Are you worried you don't have enough experience to interview for a management role? You may be more qualified than you think.

You know you're ready to take on your first management position, but you don't have any  “actual” management experience — or do you? Depending on your specific roles and tasks, there's a good chance that your current skills are a solid base for taking on management responsibilities.

Knowing how to interview for a management position means knowing the right way to present both yourself and your experience during the job interview. Done well, a hiring manager or employer will be convinced you're ready for management — even when your experience doesn't necessarily align with the job description.

How to prepare for a management job interview

To give yourself a high chance of success, be ready to answer behavioral-based interview questions. You'll be asked to provide actual examples of how you've operated in past or current roles, specifically how you added value or influenced solutions. In a nutshell, how well did you lead when required to?

Specifically, prepare for these three types of questions:

  1. Problem-solving queries, particularly about your current job

  2. Scenario questions about how you did, currently do, or would handle certain real or hypothetical situations

  3. Queries that explore your creativity and lateral thinking skills

Another important piece of prep work is to research the company you're interviewing with to understand their operations, culture, business goals, and status in the industry. Check Glassdoor for employee comments, and review the website in depth for annual reports or other data that could give you insight into the company.

Doing this will help you better understand your potential role within the organization so you can offer ideas on what you might do to help those you'll lead (and the company as a whole) to be successful. It will also greatly impress your interviewer.

If you're looking to move up to a management role within your own company, do the same research on your organization. As an “insider,” you also have the option of talking with various department employees, as well as your boss, to learn more about what they do so you can better understand the needs of the company.

There's a lot to think about, and behavioral job interviews can be challenging, so consider working with an interview coach to present your management abilities in the best possible way.

How to show management skills in an interview

Your overall goal in the interview is to show how your existing skills and experience will make you successful in a management role. Some specific areas to highlight to the employer or interviewer include:

  • Transferable Skills: Some transferable skills can include presenting at a company retreat, collaborating on new department policies, hiring or training new team members, having sole responsibility for planning and implementing an event, or proposing a new initiative to upper management. All of these scenarios require managerial skills.

  • Current Expertise: Present how well you understand the intricacies and interpersonal dynamics of your current team or the job position you are interviewing for, as well as the overall makeup of the company and its place in the larger market.

  • Management Education/Training: This is particularly impressive if you did it on your own initiative versus a directive from management, although both reasons are valid. Discuss why you wanted to sharpen your management skills, what you learned, and how it will help you be successful as a new manager.

This is another area where the interview coaches at TopInterview can help you be confident in how you're communicating your management potential.

How to answer management interview questions effectively

The best answers involve three key things: details, details, and details. 

Be specific about what you did, why you did it, the results you achieved, and what you would do to be effective if hired. This sends a strong message to employers that you're ready for the challenges that come with management. Here are some great examples you can use to help shape your own answers:  

  • As a sales associate, I spearheaded prospecting challenges, devised individual and group earning goals, and helped develop best practices that increased close rates by 20 percent.

  • While I have not officially served in a management capacity, I have always been a keen observer of different management styles. I believe in delegation, an open-door policy, and a brainstorming environment where we invite everyone's ideas. For example, if I had the opportunity to manage the sales division of this company, I would build on your existing record of accomplishments by introducing a new lead-tracking system and setting ambitious, yet realistic earning goals.

  • While I do not have direct management experience, I have always stepped up to accept challenges and assume leadership roles in group activities. (Give examples.)

  • While I have not previously held the title of manager, I have been the department lead for five years, during which time I reorganized our staffing procedures, developed a peer review process, and led small-group initiatives.

If you're convinced that you're ready to take on a management role, go for it — and use the tips above to help showcase why you're the right fit for the managerial role you're applying for. It's all about making sure the interviewer sees your potential

Not sure how to best showcase your management skills during your next interview? Our TopInterview coaches can help you shine.

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