of a Senior Manager at your organization. I am here to discuss my possibility for this position and to explain how can I serve your organization once hired.  

Q.  What are your career ambitions?  
A.  I would like to take greater responsibilities, execute the responsibilities perfectly and thus grow with success in my career. Besides, I also like to serve my company in such a manner that the authority should also get benefited for my expertise and in fact they will hire me to invest my skills and experience for the betterment and advancement of the company. I want to be in top position in a large company and serve with my experience, dedication and talent.  

Q.  How did you deal with a conflict you might have had with a team member?
A.  Effective communication is the best way to deal with the conflicts. Usually conflicts occur for distorted information and if the information could be passed effectively, I think there would be no conflict. But if I have to experience conflicts, I would be proactive and will try to avoid that technically. Shouting loudly is not the way to solve the conflicts rather I should be diplomatic in such cases.  

Q.  What is the process you typically follow to make a decision about a plan of action?
A.  Well, I usually make a draft over the issue, consider all the pros and cons. Then I try to find out the favourable aspects and analyze the rate of success. When the rate of success and failure is equal, I do not move for the plan implementation. Instead I set another strategy, and in fact I do not set a single strategy in such matters. I made at least three different plans to reach the goal and this is done for the smooth execution of the plan of actions.

Q.  When given two or three equally viable paths to achieve an object, how do you decide which path to follow?
A.  When there are several viable ways to accomplish a plan or achieve an object, I try to get the easiest one which will consume less time for me. If I could achieve the object in the shortest possible time, I could use the extra time allocated for the task in some other aspects. But I undergo some analysis and researches to find out the easiest ways. But if there are not such ways, I try to take the way which appears hassle free to me. Besides, I would often take feedback from my co-workers to judge their opinion and to take the final decision. If previous case-studies are present regarding the same type of tasks, I would closely monitor and analyze them before deciding the final path.  

Q.  Please explain the process you used to select the college you attended.
A.  Before my admission to a college, I sought for a college which was specialized in the subjects which I wanted to study there. Besides, I also considered about the quality of education, its distance from my house, expertise of the teachers, discipline inside the college, environment and the previous results of the students. So, when everything matched with my requirement, I got admitted at the college.

Q.  What is your process or methodology for making important decision?
A.  About taking decisions on important issues, at first I think deeply over the issue. Then I try to sort out the beneficial and detrimental impacts of the issue and try to separate the positive aspects from the harmful ones. When the positive aspects appear more than the disadvantageous issues, I take the decision and implement that. But if I find that the disadvantages more than the advantages, I do not move for that or try to follow some other strategies.

Q.  When faced with several options, none of which is sufficient to accomplish your goal, how do you decide with option to pursue?
A.  In such situations, I try to make a combination of available options. Often it happens that all of the options are not suitable to serve any purpose or they might be filled with some flaws that make them defective for the purpose. Then the best way is to get the advantageous aspects of each of the options and make a better plan than before.

Q.  When is it important to make a decision quickly? When should you take time to make a decision?
A.  When there are any emergencies or specific situations, it is important to take decisions quickly. If rapid decisions are not taken, it may result in loss of lives or properties or any other serious damages. But time might be taken in some regular events when it is not that such urgent.

Q.  Have you ever delayed any decision-making? What were the consequences for your company?
A.  No, I have never delayed over taking any decision. I am responsible to perform my tasks sincerely and if I do not perform accordingly, it would be considered as my insincerity. So, I always try to be sincere and thus all the decisions were taken in the right moment.

Q.  Do you make decisions on your own without input from others? When do you seek advice from others while making decisions?
A.  Yes, I do make decisions by my own and do not need to take input from others as my present job responsibilities have authorized me to take the decisions. Since I am none of the policymakers for the organization, I have to seek advice from others when I am asked to submit any draft over changing any existing policy or if the authority want to add any policies regarding the employee's’ interest. However, I cordially invite inputs from my co-workers and consider them before taking any big decision- be it related to a project or office related issues.

Q.  What method do you employ for delegating tasks to your team members?
A.  Before assigning any task to my team member, I analyze about their skills and expertise and then ask them to perform the specific task. In fact I do not pressurize anyone for performing any task which is beyond their capacity rather often I ask them to take up from the available tasks after their own expertise. It makes my task distributions easier.

Q.  How do you ensure that tasks are successfully completed? Are there any steps you take?
A.  Before completing the tasks, I always ask my team members to show me the initial output. When the initial result is up to the mark, I permit them to complete and if I find any flaws in them, I ask them to revise or restart the task in a different way. I usually check the tasks in the beginning, middle before and after completion. This is my common strategy to ensure the quality of the task.

Q.  What type of instructions do you provide to your staff when you decide to delegate?
A.  I usually ask them to take the tasks after their ability and instruct them to meet at any of their difficulties. When any one is under trouble with the task, I come in their help and direct the right manners to complete the remaining part. Besides, I also try to show the pros and cons of the tasks and how it would be easier for them to perform.

Q.  Are there times when you shouldn't delegate?
A.  When the tasks are similar to the previous one, I do not need to delegate again with the team members. I just ask them to perform the task like the one they did earlier.

Q.  What should you assume about a team member if you want to delegate successfully?
A.  For a successful delegation, I have to show the advantageous aspects of the tasks to the team members. There might be difficulties in performing the tasks and if I describe that to the team mates before starting the tasks, they might feel discouraged. Instead, I point out on the positive aspects and focus on the benefits if the tasks are done in due time.

Q.  Tell me about an important task or assignment that you delegated?
A.  Recently I delegated over a task related to importing some machinery for the factory. The tasks involved issuing letter to the exporters in China, sending an official to the country to check the machinery before shipment, releasing them from the local custom office, setting up them at the factory, hiring working hands for installment of the machines at the factory and much more. I distributed each of the tasks to my team members and they performed all the tasks smoothly.

Q.  Is there a difference between assignment and delegation?
A.  Though both the terms refer to transfer responsibilities to any party but when it is assignment, the consent over the issue is not required but in delegation, the consent, of the party who will execute the task, is required. Assignment is mostly done under a contract while delegations have no such obligations.

Q.  What types of tasks can be delegated? What types cannot?
A.  Among the different types of tasks, some of them could be delegated and they include – the routine tasks, interesting tasks, time consuming tasks, tasks that other members enjoy doing, tasks which other people could do much better than the authority etc. But there are some other tasks which should not be delegated and they include – confidential tasks, tasks in crises moment, planning for organizational policy making, uninteresting tasks, tasks which are assigned to the distributor himself etc.

Q.  How do you decide which tasks to delegate to which employees?
A.  Considering the nature of the tasks, I usually decide which one is to delegate among the employees. If the tasks are confidential, I do not delegate them among the employees and if I think that the delegation will accelerate the progress, I delegate those tasks. However, I also consider an individual employee's experience, previous involvement in similar tasks, dedication, availability and commitment before delegating a task to him or her.  

Q.  How do you communicate expectations to your team members?
A.  Usually I maintain a friendly relationship with my team members and share my expectations to them. So, when they come to know about my expectations from them, they become self- motivated and try to reach the goals by all possible means.

Q.  How do you communicate to an employee that he or she is not meeting expectations?
A.  When I experience such situations, I politely let them know about their skills and expertise. I tell them that they were the best but the outputs are not up to the standard for the best. I suggest them that they need to focus on their tasks.

Q.  What is your preferred communication style?
A.  I like to discuss issues frankly and let the others know about how the outcomes will be. But I never use any harsh language or words that may hurt the employees. I become too careful over word selection and by the same time make them aware that their activities are being monitored by me. I prefer verbal communication in most of the cases but that does not mean that I do not do written communication as in many cases written communication if more effective. 

Q.  Describe five things about communication within a team that must be present in order to have a productive environment.
A.  Communication is a two way process and it needs much attentions. The five things for communication, to me, are – informing the recent happenings to the employees, providing both positive and negative feedback as and when required, asking for feedback over important issues, using latest technologies for communication purpose, making the messages as much simple as possible. This also helps me to have an effective reciprocal communication in the work environment in a professional manner.

Q.  On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 representing excellent, please rate your communication skills. Provide me 3 examples from previous work experiences that show the number your selected is accurate.
A.  I would like to rate 10 to my communication skills. The first example is when I was asked to disseminate a complex message to the team members, I was successful. The message was about their annual increment and they were unable to understand the complex accounts. I simplified the issue with some simple examples. They were now free of entire complexities.

Secondly, the authority had sent me to a rural area to distribute some promotional materials. But the local elites tried to have some illegal share. With an effective communication with the leaders, I made them understand that the products were only promotional materials and not just donations to the people of their locality. Initially they assumed that I am from any NGO and thus they demanded some illegal facilities from me to work or distribute the products in the area. Finally, there was a trouble with one of my junior colleague and he somehow misunderstood me over a petty issue. Thereby, he started spreading rumor against me which made me feel ashamed. So, I personally had met with the colleague and asked him why he was spreading so. He explained that he was dissatisfied on me over the issue and then I made everything clearer to him. It was the end of the dispute and he, on the next day, apologized to me before everyone. All the incidents prove that I am skilled in effective communication and make people convinced over issues they initially disagreed.

Q.  Explain how you develop relationships with managers, clients, and other colleagues.
A.  I like to meet and greet people and when I am with them, I try to appreciate each of their positive aspects. So, when they are with me, they also feel comfortable and feel glad to have me on their side. I maintain the same thing with the other managers, each of the clients and the other colleagues of mine.

Q.  Explain in detail steps and actions you've taken to build relationships with new clients.
A.  As a first step, I try to know about the potential clients and gather different information about them. Then when I meet them individually, I represent the information in such a manner that they feel comfortable with me as I care for their likes and dislikes. Then I start talking about different issues related to them and try to make them understand that I really care about each of their issues. As a result, they become comfortable with me and the relationship becomes stronger than before. Often the relationships turn into personal rather than professional and I use the bonding to achieve my goals.

Q.  What can you tell me about a team project you have successfully managed.
A.  I have successfully managed a wide number of team projects and among them the most notable one was in last month. I was assigned to run a nationwide campaign over the latest product of the company I am working for. I did that successfully and the events were covered in the leading dailies. I also arranged for advertisement of the product on television channels and it was possible only for my team. The team members provided great efforts to make the month-long campaign successful.

Q.  What is your philosophy for delegating responsibilities?
A.  I believe that people should be assigned with responsibilities which they could perform well. Accordingly, I never force anyone of my team to take extra responsibilities which may appear an illogical burden to them. But by the same time, I also try to enhance their capacities so that they could be able to take larger responsibilities.

Q.  In your experience, what makes a successful team?
A.  It appears to me that a very good understanding and effective communication makes a team successful. In a professional environment team members should be friendly and goal oriented.

Q.  Have you ever managed a team where there was a strong disagreement between team members? How did you handle it?
A.  I have managed several teams with strong disagreements. In that case, I used to share everything with the team members and asked their opinions. When they also shared their views, I sorted out the disagreements and then discussed about the issues before everyone. When everything was made clear, they used to accept the different opinions for the greater interest of the team.

Q.  What is your strategy for resolving disagreements?
A.  I try to communicate effectively. I strongly believe that the disagreements occur only for the lack of a good and effective communication. So, I try to establish a strong communication among the team members to avoid or resolve disagreements.

Q.  What is your methodology for team building? How do you select team members?
A.  When building a team, I try to get people from different backgrounds and expertise. I try to focus on a multicultural environment where everyone will have something new to learn from the other team members.

Q.  What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
A.  I inspire the team members before performing something and provide feedback. All the feedback are not always positive and sometimes the team members feel disappointed with the feedback. But in the long run, the feedback becomes effective for them and they become motivated.

Q.  How would you describe your team management style?
A.  I am strict about discipline and do not hesitate to punish the offenders. Everyone is equal to me and I also count myself as a team member instead of a senior official for the company. So, the team members are always disciplined and there are no unnecessary troubles.

Q.  Share a rewarding team experience.
A.  At times strategies fail get the jobs done but it is team members who try hard to get the jobs done. A few weeks ago, my team succeeded to be the top team of the company for their extraordinary performance. Each of the team members were rewarded with some small presents from the authority for the outstanding tasks. Really it was a rewarding team experience for me.

Q.  How do you empower team members you oversee?
A.  When I oversee someone, I try to make them empowered. I assign them with some responsibilities where they could exercise their own intuitions and intelligence. Gradually they become empowered.

Q.  Why should I hire you as a team leader? Types of people are difficult to persuade? How do you motivate others?
A.  I am capable of leading teams and achieving the preset goals by the authority. Besides, my management skills are adorable. There are different types of people and it is really difficult to persuade them. Usually I try to focus on their needs and make them understood that how my service/ product will bring some positive changes in their lives. So, when they realize the importance of my product/ service, they agree with me and accept the offers.

Q.  Describe an example of how you've demonstrated leadership in a previous job.
A.  A few team members were reluctant to perform their assigned duties and were bunking office. As a team leader, I inquired over the issue and found that they were not satisfied with their respective jobs. So, I wanted to know about their views and they shared me that they want a change in their assignments. So, I reshuffled the jobs and allowed them to take the suitable ones for them. On the other side, there were some troubles with the other members because of my decisions to reallocate the duties. But I strictly handled the troubles and none of them were allowed to speak over the issue again. I had to do this for some specific reasons. Firstly I wanted them to know that I am their leader and they are to follow my directives. If they would have done otherwise than my orders, I would have reported the issue to the top management officials who have appointed me on the post.

Q.  What specific strategies have you used to lead a team?
A.  Basically I follow some common rules and strategies to lead the team. I always allow the team members to speak up their intentions either they might prove effective or not. Then I allow them to plan for their respective tasks and share with me for further suggestions or directives. The most important thing is that I thank them for their performance and contribution on the team. As a result, the team members are happy and they try to make the things perfect.

Q.  What are the key attributes of a successful leader?
A.  A successful leader should be honest. Without being honest, it is impossible to lead a team and be successful. Besides, the leader needs an effective communication skill. Confidence is the key to success and the leader should also own it. Creativity is another attribute for a successful leader and the creativity should be exercised in the real-life situations. A positive attitude is also considered as the feature of a successful leader. Moreover, a successful leader knows very well to manage the failures and delegate among the team members.

Q.  How would past coworkers and team members rate your leadership skills? What would they say about your leadership style?
A.  On a score of 10, the past coworkers will rate me 10 and I am confident about this. They definitely will provide some positive feedback about my leadership style. I have dealt with a wide number of issues with them and in the past, they liked my style. So, there are more chances that they would adore my leadership style.

Q.  What factors do you consider when faced with tough decisions?
A.  I always considered about the detrimental impacts of the decisions and if the decisions are taken, how will I deal with the damaging impacts or how to reduce the damage level. Besides, I prefer on logic rather than emotions when it is about any tough decisions.

Q.  How do you make a decision when important facts are unavailable?
A.  Based on my intuitions, I take such decisions when the important facts are unavailable. Years of experiences have made my intuitions sharp and thus the decisions I take do not turn wrong.

Q.  What methods do you utilize to resolve problems?
A.  To resolve problems, I try to bring out the real fact and then share the issue with the people who are related or involved with the problem. After some point of view sharing, I try to reach into a solution.

Q.  Provide examples of creative solutions you relied on to solve major problems.
A.  Some of the team members and employees wanted to leave the job as the management was dissatisfied on them. At that moment I interfered on the issue and tried to make both the parties understand that everything will be fine if they become patient. I told the management that the employees have been serving for long and thus they need to be considerate on them. On the other side, I discussed with the team members and shared my views with them. They took the issues personally while I tried to make them understand that they need to be more professional when they are at work.

Q.  Explain how you've delegated responsibilities and coordinated tasks during previous projects.
A.  Based on the competency of the team members I have delegated the responsibilities and task in my previous project. I did not allow the unskilled team members to perform any heavy tasks. Rather I have shared a large task among a few of them so that they could learn something newer from the tasks.

Q.  Explain how you've adapted to project changes in the past.
A.  Many of the times, I had to adapt with the projects and a new project means newer responsibilities and activities. I used to know deeply about the changes and tried to adapt with them. I experienced some troubles with the changes for a few working days and then everything was okay.

Q.  What skills and knowledge do you still need to develop? Explain what you've done to increase your business knowledge and skills.
A.  I think I need to exercise more on my creativity. Often I cannot take creative decisions and when the decisions are taken, they appear to be usual. Nothing new is found there. I have admitted myself at a university to pursue an MBA so that I could use the earned knowledge for the development of my business knowledge and skills.

Q.  How do you manage large workloads? What do you do to prioritize daily responsibilities?
A.  I can manage large workloads and break them into small pieces. Then I allot each of the pieces to the team members and the works are done smoothly. I make a plan in every morning and prioritize my tasks. I spend a few minutes to set the priority and finish them accordingly.

Q.  Explain how you've dealt with past failures.
A.  Failure is a part of life. When I failed to do something in the past, I tried to seek out the key causes of failure and on the second attempt I never made the same mistakes again. Thus I dealt with my past failures.

Q.  How do you determine what colleagues should have key project roles?
A.  I usually use my intuitions and check the past records of the colleagues before assigning them to any key project roles. When the past records are at satisfactory level and I believe that they are able to accomplish the goals, I allow my colleagues on key roles for the project.

Q.  What is your salary expectation for this job?
A.  I usually do not have any special expectation but it is quite natural that everyone gets a 10 – 15 percent hike in their salaries when they get a new job.

Q.  Is there anything you would like to ask me? 
A.  Thank you. I have nothing to ask you from my side. But really it is a pleasure meeting you, Sir!

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