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10 Interview Questions to Prepare For
Half the challenge of going for a job interview is not knowing what to expect. Many otherwise highly qualified candidates may be caught off-guard by questions they don’t know how to answer. So, to help you prepare, here are the top 10 interview questions you could be asked — along with some excellent answers.
Tell Me About Yourself.
You’ll probably be asked this at the outset. It’s kind of meant as an ice-breaker, even if the thought of it makes you shudder. Don’t be afraid to be personal. Talk about your hobbies and motivations, and feel free to showcase your personality. But don’t go on too long. And try to relate what you say to the job.
Why Do You Want This Job?
No, the answer is not “for the money.” Even if it is. Interviewers expect candidates to show off their knowledge of the company, and what appeals to them about the position they’ve applied for. So you should really know the ins and outs of the role and why you (might) want to work for that particular company.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
There’s an art to answering this question; it involves spinning your weakness as a strength. You might say, for example, that you can be a bit of a perfectionist. But if you do, it’s sensible to add that your drive to meet deadlines helps you to manage your time.
What Is Your Greatest Strength?
You might be proud of your crocheting skills, but is it relevant to the job? Always remember that you’re (probably) not the only shortlisted candidate. So if your greatest strength is swimming 50 lengths in a lunch break and another’s being a “people person,” who’s going to get the job in HR?
How Do You Handle Stress?
Bearing in mind that a smoke and a drink probably isn’t an acceptable answer, try to come up with a concrete example of how you’ve dealt with pressure in the workplace in the past. Telling them you never get stressed isn’t necessarily a good idea. Even if they believe you, they might just assume you’ve only worked in cushy environments.
Why Should I Hire You?
They’re asking for your sales pitch with this one. Don’t be modest. But don’t be arrogant either. Recap the highlights of your resume and emphasize any qualifications and experience that meet the requirements for the job. And finish with your own USP.
Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?
Maybe this job is just a stopgap. Maybe in five years’ time, you won’t want anything to do with this company. But whatever you do, don’t tell them that. Instead, talk about your career progression goals and how your advancement will also be theirs. They might like to hear that you want to specialize and take on more responsibilities.
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
This is a horrible question. Not only can it knock you out of the contest if you quote a figure that’s a little too high; but employers can also hold candidates to a figure that’s well below average. Prior research is key. Find out the industry standard. And give a salary range instead of an exact sum — or, if possible, defer the question to your second interview.
Why Did You (or Will You) Leave Your Last (or Current) Job?
This isn’t an opportunity to rail against another employer. That would just seem disloyal. Even if you’re leaving under negative circumstances, focus your answer on the future. Talk about new opportunities. But also be factual and pragmatic.
Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
No, the interview hasn’t ended. This question is just as important. Many employers ask this to gauge how interested you really are in their company. So you might want to ask about the management style, or what your predecessor went on to do. You could also ask about the prospects for career advancement.
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Supervisor Interview Questions
Involved in closely supervising employees on a daily basis, supervisors are on the top rung of the lower rank of management. They’re strong leaders who know how to work hard, but they also know how to follow orders from higher ups.
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Interview Questions for Supervisors:
1. why do you think you would be a good supervisor.
This question tells you more than the skills of a potential employee — it also gives you a window into their management style. A good candidate will not just describe qualities they feel they possess. They will also tell you about a specific scenario when they were able to use skills they feel are valuable for management, and the positive impact that resulted.
2. How would you describe your management skills?
Similar to the previous question, this gives you an idea of a candidate’s management style as well as their skills.
3. What three factors improve teamwork and success?
When you ask a question like this, you give the applicant a chance to demonstrate critical thinking and analysis skills as well as to provide you with an idea of how they would manage a team. A great candidate will describe clear roles for each team member, the importance of maintaining a positive work environment, the need to listen to feedback from team members, and other factors focusing on regular, clear, and open dialogue and communication.
4. What is your management style?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but a good candidate will describe a need to adapt their supervisory style to the employee and scenario they are dealing with.
5. Describe the toughest challenge you’ve faced at work and how you overcame it.
Often, this type of question results in employees reflecting on conflict in the workplace. A demonstrated focus on the positive outcome and steps to achieve it, as opposed to a focus on the conflict or personal grievances is a very good sign.
6. How would your co-workers describe you?
Empathy is important. This question allows would-be supervisors to reflect on how their co-workers perceive them, and to provide examples of why and how that perception exists. It also allows them to mention areas they could improve their skill set, describe their strengths, and give you an idea of how they relate to their team.
7. Is there anything you would change about supervisor roles in our organization?
All processes can be improved — even when they’re already great. A candidate who has actionable ideas that can improve the workflow and cut costs, save time, or streamline processes is a great pick.
A strong candidate will have done their research on your organization and should be able to answer this question. A red flag is a lack of ideas or knowledge of your expectations and the function of supervisors in your organization.
Additional Interview Questions to Ask:
- What pay are you expecting for this position?
- How do you solve conflict on your team?
- What is the most important factor to make sure your store runs effectively?
There’s a great supervisor looking for a job with your company. Connect with them today using Betterteam, by publishing a job ad that reaches candidates across multiple channels.
Supervisor job description, manager job description, manager interview questions, office manager job description, office manager interview questions.
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- What Makes a Good Supervisor?
How to Prepare for a Supervisor Interview
Top 10 supervisor interview questions and answers, 20 more interview questions for a supervisor position, supervisor position interview questions faq.
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Summary. Supervisor interview questions are designed to find out about your leadership skills and experience. You should prepare to answer these questions by researching the company, considering your management philosophy, and thinking of examples of times you demonstrated your leadership and interpersonal skills. Interviewing for a supervisory position at a company demands greater preparation than for most other jobs. In this article, we’ll explain the qualities of a good supervisor that you should try to convey, and we’ll also provide you with 30 common interview questions for supervisory positions that you need to prepare for, as well as example answers to help you draft your own. Key Takeaways: A supervisor ’s competence — or lack thereof — directly impacts the performance of all employees they oversee, so you can bet that any interviewer is going to ask you difficult questions. The interviewer will ask you questions that assess your leadership and interpersonal skills, as well as the length and quality of your experience. Before answering these questions, it’s a good idea to prepare, learn the company’s needs and management style, and consider your own management philosophy. What Makes a Good Supervisor?
Good supervisors have strong leadership and communication skills.
Key skills include:
Planning and organization . It’s up to you to efficiently and effectively delegate employees. You need to be able to plan for the future and prepare for contingencies.
Problem-solving . Teams need to tackle problems through a unified solution. It’s up to you to provide this common direction.
Decision-making . Contrasting voices in a team lead to endless debate and zero action. Supervisors step in to make the final say and propel the team forward.
Motivating. Unmotivated team members are ineffective. You have to appeal to a common goal.
Communication . Every other skill is useless if you can’t get your idea across. It’s up to you to make sure every team member understands any crucial aspects of the project.
Energy. Teams look to their leaders for inspiration and direction. A leader who devotes themselves to the task-at-hand and leads by example motivates everyone.
Charisma. Charisma doesn’t mean that you have to be super extroverted and outgoing. It just means that your words are influential and can affect employee actions.
Empathy. When team members have an issue they need addressed, they have to believe that you’ll understand their viewpoint before they’re willing to bring it to you.
To prepare for a supervisor interview, follow these steps:
Prepare stories that demonstrate your leadership. Whether you’re applying for your first ever supervisory role or you’re an old hand at management, you need to arrive at your interview with several stories of your leadership skills in action.
Brainstorm all the times that you’ve taken ownership over a project, delegated tasks to peers or subordinates, or seen through a concept from design to implementation. Keep in mind that you’re going to be asked a wide variety of questions about your supervisory experience and inclinations, and many of these will be behavioral interview questions .
To answer behavioral questions, use the STAR method , which involves setting up a situation , describing your task , detailing the actions you took, and concluding with the result of your contributions. It’s a tidy way to organize your stories so interviewers have an easy time understanding your direct impact.
Learn the company’s needs and management style. If you’re applying for an internal management position, then you probably already have a decent idea of the corporate structure and methodology.
Consider your own management philosophy. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to simply study up and parrot exactly what the interviewer wants to hear — especially if it runs counter to your actual beliefs or preferences.
Prepare the right questions. Coming up with incisive and thoughtful questions is a big part of most supervisory roles. With that in mind, preparing great questions for your interviewer can be just the thing to set you apart from other candidates.
When answering the following questions, it’s even more important to practice smart interviewing behaviors than other job interviews.
This includes behaviors such as:
Use your body language and hands
Sit up straight
Speak clearly and confidently
A slouching, timid candidate could still make for a good software developer , but rarely an effective supervisor.
When we provide our sample answers, take note of how each of the hard and soft skills mentioned earlier is conveyed.
Also, notice how the STAR method is used to answer situational questions .
Without further ado, the top 30 supervisor interview questions you need to prepare for are:
What supervisory experience do you already have? Every single interview for a supervisory position will ask you this question early on.
You need to show how you’ve actively demonstrated the hard and soft supervisory skills mentioned earlier, as well the results that were generated.
Supervisor Interview Question Supervisory Experience Sample Answer:
“I have led many teams in the past. At my last job as a supervisor at CompanyA, I was responsible for overseeing employees from many different departments. As my team members varied widely in specializations and backgrounds, communicating effectively and resolving disagreements were critical skills. I noticed some team members were shyer and more reserved, so I told everyone that they could voice their concerns to me privately, and I would listen to what they had to say. This ensured that all employees were engaged with providing solutions to our common goals, which we always met in record times.”
Why should we hire you above other candidates? Many other job-seekers will have the same skills and experience as you, so you need to find a way to stand out and leave a strong impression .
The key to answering this question is to get a bit personal and abstract. Convey what makes you special while remaining humble.
Supervisor Interview Question Why Should We Hire You Sample Answer:
“Effective supervisors must possess the ability to communicate with all types of people. I’ve been practicing this my entire life, both inside and out of work. Whenever I’ve had to solve a problem with a team, I’ve strived to relate and listen closely to individuals of all personalities. Understanding different viewpoints allows you to appeal to a team’s shared values and communicate in a way that unites everyone. This will enable you to effectively achieve goals together .”
Have you ever hired an employee? What factors do you think are important when choosing a candidate? How you answer this question will indicate a few important traits to the interviewer.
They want to see that you’re aware of the steps required for building a solid team and know what to look for in a good teammate.
Supervisor Interview Question Hiring an Employee Sample Answer:
“Yes, at my last job, I interviewed and hired two software developers. I like to first speak with candidates over the phone, explaining our company culture and the nature of the job in detail to find out if they’re still interested. I then invite them to an in-person interview , where I assess their skill level and personal characteristics. I look for personalities that are self-motivated and mesh well with the rest of the team.”
As a supervisor, what was one critical decision you’ve had to make? You need to confirm to the interviewer that you’ve been responsible for important decisions in the past and maintained a logical thought process in doing so.
You also have to show that you were confident in making such decisions independently.
Supervisor Interview Question Decision-Making Sample Answer:
“At my previous role at Marketing A, I decided to cut a large piece of content from our client’s website. Plenty of resources had already been invested in the content, but ultimately it didn’t fit with the client’s brand. I gathered and weighed feedback from all parties involved and made the final decision.”
How have you successfully motivated employees? Supervisors are responsible for maintaining a team’s morale and adjusting their motivational techniques as needed.
Supervisor Interview Question Motivating Employees Sample Answer:
“Different co-workers require different forms of motivation. I’ve used public praise and acknowledgment of achievements to motivate many of my employees. I was able to motivate others by competitions or contests with a small prize. I’m always seeking to understand my employees’ personalities to develop effective ways of encouraging them.
How do you resolve employee disputes? You need to demonstrate prior success with resolving employee conflicts and a style of resolution that fits the company’s culture .
Supervisor Interview Question Resolve Employee Disputes Sample Answer:
“The key is to ensure both parties feel that they’ve been listened to, or else similar problems will arise. I always get everyone’s input about the conflict before making any decisions. I’ve found it helpful to bring everyone together in a room and act as a mediator . I always get an agreed-upon resolution in writing and provide a copy to everyone.”
How do you deal with employees that aren’t performing up to expectations? The recruiter wants to know that you’re comfortable addressing a team’s problems and understand how to set employee standards and goals.
Supervisor Interview Question Employees Not Performing Sample Answer:
“I recently had a marketing specialist who wasn’t responding to emails promptly and failed to deliver important documents as promised. I outlined for them the specific complaints, and we came up with a game plan together. We scheduled a time each day for them to exclusively answer emails, and discussed creating calendar reminders to help them remember to send reports to clients.”
What is your greatest supervisory weakness? Be honest and give areas in which you could genuinely learn more. The interviewer doesn’t expect you to be perfect, just that you’re self-aware and always striving to improve your weaknesses .
That being said, don’t air your critical flaws and make yourself look bad.
Supervisor Interview Question Greatest Weakness Sample Answer:
“I don’t always understand all types of personalities as well as I wish. However, I try to expose myself to all types of viewpoints and remain open-minded to steadily increase my understanding.”
What is your greatest supervisory strength ? Take this as an opportunity to brag about a critical management skill of your choice.
However, stay humble and don’t go overboard.
Supervisor Interview Question Greatest Strength Sample Answer:
“My ability to listen closely and understand what motivates people. I understand that all my employees are individuals with their own beliefs and values. By practicing empathy and allowing everyone to speak their mind, I’m able to unite teams and gather solutions to solve any problem.”
How would previous colleagues describe your supervisory style ? You want to demonstrate that you possess self-awareness and align with a company’s culture.
Supervisor Interview Question How Would Previous Colleagues Describe You Sample Answer:
“My staff would likely say that I’m supportive, but not micromanaging. I like to strike a balance between receiving regular updates from my employees and empowering them to make independent decisions. I like to analyze feedback and results to make sure I’m effectively supporting the team.”
Our supervisors need to be up to date with the latest technology. Do you view your tech skills as one of your strengths?
List how you’ve successfully used some of the tech tools essential in your industry. Also, emphasize how you’re always improving your knowledge.
As a new member, would you have difficulty speaking up during meetings?
Address the interviewer’s worries by providing a previous example of when you’ve confidently voiced your thoughts as a new hire.
How do you decide when to promote an employee?
The interviewer wants to know that you’re in tune enough with your employees to assess their abilities accurately.
What do you value most about our company culture?
Before the interview, try to find the company’s mission statement on its website.
Try to relate your personal values with those shared by the company.
Who or what inspires you?
There obviously isn’t one correct answer to this question. Whatever inspires you, just make sure to explain it in a way that conveys your passion and energy.
Tell me about the sizes of teams you’ve supervised in the past.
Rather than simply providing a number, try to quickly include a hard or soft skill in your answer.
How do you delegate tasks among your team?
There are a variety of effective strategies for delegating tasks. Whatever yours is, the interviewer wants to know that you have a logical thought process behind it.
How do you understand your employees’ aspirations?
Knowing an employee’s aspirations allows you to motivate them and help them develop their skills. Convey to the interviewer that you understand this point.
How do you introduce yourself to new employees?
The interviewer wants to know that you can make new employees feel welcome and effectively integrate them into the team.
How do you introduce yourself to a new team?
Stress that you view employees as your equals and that you strive to build positive human relationships.
How do you provide constructive feedback?
Many employees don’t respond positively to constructive feedback. The ability to effectively offer it is a mark of a great supervisor.
What’s the most valuable skill for a supervisor to possess?
The interviewer wants to know that you understand what makes a supervisor effective.
Pick one of the hard skills we mentioned earlier, explain its importance, and relate it to your own experience.
How do you take constructive criticism ?
Acknowledge the importance of not taking feedback personally. Its purpose is to improve the effectiveness of the team.
What would you do if you were falling behind on schedule?
You need to show that you understand how to identify the source of a problem and address it.
Why did you leave your previous job?
You need to assure the interviewer that you follow up on your commitments and won’t leave a team stranded. Leaving jobs after a short time isn’t a good look.
Do you consider yourself a leader?
Remain humble and self-aware when answering this question.
How do you measure team success?
The purpose of a team is to achieve a company’s goals while keeping in mind teams are also made up of humans.
You need to demonstrate a multifaceted understanding of team success.
What kind of relationship do you think supervisors and staff should maintain outside of work?
The answer to this question is both yes and no, and you need to show that you understand exactly where this line is drawn.
Has an employee ever made a significant mistake? How did you respond?
The key to answering this question is to focus on your ability to view mistakes as a learning opportunity and discuss with employees how to prevent them from happening ever again.
Has your supervisory style changed over time? If so, how?
It’s crucial to indicate that your supervision skills are always improving and that you adapt your style as necessary.
What questions are asked in a supervisor interview?
In a supervisor interview, you’ll probably be asked questions like:
Tell me about your supervisory experience.
Why should we hire you?
Tell us about a critical decision you’ve had to make as a supervisor.
How do you motivate your employees?
How do you answer supervisor interview questions?
Answer supervisor interview questions by using the STAR method. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result, and it’s a framework that helps you use an example from your past experience to answer a supervisor interview question.
Use examples that highlight your key supervisory skills and how they align with the organization’s culture, mission, and goals.
What makes a strong supervisor?
A strong supervisor is:
Good at solving problems and making decisions
Good at motivating and communicating with employees
University of Minnesota – 11 Skills Every Great Supervisor Needs
U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Supervisory Guide
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Hope Stebbins is an experienced writer and editor within the field of finance and contracts, sales, and business operations. She combines operational analysis with creativity to develop compelling written content. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Eastern University.
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Top 10 Supervisor Interview Questions And Answers
Jeff Gillis 0 Comments
By Jeff Gillis
When interviewing for a supervisory position with a company, the stakes are raised. This isn’t just an ordinary job the company is looking to fill. You’ll be in charge of other employees, so employers want to get this hire right. Since that’s the case, it shouldn’t be a surprise that supervisor interview questions are often doozies.
But what sort of interview questions for supervisors should you prepare to face? And what does a great answer look like? If you’re asking questions like that, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a look at some common questions for a supervisor interview, along with some sample answers.
Top 10 Supervisor Interview Questions with Example Answers
Supervisor interview questions and answers are an excellent resource when you’re preparing to advance your career. They can give you outstanding insights about how to stand out, as well as ensure you’re not caught off guard by questions.
After all, there are more than 681,000 supervisors working in the United States. Plus, there are plenty of job seekers who are looking to take this first step into management. That means you will face competition, so you want to be ready.
Here’s a look at the top ten supervisor interview questions and answers, as well as some tidbits about why each question is a favorite among hiring managers.
1. 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.
“In my last position, I had the opportunity to oversee several software development projects. My role involved coordinating the effort of cross-departmental teams, communicating change requests, monitoring the budget, and otherwise ensuring the project remained on target. With the second-most-recent project, I also had a unique opportunity. One of the developers hit an unexpected obstacle, and they were struggling to find a viable solution. While I have programming experience and likely could have handled the issue personally, I saw this as a chance to help a colleague excel. I put on my coaching hat and worked with them, asking them probing questions that were designed to get them to examine the situation in a new light. Using that approach and a supportive tone, I was able to guide them through a problem-solving process that resulted in a solution. Along with improving their technical capabilities, it ultimately boosted their critical thinking skills, allowing them to overcome a different challenge on their own during the subsequent project.”
2. What kind of salary are you looking for in relation to this supervisor position?
This is the nitty-gritty time. Just how good are you at negotiating? After all, this is the kind of question that has tripped up even the best of us, particularly if you aren’t prepared.
If you throw out a figure that’s too high, you could be talking yourself right out of a job. However, if you say a number too low, you might get hired at that rate, leaving you underpaid. Because of this, you should do some research ahead of time and find out what other supervisors get paid around your area .
By doing some salary research, you have numbers to reference during the conversation. Hopefully, when the position is posted online or in the paper, there is an expected salary that is listed with it. But keep in mind that this is just the starting point. And if there wasn’t a salary range published, you aren’t at a loss if you’ve dug into the data yourself.
However, when you approach this question, it’s best to be a bit ambiguous. After all, this is a job interview, not a formal offer. Since that’s the case, it’s wise to build in a little room, allowing you to learn more about what the company has in mind and give yourself space to adjust as you learn more about the role.
“Typically, I would prefer to leave salary discussions until I have a chance to learn more about the ins and outs of the position. However, based on what’s been presented thus far in the job posting and during this meeting, I have a general ballpark in mind. After a bit of research, it’s clear that supervisors in the area that take on similar duties typically earn $65,000 to $75,000 a year. Would you say that’s in line with the range your company is prepared to offer?”
3. Why should we hire you above all other applicants?
This question is typically challenging for candidates to answer, mainly because it’s inherently a bit uncomfortable. In the end, the hiring manager is basically asking, “What makes you so special?”
In most cases, you need to balance tooting your own horn with humility. It’s a fine line to tread, but it’s certainly one that’s walkable if you embrace the right strategy. Ideally, you want to focus on differentiators and results, quantifying the details whenever possible. That way, you can separate yourself a bit from the competition.
“At this point, I feel confident that you have a solid grasp on my applicable experience and key supervisory skills, including delegation, time management, communication, and other capabilities that all candidates who made it to the interview likely possess. However, I do believe I bring something unique to the table that can benefit your company. Currently, I volunteer with a program that focuses on supporting troubled youth. The benefit of that is I’ve learned not just about how to coach successfully but how to adapt my approach to the needs of individuals, many of whom were in distress. In total, I’ve helped 22 teens go from failing in school and considering dropping out to honor roll students engaged in extracurricular activities. It’s been a test of diligence and fortitude, but it’s also taught me a lot about the power of positive reinforcement, active listening, gentle persuasion, and recognition. I believe that experience has broadly shaped my approach to leadership, likely in a way that you won’t find in other candidates.”
4. Have you ever fired an employee? If so, how did you handle it?
Many supervisory roles involve terminating employees for a variety of reasons. Here, the hiring manager wants to learn more about how you approach this potentially challenging situation.
While this question requests an example, you can discuss how you’d theoretically approach the scenario if you’ve never fired an employee. Just make sure you start your answer by admitting you haven’t had to handle a termination previously, ensuring you’re honest about your lack of experience before diving into what you’d do.
“In my past role, I did have to fire one employee. Along with performance issues, there were well-documented, ongoing attendance problems. As a result, they were harming overall productivity since they were unreliable and underperforming. I approached the situation by calling the employee into my office for a meeting, giving them a degree of privacy. Next, I used a fact-based approach to describe the performance issues, including how attempts to remedy the issue were proving ineffective. Then, I outlined the attendance problems, as well as relevant company policy relating to that matter. Once that I was complete, I told the employee that I was sorry, but I had to let them go. I continued by stating that the termination was effective immediately and offered to walk them to their work area to allow them to collect their belongings and retrieve any company property before escorting them out of the building, per company policy. While it was challenging, remaining calm and fact-oriented helped show precisely why the termination was occurring. As a result, it went reasonably smoothly.”
5. How do you keep employees motivated?
Motivation plays a huge role in productivity, which is why the hiring manager wants to know how you’ll keep your team focused and engaged. If possible, outline an example of steps you’ve taken, either as a supervisor in a previous role or a team member stepping up to act as a leader.
“While I haven’t had the pleasure of working as a supervisor yet, I do have experience keeping team members motivated. During a project in my last position, we faced a series of challenges, which caused everyone to get disheartened, which harmed motivation. I chose to step up at that moment to try and keep the team engaged. During a project meeting, I mentioned an achievement for each individual relating to the project, expressing my admiration for their diligence and capabilities. Next, I discussed past projects that encountered struggles, focusing on how we overcame those issues to succeed. Then, I reminded everyone that we were in this together and that we’d assist one another as we worked through the challenges one by one, as well as expressed confidence that we could make this happen. Ultimately, that helped improve everyone’s mood in the moment, giving the team a renewed sense of energy. It made a difference, as we were able to refocus and work collaboratively to address challenges, allowing us to complete the project and achieve the desired result.”
6. How would you settle a conflict between two employees?
When you’re overseeing a team, you’ll play a role in conflict resolution. Since this question is posed as a hypothetical, you can simply outline your preferred approach. However, you can provide an example if you have one, so keep that in mind.
“If there was a conflict between two employees, my first step would be to gather information. I’d meet with each employee individually, using active listening skills like paraphrasing and asking clarifying questions to determine the root cause of the problem. While speaking with each employee, I’d also ask them to propose potential resolutions. That would help me understand what outcomes they were hoping to achieve, giving me more critical insights. After that, I’d mediate a conversation between the two employees, presenting what I learned during the previous discussions. Then, I’d work with them to find a resolution that would leave everyone satisfied. After the fact, I’d also monitor the situation and follow up with the employees individually. That would allow me to adjust the approach if the original plan proved ineffective, as well as monitor their mood and morale, ensuring I could act proactively until the situation was resolved.”
7. What is the largest number of people you have supervised at one time?
Overall, this question seems incredibly easy to answer. After all, the hiring manager is only requesting a single number.
However, it’s best to go beyond that when answering this question. By also describing the situation where you supervised those employees and similar pertinent details, your answer is more compelling.
“In my past role, I supervised a team of 12 employees. This included several front-line customer service workers, such as cashiers and customer service specialists, as well as a few working in support roles, such as stockers. As a result, I became highly familiar with each position, as well as how to motivate and coach a variety of personalities, which I believe will serve me well moving forward.”
8. How would your former team describe your leadership style?
With this question, the hiring manager is asking you to view your capabilities from the perspective of those you supervise. It gives them a clearer picture of the traits you exude, allowing them to determine how you’d likely come across in the role if hired.
“I believe my former team would describe my leadership style as a mix of servant and transformational leadership. I feel that one of my main purposes as a supervisor is to support and guide my team, so I’m diligent about removing roadblocks, providing coaching, and stepping in to help when they need a hand. However, I’m also growth and development-oriented. Along with examining processes to see if we can do it better, I look for opportunities to help my team acquire new skills and explore new experiences. Additionally, I consistently treat failure as an opportunity, ensuring my team can find value in the learning experience, allowing them to continue to improve and, ultimately, reach new heights.”
9. Tell me about your least favorite manager or supervisor. How did that experience shape your approach to leadership?
Many candidates view this question as a bit dastardly, mainly because it’s setting you up to potentially badmouth a past manager. However, with the right approach, you can answer it well without coming across as insulting or judgmental.
“In one of my earlier jobs, I encountered a manager whose style didn’t align with my needs. Their primary approach was most akin to micromanaging. They liked things done their way, even if it wasn’t the most efficient. Additionally, they had a tendency to get overinvolved, requesting updates far more often than necessary, and generally found reasons to speak poorly of everyone’s performance, even if the task was handled in the desired way and the quality was high. Ultimately, that experience showed me how that sort of leadership could harm morale. As a result, I work diligently to avoid the trappings of micromanaging a team. Instead, I provide a degree of autonomy, show trust by giving my employees space while getting updates at reasonable intervals to stay apprised, and embrace the power of recognition. I believe that makes me more effective, allowing me to support and guide a team without crossing into micromanaging territory.”
10. How would you begin overseeing a new team? Is there a change you’d make right away?
Here’s a question that helps the hiring manager figure out how your initial time on the job may go. If you have an example of when you started overseeing a new team based on your past work experience, you can reference it. However, it’s also fine to speak hypothetically.
“Generally, when I begin working with a new team, I avoid making any immediate changes. Instead, I spend my initial time getting to know each employee and exploring the overall team dynamic. Additionally, I focus on learning about struggles, obstacles, and roadblocks they regularly encounter that I could possibly solve, as well as what’s working well, ensuring I don’t disrupt a functional process. Only after that assessment do I consider making changes. That way, I can focus on areas that would genuinely benefit from improvement, ensuring I’m not pushing for change for the sake of change.”
30 More Common Supervisor Interview Questions
- Have you ever had to discipline an employee, and how did you handle it?
- Our supervisors are up to date on the latest technology. Do you view your tech skills as one of your strengths?
- If you were falling behind on production goals, how would you remedy the situation?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Can you see yourself staying with the company for a long time if you are hired for the supervisor position?
- Would you live in the community around here, or do you see yourself commuting?
- As a supervisor, what is your greatest strength?
- As a supervisor, what is your greatest weakness?
- If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?
- Have you ever had a good supervisor, and what made them stand out to you?
- Do you lead by example as a supervisor?
- Why would you want to leave your current job?
- What is your managing style like?
- How would you create a team atmosphere with the employees?
- How would people describe you?
- How do you think people that don’t know you would describe you?
- If needed, would you be able to work overtime?
- Are you open to suggestions from others?
- Can you keep an open mind, or are you set on making all the decisions?
- We sometimes hire people with disabilities. Would you be able to work with others effectively that are quite a bit different than you?
- Being the new hire, would you have a hard time speaking up during meetings?
- What has been your greatest accomplishment in life?
- What steps do you take to create a positive culture?
- How do you approach positive feedback? What about constructive criticism?
- Tell me about the most challenging person you’ve ever supervised. Why was it difficult, and what did you do to ensure success?
- What skill do you think all great leaders have in common?
- Can you tell me about your favorite manager or supervisor? What did you like about them? Did your experience with them shape your management style?
- In your own words, what’s the difference between being a manager and a leader?
- Tell me about a time when you were held accountable for a subordinate’s actions. What occurred, and how did you handle the situation?
- Do you have any questions for me?
This question is asked at the end of most interviews. Do not just shrug your shoulders, say not really, and then stand up to leave. The interviewer may think you are just in a hurry to get out of there and are not really interested in the supervisor position. Take advantage of this moment. Turn the tables on them with these five questions:
- What’s the biggest challenge this team currently faces that you’d like the new supervisor to solve?
- Can you describe the current team dynamic?
- What management style did the last supervisor who held this position use? Do you feel it was effective?
- Are there any upcoming changes the new hire in this role will have to lead the team through?
- How will you measure success for this position?
NOTE: For more great questions to ask in an interview, check out our article !
Putting It All Together
While answering supervisor interview questions is a bit intimidating, you can use the tips above to your advantage. Review the question and example answers. Then, start creating your own responses.
The only way to get better at interviews is to practice. Just make sure you do some research along the way, making it easier to create standout answers. After all, your foot is in the door. It is up to you to open it the rest of the way.
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- Tell Me About Yourself
- Why Should We Hire You?
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Top 30 Supervisor Interview Questions
Updated October 23, 2022
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With the opportunity they provide for career progression , often with an eye on a path into management, supervisor vacancies are in high demand.
Beyond what its job title would suggest, the supervisor role stretches far beyond simply managing a team.
As a supervisor, you will be expected to:
- Possess a high level of interpersonal skills
- Be able to delegate effectively
- Be a good communicator
- Have the ability to plan ahead
- Solve problems and make decisions on behalf of your team
Salaries for supervisor roles in the US vary, depending on geographical location, employer, industry and the number of employees you are responsible for; but an average starting salary is around $36,000.
How to Prepare for a Supervisor Interview
One of the best ways to stand out as an ideal candidate in an interview is to do your research and plan ahead.
First, thoroughly read through the job advert and description so that you have a complete picture of what the supervisor role entails.
For instance, look for the following:
- How many people will you be responsible for?
- What is the reporting structure between your team, you and your superior?
- Will you be expected to work overtime on a regular basis? With or without pay?
Second, research your employer . This shows respect, foresight and enthusiasm for the industry.
Third, read ' 10 Surprising Job Interview Tips You May Not Know ' .
Finally, plan your answers to any questions you may be asked in the interview, bearing in mind the specifics of the role advertised.
Prepare for the Supervisor Interview with JobTestPrep
To help you with that process, here are 30 supervisor interview questions with an explanation of potential answers:
Top 30 Supervisor Interview Questions and Answers
Avoid those awkward interview pauses while you think up an answer to a question by considering responses in advance, such as those below:
1. ‘Tell Me a Bit About Yourself and Your Experiences So Far’
This first question can often trip people up into providing a lengthy answer that includes little information relevant to the job at hand.
The purpose of this question is to find out why you think you are suitable for the job. What makes you an ideal candidate? What value can you bring to the supervisor position and the business?
Your answer should be succinct and relevant . Mention where you are now, give a brief description of how you progressed to this point, then outline the experience, skills and qualifications you possess that make you ideal for the supervisor vacancy.
For more on this question, see our article on ' Answering the Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself '.
2. ‘What Qualities Do You Think the Ideal Supervisor Has?’
The purpose of this question is to check whether you have a thorough knowledge of not only what a supervisor does but also the kind of person best suited to the job.
Your answer should not be a list of all the tasks and responsibilities included in the job advert. Instead, provide your understanding of the type of person who can best fulfill a supervisor role .
Your answer should include:
- The ability to deal with a variety of personality types, skill sets, age groups and backgrounds
- The ability to adapt to changing situations, solve problems and make decisions on behalf of the whole team
- Good communication skills across all levels of the business, for instance with their team, manager or other supervisors
- The ability to understand, lead and motivate their team
- Organisational skills
- The ability to draw together the workloads of each team member into an overall plan and measure both team and individual performance
This question refers to an ‘ideal’ supervisor but bear in mind the actual supervisor role you are interviewing for too.
3. ‘Tell Us About How Your Management Style Has Evolved’
At this point, you generally will not know what management or supervisory style is preferred by your employer, so you can best answer this question by showing confidence in your management style but also your ability to adapt that style when necessary .
Provide examples of how your management style may have changed as you have progressed in the workplace and how you have applied your style in different situations.
You may find it helpful to read our article on ' Leadership Skills '.
4. ‘What Would You Do if You Were Falling Behind on Your Targets?’
This question is all about problem solving ; specifically, how you will solve the employer’s problems.
Your answer should demonstrate that:
- You can drill down to the root cause of the problem
- You not only have an effective overview of the team’s performance but can also isolate the performance of each team member
- You can adapt to a changing situation
- You understand your team and know how to motivate them
- You can assess your performance
- You can put a plan of action in place to redress the situation
If possible, provide examples of how you have successfully handled this situation in the past.
5. ‘How Do You Keep Employees Motivated?’
From an employer’s point of view, the most important part of a supervisor’s role is to maintain an effective and well-performing team. One of the easiest ways to do this is to understand your team and know exactly how to motivate them.
Your answer should therefore demonstrate how you will:
- Build a working relationship with your team so that there are open lines of communication in both directions
- Ensure each team member knows exactly what is expected of them
- Work with your team to set targets and take on board their feedback and suggestions
- Encourage teamwork and collaboration
- Handle employee concerns
You should also describe how you have motivated employees in your current or past jobs.
Your answer should reassure the employer that you are capable of supervising a team on their behalf .
6. ‘How Would You Settle a Conflict Between Two Employees?’
Similar to question 5, this seeks to discover whether you can effectively handle your team and maintain its effectiveness.
It also ensures that you are aware of the importance of following human resource legislation and company procedures .
Your answer should address:
- Your method of dealing with conflict between employees; for instance, speaking to each employee separately, investigating complaints and speaking to other team members
- Your awareness of grievance procedures
- How you have settled a conflict between two employees in the past
7. ‘Have You Ever Had to Discipline an Employee and How Did You Handle It?’
This question asks you to demonstrate your authority as a supervisor and your communication skills .
- How you communicated with the employee
- How you implemented the disciplinary action
- What could be learned from the situation
As with the previous two questions, the employer wants to know that you can handle a team of employees across a variety of scenarios, including those that are challenging.
8. ‘Tell Me About a Time You Disagreed With a Decision at Work and How You Handled It’
The purpose of this question is to find out how well-developed your communication skills are, how you deal with conflict and your level of maturity in the workplace.
When answering this question, do not criticize the other party . State the reasoning for your disagreement, how you expressed that disagreement, any action you took to reach a resolution and how you reacted to the outcome.
9. ‘Tell Me About a Time You Had to Learn a New Technology/System in Your Role and How You Approached Learning It’
With any new job, there will be some element of learning, whether that is learning a new role, a new industry, a new computer system or acclimatizing to a new company culture. This question tells the employer how well you adapt to learning.
Try to use an example of past learning that is relevant to the job you are interviewing for, if possible.
- What this new technology or system was and why was it necessary to learn
- How you assisted the learning process (for instance, carrying out prior research)
- What the outcome was
Concentrate on the positive side of the experience.
10. ‘Have You Ever Fired Someone? Please Explain the Steps You Took to Carry Out the Dismissal’
What the employer is looking for here is a demonstration of good communication skills , knowledge of best practice and a genuine concern for the welfare of your team .
It may be that the answer to this question is ‘no’, in which case, the employer will pass on to the next question or perhaps ask you to consider an imaginary situation where you dismissed an employee.
Do not criticize the dismissed employee or share their personal details. Simply state why their behavior was unacceptable. Outline any actions you took to resolve the situation before it escalated to dismissal and how you communicated with the employee.
Describe the steps taken in the dismissal process, including the grievance procedure, any investigation carried out, meetings held and correspondence sent.
11. ‘What Is the Largest Number of People You Have Supervised at One Time?’
Where you have supervised a team before, this is a straightforward answer to give.
However, where this is your first supervisor role, there may still be supervisory examples that you can mention.
For example, you chaired a project committee of eight workmates with a past employer or you organized 24 volunteers for a local fundraiser.
12. ‘What Are Your Salary Expectations for This Role?’
Supervisor vacancy adverts will generally state a salary. This may be a starting salary or a salary range.
However, this figure should always be seen as the beginning of a negotiation .
The best way to prepare for this question is to research supervisor salaries:
- In similar organizations
- In the same geographical area
- In the same industry
- Within the employer’s existing workforce
By researching supervisor salaries, you can be confident that your response to this question is reasonable. If the employer dismisses your suggested salary figure as outlandish, you can cite your research findings.
For more on this, read ' Answering: What Are Your Salary Expectations? '.
13. ‘Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years From Now?’
When an employer asks this question, they want to know whether your career goals are compatible with the supervisor role and the career path available within the company.
Recruitment is a time-consuming and expensive process for any organization, so staff turnover is always a major concern .
When you answer this question, bear this concern in mind. Explain how this supervisor role will help your career progression .
If you are unsure where you will be in five years , say so but again express the value of the supervisor role to your growing work experience.
For more on this questions, see our article on ' Answering the Interview Question: "Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?" '
For more information on career goals and progression, read 'Career Planning Tips'.
14. ‘Can You See Yourself Staying With the Company for a Long Time if You Are Hired for the Supervisor Position?’
This is a re-worded version of the five-year question but may also signify that the employer favors employees who will stay with them for several years.
As with question 13, explain how the supervisor role is a valuable step in your career progression.
15. ‘Would You Live in the Community Around Here or Do You See Yourself Commuting?’
The benefit of living close to your place of work is the ease of availability, whereas commuting each day may mean that you are less able to work extra hours, for instance.
You may decide to commute initially until you are settled in the role and then relocate closer, or certain restrictions such as childcare provision may prevent you from moving home altogether.
One thing to bear in mind is whether the employer provides a relocation package.
Whichever choice you make, be honest . If you feel that the employer would prefer that you live ‘in the community’ but you are unable to make that move, then express your commitment to the role.
16. ‘As a Supervisor, What Is Your Greatest Strength?’
Be honest but keep your reply relevant to the role you are interviewing for.
Relevant strengths for a supervisor role include:
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Team-building skills
It may be helpful to provide examples of your strengths in your current or a previous job.
For more on this, read ' Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths?" '.
17. ‘As a Supervisor, What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’
This is rarely a comfortable question to answer because you want to make a good impression, but it can provide insight into how well you learn from your mistakes and how honest you are.
Explain what you feel is your greatest weakness as a supervisor but follow up with how you are trying to improve .
For example, your greatest weakness may be your tendency to micro-manage because you want everything to be completed efficiently, but you are attempting to develop your delegation skills and place more faith in your team and their ability to work independently of you.
For more help with this topic, read ' What Is Your Greatest Weakness? '.
18. ‘If You Could Improve One Thing About Yourself, What Would It Be?’
This is like the previous greatest weakness question but less specific. It does not mention the supervisor vacancy, but you should make your answer relevant to that role .
As with question 17, explain what you would like to change and the actions you would take to make that change.
19. ‘Have You Ever Had a Good Supervisor and What Made Them Stand Out to You?’
Similar to question 2. ‘What Qualities Do You Think the Ideal Supervisor Has?’ – this question asks you to apply your answer to a real-life situation.
Remember to connect the qualities that made the good supervisor stand out to you with the supervisor role you are interviewing for.
For instance, if the factor that impressed you about that person was their ability to effectively supervise a team of 30 employees across three work sites, this may not be a relevant point to mention if the role you are interviewing for is to supervise a team of five in one location.
Find an aspect of their behavior that applies to the vacancy advertised.
20. ‘How Would You Lead by Example as a Supervisor?’
This question asks you to demonstrate your leadership skills and how you will communicate with your team.
Ways to lead by example as a supervisor include:
- Having a thorough knowledge of what your team is working on, the business and the industry as a whole
- Working alongside your team rather than supervising from afar
- Respecting and listening to your team
- Having your team’s back
- Respecting your team sufficiently to confidently delegate work to them an avoid micromanaging
- Taking responsibility for the team’s performance, whether it is good or bad
As with any interview question, cater your answer to the supervisor role you are interviewing for.
21. ‘Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?’
This can be a difficult question to answer while remaining positive and not criticizing your current employer.
Instead of expressing the negatives of your current job, concentrate on the positives of the job you are applying for .
An example answer:
I’m ready for the next stage in my career progression. I feel that I have developed my skills to a level that I could effectively supervise a team. While I have enjoyed working for my current employer, they can’t offer me that opportunity.
For more on this, read ' The Top 10 Reasons to Leave a Job ' and ' Answering the Interview Question: "Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?" '.
22. ‘Why Do You Want to Work for This Company?’
This is where your prior research of the company comes into play. What attracts you to the business ?
It could be:
Company culture , such as encouraging flexitime, desk-sharing and working from home
What the company does and how they do it; for example, a charity for the elderly who specialize in companionship services
The opportunities that the company offers over and above its competitors, which could include mentorships and funding for training
Make it clear that you are knowledgeable about the company .
For more information, see our article on ' Answering the Interview Question: "Why Do You Want to Work Here?" '
23. ‘How Do You Foster Team Spirit?’
An effective team is one that works together towards a joint goal and values the input provided by each member. This is ‘team spirit’.
Your answer to this question may be based on your experience of team building or the way you interact with your colleagues, but could include:
Hiring individuals who will work well with the other members of the team, building the right mix of personalities and skills
Discussing goals and performance with the whole team to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of what they are striving for
Making it clear what each team member brings to the team and what tasks they are responsible for
Communicating regularly with the team, both as a whole and individually
Celebrating achievements together
Team building exercises
You may find it useful to read ' Team Building in the Workplace '.
24. ‘How Would Your Colleagues Describe You?’
First, be honest . Second, give positive and upbeat responses. This question may include your manager as a colleague, so remember that your answer may be verified, or negated, by the reference they provide .
Choose a response that highlights skills relevant to the supervisor role.
For instance, you could concentrate on your interpersonal skills by saying that your colleagues would pick you out as someone they can turn to when they need to talk things over to gain clarity on a situation.
Alternatively, you could focus on your team-building skills by stating how your colleagues have told you how good you are at bringing people with differing opinions together.
For more on answering this question, see ' Answering: "How Would You Describe Yourself?" '
25. ‘How Do You Think People That Don't Know You Would Describe You?’
Responding to this question requires a level of self-assessment . It asks you to see the world through the eyes of another person, which is a valuable skill for a supervisor.
As with question 24, your response should be honest, positive and relevant. For instance, you might say that a stranger would see you as approachable, a good listener or authoritative.
This article on how to describe yourself may be useful to begin your self-assessment.
26. ‘If Needed, Would You Be Able to Work Overtime?’
The answer to this question will depend on your current situation. Do you have a lengthy commute or are your working hours restricted by childcare? Or, are there no outside restrictions on your working hours?
Answer honestly, but do not feel pressured to say 'yes' or to state how often you could work overtime.
27. ‘Are You Open to Suggestions From Others?’
This can appear quite a vague question until you consider it in the context of a supervisor role.
This question balances communication skills (listening to your team and acknowledging their contribution) with leadership skills (assessing the effectiveness of the suggestion and deciding on whether to implement it).
Answer the question in the context of the supervisor role, emphasizing both your communication and leadership skills.
28. ‘Can You Keep an Open Mind or Are You Set on Making All the Decisions?’
The question asks whether you have a fixed mindset or can adapt to a changing situation. Looking back to question 2. ‘What Qualities Do You Think the Ideal Supervisor Has?’ – one of those qualities was the ability to adapt.
As with question 27, the answer to this question should be a balance between decisiveness and communication, with the added element of flexibility .
29. ‘What Has Been Your Greatest Accomplishment in Life?’
This question asks for your greatest accomplishment in a work context . The best way to decide which ‘accomplishment’ to mention is to do your research. Read through the job advert and description again and research the company. Is there a specific accomplishment that would fit with aspects of either of these factors?
Next, consider how you can describe this accomplishment in a way that demonstrates skills and knowledge that would easily transfer to the supervisor role you are interviewing for.
Also see our article, ' How to Answer the Interview Question: “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?” '
30. ‘Do You Have Any Questions for Me?’
Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and the company by asking your own questions at the end of the interview.
Prepare a list of open-ended questions that are not answered by the job advert and description and are unlikely to be mentioned in the job interview.
Prepare five or more questions, but on the day of the interview, only ask the two or three that are most pertinent .
Areas on which you could ask questions include:
Training and development – Does the company fund its employees to take external courses?
Company culture – What are the greatest challenges being faced by the company right now?
Your performance in the interview – How do you feel I could have improved my performance in this interview?
The supervisor vacancy – What would be the focus for my first six months in the supervisor role?
The industry – How certain developments (specific to that particular industry) have affected the company
Remember, these are just examples and are not an exhaustive list. You must ask questions that are relevant.
For more on this topic, read ' Questions to Ask Your Interviewer '.
Give yourself the best chance possible of standing out as an ideal candidate by:
- Thoroughly reading the job advert and description
- Researching the company
- Assessing your skills and experience
- Researching the supervisor role in general
- Preparing answers to interview questions like those mentioned in this article.
- Access to your own specialist writer
- Unlimited revisions for 12 months
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24 Supervisor Interview Questions with Answers & How To Prepare
Answering supervisor interview questions as part of the job application process can be challenging. Supervisor recruiters typically have unique requirements for their team members, and their questions can be challenging to answer.
Paying close attention to the specific needs of each role you apply for and prepare responses that reflect your qualifications and experience.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common supervisor interview questions and tips and tricks on responding. If you want the best chance of success in your application, read on to learn more.
What are employers and hiring managers looking for when interviewing people for a supervisor role?
Employers and hiring managers typically seek individuals with strong leadership skills, the ability to motivate and manage a team, and good problem-solving abilities. It is essential to be prepared to discuss your qualifications and experience and your ability to meet the position’s specific requirements. They may also ask about your experience in a supervisory role or a related field.
Here are some of the top skills to consider developing :
Resilience to stress
The first skill to consider developing is resilience to stress. As a supervisor, you may face stressful situations regularly, and it is essential to have the mental flexibility and emotional intelligence to handle any challenges.
One of the essential qualities of successful supervisors is strong leadership skills. You should be prepared to discuss your experience leading teams and employees and strategies and tactics you have used successfully in past management roles.
A key component of being an effective supervisor is having excellent time management skills. Employers want individuals who can prioritize tasks effectively, delegate efficiently, and complete projects promptly – so be sure to highlight any examples from your previous roles that demonstrate these abilities.
Good communication is essential for a successful supervisor. You should be prepared to discuss your experience communicating clearly and effectively with teams and the methods you have used to ensure everyone understands their tasks.
The ability to foster teamwork and collaboration between team members is an essential skill for supervisors. Employers will likely ask questions about this topic, so it’s best to have examples demonstrating your ability to work with diverse personalities and help them work together towards a common goal.
Accountability & Organization
Supervisors must also be able to hold their teams accountable and maintain organization in the workplace. Be prepared to discuss how you regularly check in with team members and provide feedback where needed. Additionally, employers will want to know how you ensure tasks are completed on time and that the work environment is productive and efficient.
Finally, supervisors must be able to solve problems quickly and effectively. Employers may ask questions about specific scenarios or challenges you have faced in the past, so it’s important to have examples ready of how you handled them successfully.
By preparing for these supervisor interview questions, you can set yourself up for success during the hiring process.
24 Interview Questions for a Supervisor
Now that we’ve covered the top skills supervisors need, let’s look at some of the most common interview questions for this role.
1. In your opinion, what qualities are most essential for a good supervisor?
This question gives you a chance to demonstrate your understanding of what it takes to be a successful supervisor.
Answer: I believe the essential qualities for a good supervisor are strong communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to foster team collaboration and trust, strong problem-solving skills, accountability and organization, and the ability to lead by example.
Motivating, inspiring, and providing clear direction for team members are also essential. Additionally, a good supervisor should be able to delegate tasks effectively and foster an environment that enables employees to reach their highest potential. Finally, supervisors need to know when they need help or guidance from upper management.
2. What do you expect supervisors to be responsible for?
This question reveals your understanding of the role and expectations of supervisors.
Answer: The primary responsibility of a supervisor is to ensure that their team is performing well and meeting deadlines. This means overseeing day-to-day operations, giving feedback on tasks and assignments, monitoring progress, providing feedback to employees on how they can improve, and holding team members accountable for their performance.
3. For success in teamwork, what are your top three factors?
This question allows you to discuss your experience with team dynamics and your strategies for successful teamwork.
Answer: I believe that the three most important factors for success in teamwork are clear communication, trust and respect between team members.
4. What’s your ideal salary or compensation for this role?
This question is intended to help employers determine if you are within their budget parameters.
Answer: My ideal salary or compensation for this role would commensurate with my experience and the position’s responsibilities. I understand that budgets play a part in deciding on salary and I am open to discussing fair compensation based on market standards.
5. When is the earliest date you could start this position?
This question is intended to help employers determine if you can start the position promptly.
Answer: Based on my current commitments, the earliest I could begin this position would be two weeks from today.
6. For how many years have you been a supervisor?
This question reveals your experience in supervision.
Answer: I have been a supervisor for five years, leading large and small teams in various industries. I have developed and fostered excellent communication, organization, problem-solving, and team collaboration skills during this time.
6. What qualities do you have that make you the best candidate for this role?
This question allows you to discuss the attributes that make you uniquely qualified for the position.
Answer: My strengths include strong interpersonal and communication skills; effective problem-solving abilities; an understanding of team dynamics and how to foster collaboration and trust within teams; ability to delegate tasks effectively; knowledge of industry standards; an aptitude for quickly learning new concepts; tenacity and attention to detail; and motivation towards consistently meeting goals and deadlines. These qualities combined make me a strong candidate for this position.
7. What was the main reason you decided to leave your previous job?
This question helps employers understand why you are looking for a new role.
Answer: After five years in my previous position, I felt I had reached a plateau regarding professional growth and development. I wanted to find a role where I could leverage my experience and take on additional responsibilities while continuing to learn and develop professionally.
8. What are your long-term goals?
This question reveals your ambition and career trajectory.
Answer: My long-term goals include advancing as a supervisor with increasing responsibility and eventually leading or managing teams in a larger or more complex environment. I also plan to continue my education and gain additional certifications that will allow me to become an even stronger leader and team member.
9. What words would you use to describe yourself?
This question allows you to highlight any essential qualities that might be pertinent to this role.
Answer: I would describe myself as reliable, organized, motivated, detail-oriented, and results-driven. I am passionate about developing teams and helping them reach their goals. I am also an excellent communicator with a knack for understanding complex concepts quickly and efficiently. Finally, I strive for excellence in all aspects of my work and take pride in producing high-quality results.
10. How many hours per week would you be available to work?
This question will help the employer understand your availability and how much you are willing to commit to the position.
Answer: I am available to work 40 hours per week and can be flexible with my schedule if needed.
11. How do you prefer to manage or lead people?
This question reveals your leadership style and allows employers to assess whether it is a good fit for their team.
Answer: I prefer an open, collaborative approach when managing or leading people. I believe in creating an environment of trust and respect where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas, opinions, and concerns. I also strive to get input from all team members and consider their feedback when making decisions.
12. What attributes do you bring to the table that make you an excellent leader?
This question allows you to highlight qualities or skills that make you stand out as a leader.
Answer: As a leader, I bring strong communication and interpersonal skills, a collaborative approach, adaptability and problem-solving abilities, and an eye for detail. I have a track record of successfully managing teams, delegating tasks effectively, meeting deadlines and goals, and setting clear expectations for team members.
13. What factors do you consider when determining whether or not a team member is meeting your expectations?
This question helps employers understand how you evaluate team performance.
Answer: When determining whether or not a team member is meeting my expectations, I consider their overall quality of work, the timeliness of their deliverables, their ability to work independently and collaboratively with the team, and any feedback that supervisors or peers have given.
14. What does your planning process look like?
This question reveals how you strategize and manage projects.
Answer: My planning process typically starts with breaking down tasks into manageable steps and creating timelines for each step. I then assign tasks to team members while ensuring achievable and realistic deadlines. Once plans are in place, I monitor progress regularly while keeping an eye on overall objectives.
15. In what work environment do you perform at your best?
This question allows employers to understand the conditions in which you thrive.
Answer: I perform best in a professional, organized, and collaborative work environment. My ideal team is composed of highly motivated and competent individuals who are open to constructive feedback and can efficiently communicate with each other. Accessing relevant resources and tools helps me reach my goals quickly and effectively.
16. Have you ever let go of an employee?
This question will give employers insight into how you handle difficult situations.
Answer: Yes, I have had situations where it was necessary to let an employee go. In such cases, I approach the problem with empathy and compassion while ensuring fairness is observed throughout the process. I also provide feedback and help employees understand why they were let go so they can learn from their mistakes.
17. How do you welcome newcomers to your team and help them feel comfortable?
This question will show employers how well you integrate new people into the team environment.
Answer: When welcoming a new teammate, I take time for introductions during which everyone talks about themselves, their backgrounds, interests, and roles in the company. After this initial introduction period, I assign tasks to each individual based on their skill sets and provide support and guidance when needed.
I also offer open feedback sessions so the newcomer can ask questions or provide suggestions freely in a safe environment. Ultimately, I strive to create an atmosphere of inclusion and mutual respect where newcomers feel comfortable and valued.
18. How do you assign work to other people?
This question reveals how you delegate tasks and distribute workloads.
Answer: When assigning work to other people, I like to consider the individual’s strengths and weaknesses to ensure everyone works on tasks that suit them. I also support and respect personal boundaries while encouraging collaboration among team members. Lastly, I strive to create clear expectations and timelines, so everyone knows what is expected from them.
19. What specific actions can you take to lead by example for your team members?
This question helps employers understand your approach to leading a team.
Answer: To lead by example, I prioritize communication amongst my team members, strive to be a mentor and advocate for each individual’s needs, and demonstrate accountability by taking ownership of my actions.
I also keep an open dialogue with my team, so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. Additionally, I set realistic goals and expectations while encouraging creative problem-solving within the group.
20. Is it okay to mingle with employees who report to you outside work?
This question allows employers to gauge your understanding of relationship boundaries in the workplace.
Answer: No, mingling with employees who report directly to me is inappropriate. Creating personal relationships can lead to favoritism, compromising the trust and respect needed for a successful team working environment. Therefore, I strive to maintain professional boundaries with all my team members in and outside the workplace.
21. In the past, how many employees have you been in charge of?
This question reveals the size and scope of the teams you have managed.
Answer: In the past, I have been in charge of teams ranging from five to fifty people. As a team leader, I was responsible for delegating tasks, setting goals and expectations, providing feedback and guidance, addressing any issues or conflicts within the team, and managing budgets.
22. When you were in charge, what methods have you found to be most effective in cutting costs?
This question shows employers your ability to manage resources efficiently.
Answer: When making cost-cutting decisions while in charge of a team, I have found it most effective to carefully assess the situation and create a plan that meets the team’s needs and budgetary constraints.
This usually involves reducing expenses associated with travel, overtime pay, office supplies, etc., while ensuring that the quality of work is not compromised. Additionally, I strive to develop innovative ways to streamline processes to save time and resources.
23. Have you ever participated in contract negotiations?
This question allows employers to gauge your negotiation skills.
Answer: Yes, I have had experience negotiating contracts with clients or vendors on behalf of a company. In my previous roles, this has involved understanding client needs and creating an agreement that meets those needs while achieving the company’s best possible outcome.
I am highly knowledgeable of contract law and take a strategic approach to negotiations by being prepared, listening actively, considering options and potential solutions, and communicating clearly.
24. What equipment or software have you used in the past?
This question allows employers to evaluate your technical knowledge and experience.
Answer: In the past, I have used various software programs such as Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Basecamp Project Management Software, Slack Collaboration Software, Salesforce CRM System, QuickBooks Accounting Software, and Autodesk 3D Modeling Software.
Additionally, I have had experience using various types of office equipment such as printers/scanners/copiers, video projectors and displays for presentations, electronic whiteboards for brainstorming sessions, and digital cameras for photo or video shoots.
Questions for You to Ask in a Supervisor Interview
After you have shared your experience and ideas with the interviewer, it’s time to ask your questions.
Consider asking any of the following:
When do you need someone to start in this position?
Asking this question will help you understand the timeline for filling the position, allowing you adequate time to prepare.
To whom I will be reporting?
Knowing who your direct supervisor is can provide insight into the company hierarchy and culture. It also allows you to understand your day-to-day work environment better.
Could you describe the training process for new employees?
Asking this question shows employers that you are serious about getting up-to-speed quickly and efficiently in your new role. It also reveals the team’s organizational structure and how they handle onboarding new hires.
How often do you measure employee performance?
Knowing how often and under what criteria employees are evaluated can provide insight into the employer’s expectations for your role. It also allows you to understand their feedback process better so that, if needed, you can make changes accordingly.
What is the leadership style of this organization?
Understanding the company’s leadership style will help you understand the overall culture and working environment. It also gives insight into how decisions are made and enables you to determine whether or not it will be a good fit for your needs.
What qualities and qualifications would the perfect candidate possess for this role?
Asking this question shows the employer that you are eager to meet their expectations and understand what they value in an employee. It also provides insight into the specific skills and experience they are looking for, allowing you to assess whether or not you have what it takes to be successful in this role.
Tips For Preparing for a Supervisor Interview
Finally, look at a few tips to help you prepare for your supervisor interview.
- Research the company before your interview. This will help you better understand the role and how it fits within the organization.
- Prepare answers in advance to common questions that will likely be asked during a supervisor interview. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when answering questions.
- Dress professionally and arrive at least ten minutes early for your appointment.
- Be prepared to share examples of past successes relevant to the position you’re applying for.
- Bring a notebook with you to take notes during the conversation if needed.
- Ask thoughtful, meaningful questions about the role – this will help demonstrate your interest in the position and show that you are taking the process seriously.
- Show enthusiasm and be positive throughout the interview. Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration when concluding the meeting.
By preparing thoroughly for your supervisor interview, you can increase your chances of standing out from other applicants and making a great impression on potential employers.
Supervisor Interview Questions FAQs
What are the five roles of a supervisor.
The five roles of a supervisor are as follows:
- Leader: A supervisor must lead by example, setting a positive tone and creating a productive work environment.
- Coach and Mentor: Supervisors need to be able to motivate employees, provide guidance and feedback, and help them develop their skills.
- Manager of Resources: This includes managing budgets, staff schedules, equipment, facilities, and materials orders.
- Facilitator of Communication: Supervisors need to keep an open line of communication between employees, customers, vendors, and upper management.
- Problem Solver: When issues arise in the workplace, it is up to the supervisor to resolve them as quickly and effectively as possible.
What are the four qualities of a good supervisor?
- Respectful: A good supervisor will treat their employees respectfully, recognizing and valuing their work.
- Patient: Supervisors must remain calm under pressure and understandably explain complex tasks.
- Good Listener: It is essential for supervisors to actively listen to their employees so that they can understand their concerns and needs better.
- Open-Minded: A supervisor needs to welcome ideas from employees and consider suggestions before making decisions.
What is your greatest strength as a supervisor?
To answer this question, you should draw from your past experiences and highlight a particular strength you have developed over time. For example, you may be able to easily manage difficult situations or motivate and encourage employees on an individual level. Whatever it is, explain why this quality makes you a strong supervisor.
A model answer could be, “My greatest strength as a supervisor is being able to effectively manage difficult situations by staying calm under pressure and finding solutions quickly. This has helped me foster a successful team environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns without fear of judgment or criticism.”
Acing a supervisor interview requires a clear understanding of the role and its key responsibilities. By thinking through these questions and preparing answers, you’ll be well-equipped to demonstrate your qualifications for the job.
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Supervisor Interview Questions: Examples and Tips
Updated January 24, 2023
Before we start, let's look at some common supervisor interview questions:
- What qualities do you think the ideal supervisor has?
- How do you keep employees motivated?
- How would you settle a conflict between two members of staff?
- Tell me about how you would handle an underperforming employee.
- How would you describe your supervisory style?
- Have you ever had to discipline an employee, and how did you go about it?
- Why do you want to be a supervisor?
This article will show you exactly how to answer them and how to stand out in our supervisor interview.
Why Apply for the Position of Supervisor?
If your career aspirations are to reach a high level of responsibility, securing the position of supervisor is a positive step in the right direction.
As a gateway to middle management and beyond, a supervisory role is an opportunity for you to gain experience, develop leadership skills and make a strong impression on senior staff who can help advance your career.
As they are a step up the ladder and hold so much potential, supervisor roles are also highly sought after, and you’re likely to face tough competition in the application process.
To help you prepare, we have compiled a list of common competency-based and supervisor behavioral interview questions.
Why Is a Supervisor Interview So Important?
If you’ve written a strong resume that shows the necessary skills and experience, chances are you’ll be invited to an interview for supervisor position candidates.
This is a crucial step in the recruitment process, as it allows the hiring manager to evaluate your skills in person and determine how effective you’re likely to be if offered the role.
Skills the interviewer will be on the lookout for include good communication , problem solving , interpersonal skills and organization .
On top of this, they’ll be looking for you to show key traits like initiative, resilience, empathy and assertiveness.
An interview is also an opportunity to measure how well your personality and work ethic fit with the organizational culture, so you can expect some supervisor interview questions around your motivations, values and working preferences.
Example Interview Questions for a Supervisor Position
Below you’ll find a mix of competency-based and supervisor behavioral interview questions with example answers.
The answers are, of course, for demonstration purposes only and should be used as inspiration for compiling your own responses.
What Qualities Do You Think the Ideal Supervisor Has?
This is one of the most common interview questions for a supervisor position. It’s designed to explore your approach to management and what you understand good leadership to be.
Avoid just listing a set of characteristics. Instead, explain the reasoning behind the qualities you mention.
A good supervisor should be in tune with the staff they supervise. If you want to get the best out of a team, you have to listen to them and encourage them to work together, so you need to be attentive, approachable and motivational. You also need an air of authority but understand that good leadership is about earning respect, not shouting orders.
How Do You Keep Employees Motivated?
As a supervisor it’s your responsibility to keep staff morale up and encourage employees to achieve their goals – whatever those goals may be.
If you have one, share a real world example of when you’ve implemented a motivational initiative, and show how it was beneficial to both the workforce and the organization as a whole.
Day to day, I think it’s important to keep staff up to date with how the business is doing. When they see how their work contributes to something bigger, it pushes them on. Recognition is important too. When an employee does a good job they should be applauded. Something I’ve found works well when things get tough, like over the holiday season, is to really push the team effort and give them some autonomy. Last year, I swapped personal targets for team targets and let the staff figure out how best to achieve them. They appointed their own sub-supervisor to report to me everyday, and we were the best performing department that Christmas.
How Would You Settle a Conflict Between Two Members of Staff?
Conflict resolution is a big part of being a supervisor. It may not happen often, but when two members of staff have a disagreement, it can be highly disruptive to the entire team.
Show the interviewer that you understand the need to act quickly, stay impartial and find the best resolution for everyone involved.
In my experience, most conflicts are easily resolved if you're fast to respond. When I’ve had issues in the past, I’ve approached each employee privately to hear their side of the story before bringing them together to discuss it. It’s all about de-escalating and looking at a problem objectively. If we can’t find a suitable solution between us all, then it’s my job as supervisor to decide the best course of action, but I’ll always try the collaborative approach first.
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Tell Me How You Would Handle an Underperforming Employee
Companies put a lot of money into recruitment, so it’s important that every employee hired performs to the best of their ability. When they don’t, it’s their immediate supervisor who will step in first.
Show here that you have strategies for dealing with such scenarios, and that you won’t just run to your own line manager when someone’s not doing as they’re told.
I’d first try to find out why they were underperforming. Have they not had the right training? Do they not have the right tools or support? Are they having personal issues? I think there’s usually a reason other than idleness. When you identify the source of the problem, you can fix it. If it turned out they were just lazy, I’d look to HR for advice.
How Would You Describe Your Supervisory Style?
This is one of those interview questions for a supervisor candidate that you may think is tricky to answer if you don’t have any supervisory experience. Don’t panic if you find yourself in this scenario.
Think about supervisors you’ve had yourself in the past, how they approached their role and what lessons you’ve learned from their style. Then apply this to yourself.
I’d describe my style as motivational and supportive. I always look for individual strengths in a team and how to pull these together. Knowing what people are good at is the only way to delegate tasks effectively and encourage staff to achieve their full potential. I also try my best to lead by example. If I don’t exhibit certain behaviors myself, how can I expect others to?
Have You Ever Had to Discipline an Employee, and How Did You Go About it?
Discipline is one of the hardest parts of a supervisor’s job . It has to be well-judged, fair and matched to the offense.
You also need to be aware that every organization will have its own disciplinary procedures and as supervisor you must adhere to them.
As team leader, I once had to discipline a member of staff for persistent tardiness. I’d already discussed it with them multiple times in a friendly manner but the behavior continued. Our policy was to issue a written warning, which I did with the approval of my line manager. Unfortunately, it didn’t have any impact. At that point, I felt the issue was beyond my level of authority, so I escalated it up the management chain.
Why Do You Want to be a Supervisor?
This is an example of a first time supervisor interview question, where as a candidate you are hoping to move up the management ladder.
Clearly explain your motivations and how you see your career progressing .
I’ve been ready to take on more responsibility for a while now. I think I’ve developed as much as I can at my current level, and supervisor is the next logical step in my professional journey. I’m really keen for my work to have an impact – to contribute to a business’ growth and help others with their own development.
Tips for Acing Supervisor Interview Questions
Step 1. think about your experience in advance.
The supervisor interview questions and answers given above are designed to inspire you and get you thinking about how your past experience can offer examples of relevant skills.
Try to come up with several examples for different question types, like those around communication, organization or your managerial style . The more you consider your experience and how it relates to a supervisor role, the better prepared you’ll be to handle anything the interviewer throws at you.
If you don’t have supervisor experience, it’s worth reviewing example first time supervisor questions and answers beforehand so you know what to expect.
Step 2. Use the STAR Method When Answering Interview Questions for a Supervisor Position
The STAR method is a good way to make sure your answers are well-structured, concise and provide a measurable outcome.
It involves describing a situation, what you were tasked with, the action you took and the results that followed. Practice this technique before your interview with some of the examples you’ve taken from your past experience.
Step 3. Watch Your Body Language
It’s not just your answers that matter in a supervisor interview – it’s also the way you deliver them. A hiring manager can tell a lot from the way you hold yourself, your gesticulations, your eye contact.
Be aware of your body language throughout and the messages it could be sending.
Step 4. Prepare for Tough Supervisor Interview Questions
If you don’t have any supervisory experience, there may be some questions you find particularly difficult to answer. To prepare, think about other aspects of your life where you may have shown leadership skills.
This could relate to college projects, sports clubs, involvement in charitable activities – anything will work, provided you show key competencies and skills .
Keep in mind also that the interviewer will be aware of your work history from your resume, so when it comes to first time supervisor interview questions and answers, you will not expect you to share specific examples if you have not had the relevant experience.
Step 5. Have Some Questions of Your Own
By asking questions of your own you show the interviewer that you are truly invested in the opportunity on offer and keen to learn more about the role.
Questions to ask in a supervisor interview might revolve around the potential for further training, the structure of the staff you’ll be supervising or how the company approaches performance reviews .
To really make a strong impression, you should also consider general interview tips and advice like choosing the right outfit, arriving early and doing plenty of research on the hiring company.
How to Follow Up on an Interview for a Supervisor Position
However well (or badly) you think your supervisor interview went, you should always take the time to follow up. One, out of courtesy and, two, because it’s a good way to reiterate why you’re a strong candidate for the job.
The best way to do this is by sending a thank you email to the interviewer . This should communicate that you appreciate their time and are thankful that they are considering you for the role.
Having had time to reflect, you may feel there were important points missed in your interview or things you didn’t explain as well as you’d like.
A thank you email is a chance to address this, but keep it brief. Explain yourself concisely and let the interviewer know you’re open to a follow-up conversation if they should wish.
After this, it’s advisable to wait around 10 to 14 days before contacting them again for an update if a final decision has not yet been communicated to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What questions will be asked in a supervisor interview.
Common supervisor interview questions typically relate to your understanding of good leadership and how you get the best out of the people under your supervision. ‘Tell me about your supervisory style’, ‘How do you motivate a team?’ and ‘How do you handle team conflict’ are some examples here.
If you’re taking a step up, you’re likely to be asked first time supervisor interview questions – for example, ‘Why do you want to take on a supervisor position?’ or ‘What skills do you have that you think are well suited to the role of supervisor?’
When answering these interview questions for new managers, consider different aspects of your life where you may have demonstrated leadership skills.
How do I prepare for a supervisor interview?
To prepare for your supervisor interview, you should research some supervisor interview questions and think about the experience you have that can be used to address them. Try and think of examples that show key skills like communication, decision making and delegation.
You should also do your research on the hiring company and prepare some questions of your own . It’s a good idea to run a practice interview with friends or family to build your confidence and iron out any issues.
What are a supervisor's duties?
Supervisors are responsible for overseeing employees in a designated team or department. They delegate tasks according to skill set, plan work rotas, support staff with training and development, onboard new hires and feedback on performance .
They also act as a bridge, communicating organizational goals from above and reporting back to senior management.
What are the qualities of a good supervisor?
A good supervisor has all the qualities of an effective leader. They should be strong communicators who exhibit active listening, empathy and understanding, and have the ability to inspire others to achieve their goals.
They should have a level of commercial awareness and possess the skill set needed to manage people, workloads, resources and processes.
Is handling stress an important skill for a supervisor job?
Stress management plays a key part in a supervisor’s work. There will often be times when stressful situations occur, and it’s important to have good coping strategies in place for both yourself and your team.
In your supervisor interview, show you are resilient, considerate of the working environment and that you’re happy to ask for additional resources whenever necessary.
How do you motivate your team as a supervisor?
Supervisors need to encourage engagement to keep a team motivated. Employees must feel invested in their own work, their job as a cohort and their colleagues.
Try implementing team development strategies , share business objectives with clear goals to achieve and make sure employees have the right resources, support and opportunities to perform at their best.
What challenges do supervisors face?
Some of the most common challenges faced by supervisors include dealing with staff shortages, knowing how to offer constructive criticism , handling staff conflict and dismissing employees.
If you progress to the role of supervisor in a company you already work for, you may have to manage people who were previously your peers. Shifting these working relationships is possibly one of the toughest challenges to overcome.
Securing a supervisor position is a big step in your career, and the interview is your best opportunity to make a strong impression.
Spending time looking at interview questions and answers for supervisor positions will get you thinking about how your experience fits and how you can pull examples from it to showcase your skills.
Lominger interview questions typically ask job applicants to discuss obstacles they have overcome or to tell stories in which they made business decisions and took specific actions.
Half the challenge of going for a job interview is not knowing what to expect. Many otherwise highly qualified candidates may be caught off-guard by questions they don’t know how to answer.
Some interview questions for a doctor are “Why do you want to join our practice?,” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What makes you think you’ll fit in here?” These are commonly asked questions that can help determine whether ...
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