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Open Ended Interview Questions for a Management Position

by Ralph Heibutzki, studioD

Open-ended interviews are becoming an increasingly popular method to recruit the right candidates -- particularly for managerial positions, where the decision-maker's choices can make or break a company. Unlike closed-ended questions, which only need a "yes" or "no" response, open-ended inquiries force the applicant to elaborate on his definition of success, managerial style and past work experiences, among other key topics. The resulting answers will indicate, for better or worse, if the interviewee is a good risk.

Addressing Criticism

Managers must form constructive working relationships, so you want to learn how an applicant takes criticism. For example, you might ask why the candidate left his last job. Applicants who don't consider their responses carefully will blame other co-workers, while deflecting any responsibility for their actions, "Inc." magazine states. Alternatively, you might ask what three co-workers will say about the interviewee, or what he learned from tough criticism, which forces him off his prepared response.

Defining Success

Motivation is a critical issue in management interviews, since the company expects senior leaders to carry out its goals and objectives. One way to learn an applicant's views on this subject is to ask, "When you have been most satisfied in your career?" The response will reveal what motivates the candidate, and if he'll enjoy working for you, "Entrepreneur" magazine states. A thoughtful response should go beyond such stock phrases as the applicant's desire for a "great opportunity," or "next step in my career."

Describing Managerial Styles

Every manager has a different style that may or may not fit a company's philosophy. To find out how a manager's team feels about working under him, ask, "How many people have you hired, and where did you find them?" The rationale for raising this issue, according to "Inc." magazine, is that great employees seek out great leaders. A prospective manager's ability to give specific examples will yield glimpses into his people skills, and whether he can recruit quality employees.

Setting Goals

Managerial candidates can expect to field hypothetical questions. For example, the interviewer might say, "If you started tomorrow, what are the first things you'd do, and in what priority?" By posing this type of open-ended question, you'll learn if a prospective manager actually understands the company's mission, and how he'd carry it out, "Entrepreneur" magazine suggests. You'll also learn if the applicant's proposals are appropriate for the company, or just wishful thinking.

Solving Problems

Managers must show an ability to think on their feet. To test the applicant's skills in this area, the recruiter will briefly outline a problem, and have him explain how he might solve it, according to the ere.com website. in other variations, the candidate is asked to identify three problems with the company's current products or processes. A well-prepared interviewee should have little difficulty, while a lesser candidate will struggle to respond in an adequate time frame.

About the Author

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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