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What are Common Supervisor Interview Questions?

Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Common supervisor interview questions include questions about past experience, past educational achievements and questions about leadership styles. Often, an interviewer will also present hypothetical problems and ask an applicant to provide creative solutions. Other supervisor interview questions may also include questions about time management and employee motivation.

Supervisor interview questions often begin with inquiries about previous employment. Specifically, these will likely pertain to how many people were supervised, what daily tasks were accomplished and what short- and long-term goals were met. It is not uncommon for interviewers to also ask for specific details about how previous experience qualifies an applicant for the supervisor position she or he is being considered for.

Inquiries about educational achievements are also commonly included in supervisor interview questions. Although such is usually included on a candidate’s resume or job application, an interviewer will likely ask about previous schools attended, trade skills acquired and how a person’s academic knowledge may apply to the available job position. Supervisor interview questions are constructed in such a way as to learn as much as possible about a potential candidate within a brief conversational setting and questions about a person’s educational background is very important at this phase.

Supervisor interview questions will also be posed regarding a candidate’s leadership and motivational style. To determine this, the interviewer will ask about how an applicant led staff members to accomplish targeted goals in her or his last position. Questions containing hypothetical situations may also be included in the interview to determine how adept the applicant is in analyzing situations, critically assessing options and making decisions that will affect the team being supervised. Interviewers are not only seeking to determine how such situations may be addressed if they occur, but are also attempting to assess a candidate’s thinking process as it relates to problem-solving, as well as how well a candidate is able to articulate a plan of action in critical situations.

Depending on the job description, supervisor interview questions may vary, but will likely also include questions about time management. Specifically, an interviewer may ask about how schedules may be planned and how scheduling conflicts might be handled. Employers will be particularly interested in learning what a supervisor will do to make sure that all shifts are covered in the event an employee is sick, is reassigned or vacates the position.

Regardless of the position in question, supervisor interview questions are designed to compare the strengths and weaknesses of multiple candidates before making a hiring decision. The bulk of these questions may be posed during a single interview or may be conducted in phases with one or more interviewers. As interview phases progress, additional questions may be asked that will likely be very specific as they relate to the exact duties that a supervisor will be expected to perform if hired.

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