How To Answer “How Do You Like To Be Managed?” – Drilling Down Into The Job Interview
We continue to explore common job interview questions and provide insightful advice to craft compelling answers.
When the “How do you like to be managed?” question pops up in a job interview, it can leave unprepared candidates at a loss how to answer. Should you answer truthfully and risk revealing that your style of working doesn’t align with the manager’s? Or should you try to anticipate the answer the interviewer in the room wants to hear in order to impress?
In this handy guide, we look deeper into why interviewers ask this question and provide insightful tips for you to prepare an effective answer.
Why do employers ask this question?
First of all, if an interviewer does ask this question, then you should count it as a good sign. That’s because it indicates the employer is consciously striving to foster positive relationships between management and employees at their company. Essentially, they want to know how you like to be managed to better understand how you’d potentially fit into the team and company ecosystem. This would help sidestep any major clashes between work styles and expectations from the outset.
Most people have experienced some form of incompetent or toxic management in the workplace. This can make a job downright unbearable. That’s why being honest in your response is crucial. By being honest about your preferred management style, you can ensure your expectations are aligned with the employer’s.
Also, keep in mind that a job interview is a two-way street. It’s not only an opportunity for employers to assess you. It’s also your chance to determine whether this job is the best fit for you. So be sure to use this question as a platform to investigate how the company manages and treats its people.
5 simple tips to answer, “How do you like to be managed?”
Generally speaking, your answer to “How do you like to be managed?” should contain several key ingredients. These include:
• An example or two based on your previous managers
• Reasons why their management styles did or did not work
• A valuable lesson you picked up from your past job experiences
• How all the above aligns with the company you’re now interviewing for
If you’re unsure how to begin crafting a response that weaves in these components, follow these five simple tips.
1 – Reflect on previous work experiences & managers
Reflecting on your previous managers is the best place to start in order to craft an effective answer. Think about managers you’ve worked with and take notes. What did they do well? How could they have improved their management style? Did they provide constructive feedback and delegate work fairly? Were they supportive in helping you achieve your career goals? All this information will help you form a clearer picture of your ideal manager.
2 – Research the company culture
As with most interview questions, it’s always a good idea to tie your response directly back to that particular employer. That’s why it’s helpful to look into the company to better understand their culture and management style. You may find testimonials online from employees speaking about their experience with the company. List down any positives that appeal to you. These can be useful talking points that will help you expand your answer to show why you’re excited about working for this company.
3 – Keep your answer positive
No matter how bad things got with a previous manager, you should always frame your answer in a positive light. That doesn’t mean you should pretend you always had a great working relationship with your managers. Instead, use those bad experiences to demonstrate how these have helped you better understand your preferred management style. For example, if you’ve been overly micromanaged in a role and that left you feeling restricted and uninspired, you can say that you value when managers trust employees to get on with their tasks as this helps you be more productive and creative in your job.
4 – Provide examples in your answer
In a job interview, there’s always a temptation to be as amenable as possible. After all, you want the recruiter to like you. However, sometimes this can backfire. When talking about your preferred management style, you never want to say that you’re happy with all kinds of managers. This will only show that you’re indecisive and unpassionate. It’s much better to be specific in your response by providing examples that back up your stance on the topic. Offer up scenarios from your previous job experiences that show how these helped you be more productive and happier in your role. By being truthful, you’re more likely to help recruiters picture how you’d fit in with the team.
5 – Turn the question round to the interviewer
After you’ve provided your answer, don’t be afraid to turn the question round and ask the employer how they prefer to manage their people. This is an especially great line of inquiry if you’re being interviewed by the person who’d be your direct manager should you get the role. Are they autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire in their management style? Do they seem warm and welcoming or cold and remote? Their answer should provide you with valuable insight into whether you feel you’d work well with this person or not.
For more insightful tips on how to approach your next interview, be sure to check out our extensive guides and articles in our Candidates Resources.