Interview Questions To Ask A Potential Manager (And What Not To)

Getting ready for your first one-on-one job interview? Here are common mistakes to avoid. Click to find out.

October 26, 2023
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How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

More often than not, potential employees forget that a job interview is a two-way street where both participants need to assess each other.

As your potential manager (or hiring manager) assesses your suitability for a specific job description, you should also evaluate the manager’s leadership style, the company's future, professional development opportunities, communication skills, and decision-making abilities. In addition, find out how the job role, existing team, and company culture align with your career development.

This article will explore the best job interview questions for a hiring manager and how to obtain insights into a potential manager’s management style. We’ll also highlight questions not to ask during a job interview. 

Let’s delve right into the interview process.

How Do You Ask A Potential Employer About Management Style?

An essential part of the job interview process is to inquire about the management style of a potential employer. Different management styles have a distinct impact on your and other direct reports' work performance. Therefore, understanding the different styles is necessary to know which works best for you.

Here are steps to follow to inquire about management style in a job interview:

  1. Begin with a positive tone.
  2. Ask open-ended questions.
  3. Request for scenarios.
  4. Inquire about the predominant communication style.
  5. Remain polite.

1. Begin with a positive tone

A productive job interview goes beyond asking good interview questions. The presentation and tone matter as well. Begin by patiently learning about the prevalent management approach in a team and its collective performance. This creates a cordial atmosphere for the ensuing questions to flow.

2. Ask open-ended questions 

To get the most out of your job interview questions for managers, it’s important to ask open-ended and constructive questions to ensure detailed and informative responses from the hiring manager. 

Consider asking the following questions:

  • Can you describe your management style and how it translates to the team’s success on a typical day?
  • How do you handle and respond to constructive criticism or feedback that might be perceived as negative?
  • How often do you do team check-ins, both individually and with the team as a whole? How does company culture view feedback?
  • How do you address underperformance within your team, and what is the performance review process?
  • Could you share your strategy for motivating your team and creating a productive work environment?
  • What would you say are the most essential qualities of a manager?

Open-ended questions like these guarantee valuable insights and information from your potential employee.

3. Request for scenarios

During the job interview, you can ask a potential employer for specific real-life instances that exemplify their management style, including how they give negative feedback politely. Having hiring managers provide scenarios further reaffirms your understanding of their management style. 

An example is to ask a few questions about their conflict resolution methods to understand thought processes and company culture. This provides a practical means of gauging their conflict resolution and leadership capabilities.

4. Inquire about the main communication style

One of the key aspects of any management style is the communication strategy. How a potential employer communicates is crucial to consider before joining an organization so make sure to bring this up during a job interview.

You should learn about the communication protocols within a team and how the manager interacts with team members. Ask in a job interview about how feedback and performance evaluations work within the team, the frequency of team meetings, and employee resource groups. 

5. Remain polite and self aware

Throughout an interview, ensure you are being polite and professional with the hiring manager. Whenever you ask an interviewer a question, express genuine curiosity about the job description and keep your questions' tone respectful. This not only demonstrates professionalism but also signals respect for the interviewer.

What’s A Smart Question To Ask In An Interview?

A smart interview question always conveys genuine interest. Plus, interviews often feel like one-on-one meetings that require preparations. The best hiring manager interview questions stem from the need to clarify certain relevant aspects of day-to-day responsibilities, the specific role, and the organization.

It’s good practice to come into an interview prepared with questions that help you properly evaluate the organization's company culture and your potential manager. According to Gallup, managers are responsible for approximately 70% of a team’s engagement. 

Here are some of the best questions to ask in an interview;

  • What’s the organization’s structure, and how does this role fit into it?
  • What opportunities for professional career advancement or career path planning are available?
  • How do you prioritize tasks and projects for any team member?
  • Which collaboration and productivity tools does the team use?
  • How do you stay informed about industry trends and changes that may impact your team's work?
  • What common traits do successful employees at your company have?

What’s the organization’s structure, and how does this role fit into it?

This is an important question job candidates can ask during an interview because it provides you with a good perspective of the role you’re interviewing for. It also highlights its significance in an organization's overall structure and workflow, helping you understand how the different teams work synergistically in a typical day. 

It also helps you picture how your job description contributes to realizing the company’s objectives.

How would you describe opportunities for professional career advancement or career path planning are available?

The interview questions you have for a potential manager should include this. Inquiring about professional growth opportunities shows your commitment to growth, opportunities, and success within the organization. It helps you to assess the level of investment put in by the company to develop the skill set of employees. 

Your professional development should always be a priority, and finding a company that understands this is an excellent step in the right direction in your career path.

How do you prioritize tasks and projects for your team?

This job interview question is a way of getting further information about the management style of a potential manager. It allows you to understand how teams operate and how efficiently they achieve their goals and the organization’s objectives. 

The response will help you evaluate if your potential employer is committed to steering the team toward success, team work and boosting employee morale, how delegation within the team works, and if deadlines are met when due.

Which collaboration and productivity tools does the team use? 

Collaboration and communication often drive productivity and company culture, and tools make the job easier. So, what better way to gauge productivity in a company than through their project management software, communication and collaboration tools

The question also allows you to evaluate the team’s technology proficiency. Knowing the type of tools they use lets you determine how easily the company can adapt to the ever-changing workspace. It could also provide insights into their knowledge-sharing techniques and tools, such as their knowledge-sharing questionnaire questions.

How do you stay informed about industry trends and changes that may impact your team's work?

This is one of the questions to ask at the end of an interview. It tests a potential employer's proactiveness and competitive drive, including the willingness to be ahead of industry competitors. 

It also helps you gauge the level of strategic planning within the team and the proficiency of risk assessments for decision-making.

What Are The Five Basic Questions To Ask Your Boss Before You Start Work?

These job interview questions are ideal for a productive one-on-one meeting with your manager. Asking these questions allows you to be fully aware of your role and the key performance indices.

These questions include:

  1. Can you describe the day-to-day tasks of this position?
  2. What are the short-term and long-term goals for this role?
  3. What are the key performance indices for this role?
  4. What are the company culture values and objectives?
  5. What do you consider the biggest challenges in this role?

Can you describe the day-to-day tasks of this position?

This is one of the most common interview questions. It tells you all you need to know about the daily responsibilities attached to your position.

It also helps you manage your time by knowing which tasks and skills to prioritize for better performance. Understanding how your responsibilities fit into the organization’s workflow also makes you liaise better with other team members.

What are the short-term and long-term goals for this role?

Goals keep you committed. Ensure you ask and understand all your goals for your position, both short-term and long-term, to enable you to plan correctly. When fully aware of your goals, you can easily track and monitor your progress toward fulfilling them.

Productivity tools like Assembly do an excellent job of helping you evaluate your performance in your role. Try it Today.

What are the key performance indices for this role?

If you don’t know the key determinants of success in a given role, you will either be doing what’s expected of you wrongly or not doing it all. So, part of the top interview questions to ask should include you seeking clarity on the assessment criteria for judging your performance in the given position. 

What are the company culture values and objectives?

A company’s culture determines many things, from decision-making to employee experience. It says a lot about every component of the workflow. So, if a company’s work culture doesn’t align with your workplace expectations, it could be hard to fit in and work effectively. Therefore, ask your boss about the core values promoted by the company to confirm if they align with your ethics and beliefs.

What do you consider the biggest challenges in this role (possibly within day-to-day responsibilities as well)?

This is a unique interview question to ask. It makes for a good conversation and allows you to initiate a good working relationship with your boss by highlighting their roles in ensuring your work success. It also allows you to note the mistakes to avoid and reduce the common obstacles you may encounter in the role.

You’re not only mentally prepared for challenges but also ready to take proactive steps to avoid these problems. You also collaborate more effectively with other team members in tackling these setbacks. 

Questions Not To Ask A Potential Manager During An Interview.

Although we recommend asking as many relevant questions as possible, there’s a line. Various things, including the appropriateness, the value, and the timing, influence that line, and using meaningful icebreakers is a great way to begin when unsure or nervous. 

However, there are some questions to steer clear of to avoid starting on a sour note with a potential manager. These questions include:

  • Questions about personal relationships (married/single), family, health, religion, political beliefs, or any other personal matters
  • Questions about the manager's salary, bonuses, or financial situation
  • Questions about the manager's age, gender, ethnicity, or any additional discriminatory information
  • Questions that are overly negative, confrontational, or critical about the manager's past decisions or the company
  • Questions about the manager's likes, dislikes, or preferences that are not relevant to the job
  • Questions without readily available answers
  • Questions on sensitive health issues
  • Questions on politics
  • Questions with lengthy hypothetical scenarios
  • Questions with unnecessary jargon

Questions about personal relationships (married/single), family, health, religion, political beliefs, or any other personal matters

Avoid questions around overly personal topics to steer clear of discrimination; for instance, inquiry into religion can introduce religious sentiments into the conversation. Additionally, it ensures legal compliance and maintains professionalism during the interview.

Questions about the manager's salary, bonuses, or financial situation

This question is intrusive, unprofessional, and also irrelevant. The financial entitlements of a potential manager are independent of the responsibilities of your assigned role. 

Questions about the manager's age, gender, ethnicity, or any other information

Just like questions about personal relationships, these questions are also not relevant. These questions tend to introduce biases based on age, gender, and ethnicity.

Questions that are overly negative, confrontational, or critical about the manager's past decisions or the company

These questions leave a negative impression on your potential employer and paint a picture of your unwillingness to engage in teamwork. Likewise, it makes the interview session less productive because it shifts attention to actions that have taken place in the past. Instead, inquire how you can contribute to the team and the organization's success.

Questions about the manager's likes, dislikes, or preferences that are not relevant to the job

Questions like this just derail the focus of the interview. Avoid them to signal good work ethics and values. Moreover, they also come off as a breach of confidentiality.

Questions with readily available answers 

This is counterproductive. Interviews are a critical part of a hiring process where you can obtain valuable insights into a company and leave a good impression on the interviewer. As such, asking about company details that are readily available in public space, for instance, a company website, makes you miss this golden opportunity. Additionally, such questions make you appear unprepared.

Questions on sensitive health issues 

This also falls under privacy concerns. Some laws protect against discrimination on health grounds. Hence, asking about sensitive health issues can be perceived as being discriminatory.

Questions on politics

It’s simply about avoiding political bias to not impair your judgment. Political bias may prevent you from seeing the bigger picture and identifying the growth opportunities existing in the company.

Questions with lengthy hypothetical scenarios

These types of interview questions are time-consuming and less efficient. Sometimes, they don’t capture the situation correctly and complicate things. This makes it difficult to obtain reliable and comprehensive information from your interviewer. A well-summarized scenario is much better to use.

Questions with unnecessary jargon

Unnecessary jargon makes questions unclear, and responses obtained do little or nothing to bring clarity. Using jargon during an interview gives your potential employer the impression that you need better communication skills, which might impair your chances of being selected.

Assembly offers a professional, productive, and efficient hiring process

The need for interviewees to ask questions during job interviews can’t be overemphasized. It is the best way to satisfactorily assess the leadership capabilities of your potential manager and how well you fit into the company as a whole. In addition, it helps you understand team dynamics, role expectations, manager feedback culture, and the organization's values and goals.

The end goal of any hiring process is to ensure that only suitable candidates are considered for open positions. This is why interviews are conducted professionally, with both sides firmly reaffirming one another’s work preferences in an orderly and respectful manner, whether in person or virtually, using good interview questions.

Assembly is a top-rated HR tool that enables hiring managers to engage in effective bidirectional communication throughout the hiring process for better positive outcomes. Book a free Demo Today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

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