How to Spot a Good Manager in the Interview

Tips for Job Seekers

The interview is a two-way street. While a manager is evaluating candidates on whether they will be a good fit for the company, candidates should also be evaluating if the company will be a good fit for them. This includes whether they think they will thrive under a manager. If you’re wanting to ensure that someone you agree to work for will be a good manager for you, here are a few things to consider. We’ve compiled a list of signs to look for to determine if someone is a good manager as well as a few important questions to ask. For help spotting a good manager in the interview, read on!

What Makes a Good Manager?

One of the key things that makes a good manager is a manager who knows the difference between being a boss and being a leader. The primary difference between a boss and a leader is that those who work for a leader feel inspired to innovate, are willing to speak up and suggest changes, and earn the respect of those they manage. Bosses, on the other hand, manage employees in a way that keeps them performing the status quo, never seeking betterment, and in turn leading to a lack of mutual respect. Good managers lead by example, are willing to listen and take action from feedback they receive, and they care about the employees that they manage. 

13 Signs Your Interviewer Is a Good Manager

As you’re being interviewed, here are a few things to look for that someone is going to be a good leader and manager.

1. They Care About Personal Growth

In the interview, a good manager will show that they want employees to grow personally and professionally while working for the company. If the manager talks about professional development opportunities, the consistent growth and learning, and how they want to help those under their leadership thrive, that’s a sign of a good manager. 

2. Emotional Intelligence

Managers who show emotional intelligence are much more likely to be a good leader. This includes using proper non-verbal communication, what kind of questions they ask, whether or not they seem interested in you, and more.

3. Transparency

Transparency is an incredibly important part of being a good manager. That doesn’t mean they tell you anything and everything, but it means if you ask a question or need to know something, the manager will answer truthfully and ensure you understand rather than skirting around hard conversations. Transparency is a sign of a very good manager.

4. Good Listening

When you’re being interviewed, if it’s clear the manager is listening intently and cares about your responses, they will likely be a good manager. Good listening skills are an essential part of leadership, as you want to ensure that your manager will listen to what you have to say and be willing to act on things that matter.

5. Social Skills and Sense of Humour

No one wants to work for someone who makes you feel uncomfortable or who you aren’t able to laugh with. This isn’t to say that you need to crack a ton of jokes in the interview, nor that the manager needs to be a jokester. But if you’re looking for someone who you can feel comfortable speaking with on a daily basis, having a sense of humour you get along with and good social skills is something to look for. 

6. Have a Clear Vision

Good managers have a goal in mind of where they want to take their team, and they should be able to clearly talk about what the vision is for the company and team you will be working on. If a manager can’t communicate their vision, that likely means your workplace will feel unfocused and have a frustrating amount of pivoting. 

7. They Know How to Inspire Others

When you’re working for a great leader, you want to feel inspired to follow them and believe in their vision. If a manager doesn’t seem capable of inspiring you to try and achieve greatness, they may not be the manager for you. 

8. Their Team Feels at Ease

Have you ever been taken on an office tour during an interview and your prospective co-workers seem to tense up when the manager walks by? This is a sign that they may not be the best boss. Good managers help their team feel comfortable talking to them, ensuring they are progressing and growing, not inciting fear or discomfort whenever they walk by.

9. They Have Empathy

A great manager actually cares about the people they manage. You want to ensure that during the interview they speak about people like they are, in fact, people who have lives outside of work and understand when things come up. A good manager will show that they care about who you are as a person, not just a number who will get a job done.

10. They’re Realistic

Managers can have lofty goals and hopes, but it’s important that they also show they’re realistic in how something can be accomplished and how much time it takes a person to learn a new role. In the interview, make sure that the managers are speaking realistically about the work environment and training processes. If they think the office is perfect with no flaws, you could be met with a negative outcome.

11. They Seem Competent

Competence is incredibly important in a manager. When you’re working directly for someone, you want to ensure that the advice you receive from leadership can be trusted and is built on experience and intelligence. Good managers are also mentors, so if you don’t believe they’re competent, you won’t learn much from them. 

12. Open Mindedness

Good managers always approach new ideas with an open mind. In the interview, be sure to look at how your potential manager treats new ideas. If they completely shut down something they’ve never heard of before, that could potentially lead to feeling like your manager will never listen to your ideas. Open mindedness is essential for a healthy workplace.

13. Your Values Align

Another important thing to look for in a good manager is that your personal values align with theirs. Value alignment will help you know whether or not you’ll be successful in the workplace, get along with your manager, and will show what kind of person you would potentially be working for. Be sure to look at what a manager puts emphasis on and values during the interview. 

11 Questions to Ask a Potential Manager

1. What is your most recent success?

This question will show you what the manager considers a success, what they value, if they mention their team, and whether or not you will be able to meet what they consider a success.

2. How would you describe your management style?

Knowing how a person manages their employees will give you a clear picture of whether or not you could thrive in this work environment.

3. What kind of collaboration do you encourage in the workplace?

Is the workplace more collaborative or independent? Knowing how the manager expects team members to interact will help you know where you would fit in.

4. What’s a habit your best team members practice?

This question shows what traits the manager values, and it will also give you tip to starting off well if you get the job.

5. How would you describe the company culture?

It’s important to know whether or not you’ll fit in well within the company, and if the culture is something you would thrive in.

6. What kind of professional development opportunities does the company provide?

If consistent growth and new learning opportunities are something you value, it’s a good idea to learn what the company offers from the very beginning!

7. What’s your favourite thing about working here?

This question will help you learn more about the manager, the work environment, and whether or not you would be a good fit.

8. How do you tend to measure individual performance and success?

Knowing how you will be evaluated is helpful once you have the job, but also if you are content with being evaluated in that manner.

9. What attracted you to this industry?

This question will show you’re interested in getting to know your manager, and it will also provide you with some insight into their experience and competencies. If you have a shared interest, it may also help you bond!

10. How often do you check in with your team individually and as a whole?

It’s important to know what kind of face time you can expect from a manager. This question will also show you how much the manager values connection with their team and ensuring individual happiness. 

11. How do you envision my contribution to the team?

Not only will this question show you’re planning to contribute to the team in a way the manager needs, but it will also tell you more about the expectations for the role and if you can meet them.

How Recruitment Partners Can Help

Are you looking for a new role with a manager you can trust? Recruitment Partners can help! We work with amazing companies who are looking for experienced, talented candidates like you. If you’re interested in a role, please contact us!