Typical Questions for Manager Interviews

The following is a typical compilation of job interview questions for managers.  These questions are from several sources, including interviews I experienced as a City Manager.  

While networking and contacts are often important in order to get your "foot in the door", a good interview can and will make the difference in terms of how seriously you will be considered for the position. 

Write your answers to the questions and practice them in front of a mirror until you are comfortable with your responses, then go get that job!

Sample Questions

  1. Why are you interested in becoming the next City Manager of (insert)? and how does this opportunity fit into your career goals?
  2. What is the highest number of employees that you have been responsible for and where? Explain any inordinately high or low staffing level relative to population, if any (such as operating an airport or an electric utility).
  3. What are the largest operating and capital budgets that you have managed?            Where?
  4. Describe any experiences you have comparable to managing a city like ? where growth is changing the basic nature of the community - its population, its geographical size, its tax base and its economic, social and political demographics.
  5. What successful techniques have you used to encourage a divided elected body to work together effectively?
  6. Please describe your leadership and management style with your department heads and employees?
  7. Please provide an example of a capital project you have participated in which involved separate entity stakeholders.
  8. Please describe any services you have consolidated with the other public agencies.
  9. Please describe your economic development experience and provide an example of one economic development project you moved forward for your community.  What type(s) of incentives were used?
  10. Is the resume that we have for you accurate and current?  If not, please explain any discrepancies.
  11. Are you currently employed?
  12. Have you ever been fired or resigned under pressure from a job?                  If yes, please explain.
  13. Have you ever sued an employer or been sued by an employer or employee?           If yes, please explain.
  14. Present or most recent salary:
  15. Why are you interested in working for the City of ?
  16. Describe the responsibilities of your current position? List the current services, number of full-time employees and annual budget of your current organization.
  17. Please describe in detail your experience in the management of growth and development.
  18. Please describe a situation in which you worked on an intergovernmental or interagency basis.
  19. Have you worked directly with the state and federal governments, councils of governments, and other units of local government? Please describe.
  20. How would you describe your management style? How do you get things done and make decisions?
  21. How do you approach the planning process? What system do you use to set and maintain objectives and priorities?
  22. Describe your philosophy and approach to financial managements and budget development and management.
  23. Describe your philosophy and approach to employee development, motivation, and                performance evaluation.
  24. Please describe your experience with elected officials and how you approach and successfully ensure a positive administrative relationship in a political environment.
  25. Please describe how you would acclimate yourself to the organization and how you would strategically perform and approach the required duties of City Administrator during your first six months and year of appointment.
  26. What would your supervisors describe as your strengths and areas in need of improvement?
  27. What would your employees describe as your strengths and your areas in need of improvement?
  28. Describe in detail two examples of serious challenges you have faced in your professional career and how you handle the situations.
  29. Describe your experience in preparing the following plans: capital improvement, long range infrastructure, and economic development.
  30. Why are you interested in this position and are considering a move at this time?
  31. Describe your management style. How do you get things done and make decisions?
  32. Describe the feedback you have received from those with whom you work regarding your strengths.
  33. Describe the feedback you have received from those with whom you work regarding areas where you need improvement.
  34. How would others characterize your communication style – both formal and informal?
  35. Please describe your current scope of responsibilities (include staff and budget). To whom do you report?
  36. What role do you play with the City/County management team? City Council? Citizens or citizen groups?
  37. Please describe your experience with economic development and the attraction of new business or the expansion of existing concerns.  What assets would view as key to Sanford’s future success in terms of economic development?
  38. Please describe your experience with neighborhood stabilization and revitalization efforts.
  39. What experience and successes you have had with regional and intergovernmental cooperation.
  40. Please describe your experience related to effective financial management and financial planning in a governmental environment.
  41. Please describe your experience related to working in a diverse and involved community. What techniques have served you well to build bridges and lines of communications within the community?
  42. Please describe your experience related to major capital improvements.
  43. Please describe your involvement with the development of long- and short-term strategic plans, including the integration to a city’s overall master plan.
  44. Please describe any additional areas of expertise or experiences/project involvement you have/have had that are relevant to the City Manager position.
  45. Are there any special interest groups, citizen groups, employee groups, collective bargaining groups/ unions or media organizations with which you have had adverse dealings?  Would any of these groups be prone to discredit your candidacy if your dealings with them were to come to public light?
  46. Have you posted any of your personal information on social or professional networking websites such as MySpace, Face Book, You Tube, Linked In or Twitter?
  47. Do you know of any postings of you that may have been done by others on such sites?
  48. If you or others have made postings on these sites, could any of the information be considered inappropriate to a prospective employer?
  49. If an electronic file search of print media is made regarding your professional service, what controversies might be disclosed?  What positive comments will we find regarding your service?
  50. How did you learn about the position?
  51. Are you currently interviewing with an employer and/or a finalist in any other recruitment process?
  52. Describe your background and experience.  What have been the areas of emphasis?
  53. How does your experience qualify you for this position?
  54. Have you had experience in all areas of local government service? If you have not had experience in certain field show would you approach management in these areas?
  55. What particular experience do you have 'with respect to budget preparation and finance?
  56. What particular experience do you have with respect to personnel and labor relations?
  57. How do you describe your management style?
  58. What is your experience as a supervisor? How many people have you supervised?
  59. Have you ever had to terminate an employee? What process did you follow?
  60. What are your thoughts with respect to performance evaluation? What process do you follow to set objectives and monitor performance?
  61. How will you go about assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and identifying opportunities to improve?
  62. How do you approach the planning process? What system do you use to set objectives and priorities?
  63. What is important to you in establishing effective working relations with others?
  64. How do you view the relationship between the administrator and governing body? How do you view your relationship with departmental heads and local government staff?
  65. What techniques have you found to be most successful in assisting local government officials establish and implement long- and short-range goals for the community?
  66. To what extent do you believe contact with citizens and citizen groups are important? How do you typically handle this responsibility?
  67. What experience have you had working on an intergovernmental or interagency basis? Have you worked directly with the state and federal government, councils of governments, and other units of local government?
  68. What will your first steps be upon assuming responsibility for this position? What do you hope to accomplish in the first year?
  69. From your limited vantage point what do you believe to be the challenges and opportunities facing our organization? How is this likely to change in the future?
  70. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  71. Where do you want to be five and ten years from now?
  72. Why are you interested in this position?
  73. What are your expectations with respect to compensation?

Typical Due Diligence Questions:

  1. Have you been subject to a formal charge regarding a conflict of interest, violation of ethical conduct, malfeasance or misfeasance in the performance of duties? If so, please explain the circumstances.
  2. Have you been investigated or censured by a grand jury, board of inquiry or similar body? If so, please explain the circumstances.        See above.
  3. Have you been subject to any disciplinary actions, including suspension, probation, or demotion in your adult working career? If so, please explain the circumstances.
  4. Have you been dismissed or asked to resign from a position?  If so, please explain the circumstances.
  5. Have you  been a party as a plaintiff or defendant  to a lawsuit against your current or former employer or have  been subject to a civil or criminal lawsuit  for which there was a finding of fault, an out-of-court settlement, fine or other restitution granted?  (This includes any EEO complaints, civil suits, or allegations of wrongdoing where your personal actions were the cause of a lawsuit.)
  6. Have you been the subject of an EEO, sexual harassment or discrimination complaint?  If so, what was the outcome of the complaint review process?
  7. Have you been convicted of a felony offense?
  8. Have you been subject to a bankruptcy or adverse financial circumstances that would limit your ability to be bonded or placed in a position of fiduciary responsibility?
  9. Is there anything about your professional or personal conduct that could be potentially embarrassing to your employer or could impair your ability to perform your work, if it were learned at a later time?  If so, please explain the circumstances.
  10. Do you understand that if reliable information arises contrary to your above responses, it could be disqualifying?