Explore the commonly asked interview questions for general managers across all industries.
A general manager has high-level leadership qualities and a good understanding of how to run any business. For a general management interview, you need to highlight your decision-making expertise and show awareness of project management tools. This article will help you to gain valuable insights on some of the common general management interview questions and answers.
General Management Basics
Unlike the clearly defined roles of technical or functional managers, general managers are not limited to a single functional area. They are usually associated with both the revenue and cost elements of a business. Their roles extend to overseeing marketing, sales and other departments along with the day-to-day business activities.
General Management Interview Questions and Answers
Preparation for an interview is of utmost importance and if you have a hint of what you are going to be asked, it helps a lot. Typically, general management courses are beneficial before you prepare for this role. After earning a certification, these commonly-asked interview questions for general managers will be a cakewalk.
Q1. How would you describe your leadership style?
Ans. There are various leadership styles that one can follow depending on the team requirements. If a team is not experienced, a transactional leadership style can help you in managing the team efficiently by using rewards for high performing employees. Also, the leader can personally groom the team so that they meet the common goals.
If a team is experienced, a laissez-faire or transformation style of leadership can really help you get the results that you want. In laissez-faire, the team has a lot of flexibility to act on their own, with little supervision. However, you should remain focused so that no team member should drop their work standards. Transformation style can be very engaging when you can communicate effectively, leading to effective knowledge sharing.
If you prefer a highly participative environment, you should go for the democratic style where the members are free to offer their inputs.
Make sure you mention why you prefer the particular type of leadership style and how it would work for the organisation that you are interviewing.
Q2. Tell us your experience with managing contracts and budgets.
Ans. This is not just a yes/no question. It is to measure your level of confidence in creating an effective contract and budget plan for the organisation.
“In my previous company, I have managed a number of contracts and handled all activities from communication to execution. I had also overseen the whole process so that the contracts were done according to the industry standards. Budgeting was also a core part of my responsibilities and I was involved in both long-term as well as short-term budgeting activities. I usually check past budgets to get an idea and incorporate cost control methods, which have had positive impacts on the company’s finances”
Q3. How would you tell a member that he/she is not performing well?
Ans. A general manager is responsible for his/her team’s performance. If you have a team member who is underperforming, you need to provide your feedback.
“One team member was performing below his usual standards and was not his usual self, with zero participation in team meetings. I pulled him aside for a face-to-face conversation so as not to put him in an awkward position in front of others. I asked him to provide his point of view so that I can understand what’s troubling him. It looks like he was going through some personal problems and was under tremendous strain. I told him to come up with a solution and it worked amicably for both of us.”
Q4. Did you ever coach someone? How would you describe the changes in that person?
Ans. Coaching can be of any form. If you have mentored anyone in your previous organisations, mention how you coached that person and what was the result of your coaching. Did that person gain any valuable knowledge or have become proficient in any skills? You need to show your leadership and management abilities while giving your examples.
Q5. Have you ever had to execute a project with an insufficient budget or resources? How did you manage it?
Ans. This general management interview question is to measure your managerial skills and ability to allocate resources effectively. You can try the sample answer below.
“Once I had to manage a project and was not given the resources that I wanted and needed for the project. So, I had to manage with whatever resources that I had in hand. I chalked up a resource optimisation plan that helps in effectively utilising the resources I have and stick to the fixed budget. Getting the team to be motivated was the hardest part but when you have the right leadership style, you can get things done. This is where I stepped up and provided to lead by example, doing as much work I can do; putting extra effort. The team was motivated and we reached the target within our limited budget.”
Q6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Ans. There is no specific measure to define the greatness of any accomplishment. It is what you believe and your ability to convince the interviewer why you consider it as one of your greatest accomplishments. It can be anything from managing a project successfully to learning a new skill that is required for a particular task. The only thing you should remember is that it should have great impact value. It may change the financial positions of your company or change your professional life.
Q7. What challenges are you looking for in this position?
Ans. This general management interview question is a subtle way of asking how excited you are about the position for which you are interviewing. Interviewers want to know if you have a good knowledge of the job and if you are a perfect fit for it.
“I am really motivated by challenges and it provides me with an opportunity to utilise my skills or acquire new skills which can further strengthen my abilities. In this position, I hope to solve any problems that you might be facing related to my work and I hope I can, with my expertise, successfully tackle those challenges.”
Q8. Did you ever have conflicts with your manager or team members? How did you solve them?
Ans. We all face conflicts in our professional, it is all about how we handle those conflicts.
“I faced a fair amount of conflicts but not major ones. Whenever I have conflicts with the manager or any team member, I like to listen to the other person’s perspective before putting my point of view. This way we all can resolve our conflicts within our area of acceptability.”
Q9. How do you perform working under pressure?
Ans. “I would like to divide my work into small tasks and prioritise them. This way I do not feel pressurised even if there is pressure. You can always be effective when you divide your work into smaller parts and working on them one by one.”
Q10. What type of people do you find it difficult to work with?
Ans. From this question, the interviewer wants to know if you are a team player and communicate well with the team.
“I can get along with anyone and I don’t find it difficult to work with anyone. Sometimes, it may be difficult to work with someone who might have a different work ethic other than mine. However, I communicate with the person about their contribution and how we can work it out. This way, we are all on the same page.”
Read on conflict management to answer this general manager interview question better.
Q11. How do you assess employee performance?
Ans. The interviewer wants to understand whether you can measure the performance of the employees.
“I assess employees based on defined (KPIs) for the team. Employee productivity, engagement, collaboration, etc., are some factors I look into while evaluating their performance.”
After Preparing General Management Interview Questions and Answers
There are many other general management interview questions but the above-mentioned ones can help you to get started with your preparation in the right direction. While you can get a certification or diploma in general management, do explore strategy and leadership courses to boost your career options.
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