Preparing for a Management Interview

As you move through the interview process for a Management position, remember that the companies are evaluating your overall fitness for a management position within their organization. A Management interview will focus primarily on your leadership skills and experience, but an interviewer will also ask questions about your background, qualifications and communication skills. You will also be asked to describe how you have dealt with conflict in the past.

How to Prepare

The key to a successful management interview is to focus on examples in your past that will support your answers. Specific examples (with names and places to add detail) add depth and meaning to your answers. Giving an answer based on philosophy alone will not suffice in a management interview. Keep these points in mind when preparing for a Management interview.

Focus on Leadership.

You are interviewing for a management position, so you must emphasize your leadership skills and provide examples to demonstrate that you are a strong leader. Focus on jobs where you held the most responsibility.

Understand the Company's Needs

Every company is looking for something different. Research the company, talk to the Orion Account Executive and your Orion Candidate Recruiter, and analyze the job summary to identify the three key attributes the company needs from a candidate in this position.

Tailor Your Strengths.

Tailor your strengths to the needs you have identified. As a successful military leader, you possess many strengths; throughout the interview however, emphasize those that align with the needs of the company.

Provide Many Examples.

You must support your answers with specific examples. These examples will add depth to your answers and make an impact on the interviewer.

Energy and Enthusiasm.

Show the interviewer that you want the job. Would you hire someone who seemed disinterested? An interviewer won't either. You must convince an interviewer that you are excited about the company and the job in order to land the position.

Ask Appropriate, Well Prepared Questions.

Questions equal interest to an interviewer. Ask well thought out questions about the corporate culture, training, employees, and goals, which demonstrate a genuine interest in the company. Good questions will help build rapport with the interviewer.

Close the Interview.

Don't overlook the close. Make sure the interviewer knows you want the job by closing the interview. For specifics on closing an interview, read Interview Play-by-Play.

Management Interview Questions

The list of questions below is by no means comprehensive, but is a good starting point as you prepare for a management interview. Practice these questions until you are comfortable verbalizing them. When preparing for a management interview, remember these three things: 1) avoid clichéd answers, 2) give solid examples, and 2) focus on your leadership skills. Your ability to personalize your answers and give specific examples in support of those answers will differentiate you from other candidates competing for the same position.

Tell me about yourself.

Keep your answer to 2-3 minutes and focus on the highlights of your career. Ensure your transitions are effective, and use this as an opportunity to tell your story. Be confident and make an impact.

Why are you leaving the military?

Be positive. A response to this question may sound like "I've achieved my goal of gaining some immediate leadership experience and now I am looking for a new challenge" or "I like the idea of taking my leadership experience to the corporate world in order to improve my quality of life."

What are your strengths?

Tailor your answer to the job for which you are interviewing.

What are your weaknesses?

Keep this answer to one weakness and make sure it is a trait that is not critical to the job you are interviewing for. Your answer should be genuine, something that you have previously identified, and are actively working to overcome.

Tell me about a time you have failed.

Everybody has failed. Do not say "I've never failed." Focus on a specific event and demonstrate how you have learned from that mistake, resulting in professional growth. Use specific names and places.

What is your biggest professional achievement?

An ideal answer should be a professional achievement that is significant, makes an impact, and somehow relates to the job you are interviewing for (i.e. shows significant leadership under stressful conditions like combat).

Which job did you like best in the military and why?

Tailor your answer. If you are interviewing for a management position, focus on the job where you held the most responsibility and was the most leadership intensive. If you are interviewing for a technical job, focus on the position that was the most technical. An interviewer wants to know that the job you liked best is similar to the position you are interviewing for.

What is your leadership style?

You must overcome the military stigma. Show them you are a strong leader, but have a flexible leadership style and great communication skills. Companies want a mature decision maker who is able to motivate a team of diverse individuals.

Give me an example of a time you've dealt with conflict.

Be specific. Focus on an actual event where you dealt with conflict in the workplace. A good example will show your ability to mediate a hostile situation and maintain a positive work environment. Your ability to provide a good example will show the interviewer how you will react at their company, so make sure are you sending the right message.

What are your long and short term goals?

Companies hire military officers because they are goal driven individuals. First define 'short' and 'long' term, and then state your goals. They should be professional and related to the company as much as possible.

Additional Questions That You Should Be Comfortable Answering

  • What date are you ready to start your new career?
  • What are your location preferences?
  • If you had to give me a 5K range, what would your annual salary expectations be?
  • Have you interviewed with any companies in the past 6 months? If so, which ones and for what locations?
  • Do you currently have any offers to work for any companies? If so, which companies and for what salary?
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
  • Name three of your strengths.
  • Name three of your weaknesses.
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • Are you open to shift work?
  • Are you open to working overtime?
  • How many days in a month are you willing to travel?
  • What is a long day to you?
  • How many hours a week are you open to working?
  • Describe a time that you had to sell something to someone else.
  • Tell me about a project you led from start to finish.
  • Have you ever had a mentor? If so, what did he or she do for you?
  • What was the last book that you read, and why did you choose it?
  • How would you characterize your leadership style?
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a poor performer.
  • How do you deal with conflict?
  • How do you motivate people?
  • When was the last time, place, and situation that you had an idea you tried to sell, but were met with resistance? Did you ultimately prevail?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What makes you qualified for this position?

Get even more practice with our general interview questions on the Sample Interview Questions page.

Reading in Preparation of a Career in Management

If your goal is to enter the private sector in a production/operations management position, reading a few relevant books will allow you to combine your practical leadership experience with some supplemental information on the industry. Select one or two books from our Suggested Reading List to prepare yourself for the interview process. Additionally, we recommend that you read at least one book from the Sales reading list. Even if you're not interested in a career in sales, until you get "the offer", you are in the business of selling yourself, so learn how to do it well!

Continue to the next topic: Hiring Conference Preparation

« Transition Resources Site Map