Why this matters:

Business managers are largely responsible for optimizing the success of the teams that they work with. As a business manager sets and facilitates goals, they need to be prepared to measure progress as well. Asking for a candidate’s methods of forecasting and evaluating growth will help you to understand their preparedness to effectively organize a team.

What to listen for:

  • A system for setting goals, predicting outcomes, and evaluating progress
  • Consideration of measurements of success including cost-effectiveness, overall efficiency, customer satisfaction, and quality of working conditions
  • Experience with team building in a business environment

Why this matters:

Business managers are often responsible for developing and implementing budget goals of the organizations that they work for. This question will help assess whether or not a candidate has the relevant technical skills, experience, and sensibilities for facilitating the financial needs of your business.

What to listen for:

  • Strong math, organizational, and time management skills
  • Experience with relevant budgeting software such as Quicken, YNAB, and QuickBooks
  • Examples of their successes in efficiently allocating time, money, and other resources

Why this matters:

If hired, this candidate will likely be involved in the hiring, onboarding, and training process for other new employees. Understanding their process for hiring and acclimating a new employee is important, as is ensuring that their approach is already aligned with that of the company’s.

What to listen for:

  • A thorough consideration of the hiring process, including the interview, offer, and training steps
  • An emphasis on active communication and transparency in the hiring process
  • Intentional objectivity in evaluation of candidates’ capabilities and qualifications

Why this matters:

Business managers are professional problem solvers as well as team leaders. Their colleagues will look to them to mediate disagreements and facilitate difficult conversations. Asking a candidate about their conflict resolution approach will help you to understand their communication style, and in particular, their ability to communicate effectively under pressure.

What to listen for:

  • Confidence and adaptability in solving problems
  • Empathetic and sensitive consideration of points of view outside of their own
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills in their conflict resolution approach

Why this matters:

Even the most experienced and skilled leaders make mistakes, and how they manage and learn from those mistakes makes all of the difference for a business. This question will help you understand whether or not your business manager will hold themselves accountable, rather than laying blame on others. Their response will give you a sense of their willingness to take constructive feedback from their team members.

What to listen for:

  • A self-aware accountability for their past errors, citing specific details of their mistakes
  • Proactive problem-solving approach and commitment to continuous improvement
  • An eagerness to learn from their mistakes, ask questions, and grow

Why this matters:

As leaders, business managers are often responsible for training employees and implementing the management systems that they set into place. It’s important to understand a business manager’s leadership approach, and their experience with teaching new information, especially when teaching people who are not already experts.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated confidence with leading a learning meeting
  • Examples of past successes facilitating job training or mentorship 
  • An ability to break lessons down into a step-by-step approach

Why this matters:

Leadership style has a profound impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. Whether a manager is direct, relational, visionary, operational, or otherwise with their management style, it’s important to understand how their way of communicating and collaborating will fit in with your business’ working environment.

What to listen for:

  • A clear understanding of their own leadership strengths and weaknesses
  • Strong interpersonal communication and public speaking skills
  • An awareness of their own areas of growth and an open-minded approach to constructive feedback

Why this matters:

Someone managing the schedules and tasks of an entire business should be organized, and this question will provide insight as to what organizational systems this candidate uses. This is a good way to assess whether a candidate’s management skills are compatible with your business’ operational preferences.

What to listen for:

  • A clear organizational system including checkpoints that catch errors
  • Attentiveness to detail in planning out a calendar or schedule
  • Practices that align with the organizational and time management structure of your business

Why this matters:

Business managers are often responsible for interviewing and hiring employees, and they should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of hiring best practices and processes. This question also gives a candidate an opportunity to discuss their own qualifications, and what kind of employee they would strive to be, if hired.

What to listen for:

  • Empathetic, compassionate, and objective approach to considering candidates
  • A prioritization of diversity and inclusion in team building
  • Thoughtful self-reflection in terms of their own strengths and aspirations as a leader and employee
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