88. What actions would you take if you came on board? This question is usually asked to determine if you have preset ideas on what should be done. The person with all the answers after one or two interviews is usually not trusted. The people interviewing you consider themselves capable. If they’ve been studying a problem for months and don’t have the answers, they don’t expect you to have the answers either. Perhaps you really do have some solutions, but don’t sound cocky. You’ll be respected more if you admit it will take time to study the situation, than to say you will have a complete set of recommendations by next week.

This question also tests your thought process. The steps you would take to solve a problem can reveal more about your character and your expertise than the actual recommendations you might make.

89. Can you supervise people? A positive statement followed by an example works well. “Yes, I supervise people very well. At Somestates Insurance I supervised eight claims adjusters. Through my personal training I was able to teach more effective negotiating techniques. As a result, our average personal injury settlement was reduced 4% last year.” Relate one or more good examples, always keeping them short and to the point. When appropriate you might discuss your philosophy and techniques of supervision.

90. Describe your management philosophy and management style. To answer this question effectively you need to be clear on both your management philosophy and style. Management philosophy and style have to do with your beliefs regarding participative management, management by objectives, total quality management, methods for training and motivating employees, and dozens of concepts and tech-niques that are covered in books on management. Philosophy is the theory you follow, while style is the way you actually operate on the job. Spend a short time on philosophy, but what an employer really wants to know is how you actually manage on the job. Emphasize your strengths. If you’re a good delegator or a good motivator, describe how those abilities help you to be an effective manager.

91. How many people have you hired? How do you go about it? How successful have the people been? By asking this question the interviewer is trying to learn about you and your processes. Describe your methods, but emphasize your results. If you have hired five or more people, it is highly unlikely that each of them has gone on to great success. You do not need to claim perfect insight or judgment. You do want to get across the idea that you are very careful in your hiring decisions, that you are a good judge of character, and that you provide adequate training so that employees achieve their full potential.

92. How many people have you fired? How do you handle terminations? Here the interviewer is trying to determine how decisive you are, and how “cleanly” you can fire people. Terminations are the ultimate test of decisiveness. Typically, managers agonize over firing decisions even when it is clear that the employee is hopelessly ineffective. As you describe your termination process, demonstrate that you were decisive as well as humane.

93. How would your subordinates describe you as a supervisor? Indicate that you work hard to gain their respect, but that being liked by everyone is not your main concern. You might add, “They would say that they enjoy working for me. I’m tough but I’m fair. I give them room for independence and I seek self-starters. They would say I’m an excellent trainer. I’m patient, but they know I can get pretty upset when I see the same mistakes recurring.” Here is a chance to share some of your management philosophy. Use this question to demonstrate that you elicit maximum output from your employees.

94. Some managers watch their employees closely, while others use a loose rein. How do you manage? You should indicate that you manage your employees neither too closely nor too loosely. Employees should be monitored carefully when new to the job and until they demonstrate the ability to do the job with little assistance from you. Use this as an opportunity to emphasize results you have achieved through those working for you.

95. How have you improved as a supervisor over the years? The interviewer is assuming you have improved as a supervisor, which means you can admit to past mistakes. Management is learned through experience, not textbooks, so it is safe to admit that you were far from perfect in the past. You might admit that early in your management experience you had difficulty delegating, or that sometimes you were too demanding. Preparing for this question will give you an opportunity to reflect and see how you have improved over the years. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be prepared to share some of those reflections with an interviewer.

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