By Anja van den Berg
After you’ve been toiling away in middle-management for a number of years, the opportunity finally presents itself: an executive job opening that’s got your name on it. Yet, you’re not quite sure how to approach the upcoming interview.
While all interviews can seem overwhelming and intimidating, interviewing for a management-level job is usually quite different from the usual job interview that most of us have experienced, says Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of South Africa’s Workplace solutions provider ManpowerGroup.
Van den Barselaar shares her thoughts on how to properly prepare for a management position, whether you are being interviewed at a new organisation or within your current organisation:
- Define your personal management style
Before you interview for a management position, it is important to understand that there are many different management styles and that you will probably be asked what your personal management style is. Research the different management styles and understand which you would most like to be, and which would be best for the position you are interviewing for.
- Show that you understand how your management skills affect the company’s bottom line
Be sure to demonstrate that you understand how your role as a manager will impact the company’s profit margins. You should have a good understanding of where you fit into the big picture and the ways in which your role is important for the effective running of the business. Prepare to highlight your skills such as decision-making, negotiation and delegation, and to talk about your experience in managing people, projects or budgets.
- Demonstrate assertiveness and the ability to cope under pressure
The ability to cope under pressure is often explored in a management-level interview. Try to remain as calm as possible and communicate effectively. Your interviewer wants to see that you are able to command the room, get your points across clearly and are able to remain focused under pressure. This way, your interviewer will have an easier time seeing you as the right candidate to fill the position.
- Demonstrate your problem-solving abilities
In almost all instances, managers are expected to solve problems as part of their job. Sometimes those problems are staff-related, as in solving a dispute between co-workers you manage. Other times, those problems might be related to a client or some technical aspect of your job or section of the business that you manage. Being able to demonstrate that you are capable of handling problems quickly and effectively will certainly count in your favour.
Prepare notes on some experiences you’ve had in your career that required you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Ask your interviewer about possible challenges you may face in the role, and suggest some solutions to these, if appropriate.
- Approach the interview as a two-way discussion
Very often, candidates will save their questions for the end of the interview. However, when interviewing for a management role, you may be encouraged to engage more in the interview as a two-way discussion, rather than just taking part in a back and forth question and answer type conversation.
If you are interviewing for a management position for the first time, it is important to think about the kind of responsibility you’d be taking on in that role and use this to demonstrate strategic thinking to your interviewer.
As you move through the interview process for a management position, remember that the hiring manager is evaluating your overall fitness for a management position within their organisation. A management interview will focus primarily on your communication skills, professional acumen and leadership style.
Times Live: https://www.timeslive.co.za/sebenza-live/features/2018-04-19-tips-for-a-successful-management-level-job-interview/
Iron Talent: https://www.oriontalent.com/military-job-seekers/transition-resources/interviewing/management-interview.aspx