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Open-ended Interview Questions For Managers

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Open-Ended Interview Questions – Ask Questions!

This question surprises almost everyone, says Liza Hausman, VP of Industry Marketing at Houzz.

I like it because it tells me what they think is important about their skills or experience. It also lets me know if they have an interview strategy of their own, which can be useful if theyre going to be building out a team.

Got a favorite interview question of your own? Tell us on Twitter or. Well compile the best submissions and share them withFirst Round Review newsletter subscribers.

Why Did You Change Your Career Path

If you recently changed your career path, the interviewer is sure to ask about it.

Dont worry – theres nothing wrong with this.

A lot of people go through a career change. Some even do it several times in their lifetime!

As long as youre good at what you do, no one cares if you were a pediatrician in one year, and a professional chef in another.

When asked this question, all you have to do is answer truthfully. Explain how your old job just wasnt for you, and how the job youre applying for is so much more interesting.

I realized that being a doctor is not for me. While I did enjoy my 3 years in med school, the 6 year study period was too much.

I wanted to start making money and help out my family way before that, so I dropped out of university and started taking online courses in accounting.

At this point, Im pretty good at it, having done 2 internships so far in and .

  • Sample Answer 2

Simply because I enjoy doing sales much more than accounting. After 5 years of working as an accountant for Firm X, I decided I wanted to try something new.

I asked my boss at the time to let me transition to the sales team, and I ended up liking it AND being pretty good at it.

Questions About Experience And Background

These questions help a hiring manager gain a better understanding of a candidate’s relevant experience and background:

  • What extracurricular activities did you participate in throughout your education?

  • Tell me about a time you overcame a challenging situation.

  • What is your greatest achievement?

  • How did you offer value in your previous role?

  • Tell me about a time you needed to use your leadership skills.

  • If you could change anything about your past, what would it be?

  • What has been your favorite type of work environment so far?

  • What experiences have helped you prepare for this role?

  • Give me an example of a time you had to use an unconventional solution.

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision.

Related:Interview Question: “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?”

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What Is The Most Desired Skill That Is Required To Become A Successful Project Manager According To Your Experience Please Give Us A Couple Of Examples Regarding Your Past Projects

When Managers Help by Asking Questions

If you are experienced in project management, you might probably know that there is no single skill that is enough for a successful career in the field. To be a successful project manager, you should possess multiple project management skills like leadership skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, and time management skills, to name a few. To answer this question promptly, you should be able to justify why you have chosen a particular skill. You can include a couple of examples to substantiate your answer.

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How Do You Feel About Working Weekends Or Late Hours

Youre gonna get asked this question in one of the following 2 cases:

1) Youre applying for a job that requires working odd hours.

In this case, your answer is pretty straightforward – since youre applying for such a job, you probably dont have any problems working odd hours.

Sure! Im OK with working late hours or weekends, as long as you let me know about it at least a few days in advance.

2) Youre applying for just about any other type of job.

Now, you should look at this as a red flag. Is the employer just checking your dedication, or are they looking for someone thats going to work 24/7 with no overtime pay?

In this case, ask them to clarify what they mean.

Given enough warning, sure. Is that something Ill be required to do often? Do you offer overtime pay for this kind of situation?

Why Did You Decide To Apply For This Position

Through this question, the interviewers want to assess how passionate you are for the position. And no, the answer isnt:

Well, Im very passionate about not starving to death.

Well, I needed the money, and you guys tend to pay a lot.

What the interviewer is looking for here is to see how passionate you are about the job or the company. After all, job performance is directly linked to job satisfaction. The happier you are about your position at the company, the more productive youll be.

And heres the kicker – your passion will be very evident during the interview.

When youre talking to a person thats passionate about something, you can pretty much feel them glow as they talk. And if youre an HR manager whos interviewed hundreds of people, this is a very good sign to hire the candidate.

So, use this knowledge to your advantage.

When asked this question, your answer should include 2 things:

  • What motivated you to apply for this position, specifically.
  • Why this company? Have you heard of them before?
  • Im very passionate about sustainability and renewable energy. In fact, I minored in Environmental Science at .

    Ive always wanted to put my engineering degree to a good cause – and the position as a Sustainability Coordinator at is just the right thing.

    Ive been following your company for the past few years, and I love how youre changing the renewable energy landscape in America.

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    Are You A Team Player

    Wherever youre applying, the answer to this question should be a Yes!

    Even if youre applying for a completely solo role, chances are, youre still going to have to work in a team occasionally.

    Wed recommend being very specific about your answer here – dont just say yes. Give the interviewer an exact example of when you excelled at working with a team.

    • Sample Answer 1:

    Im much better at working in a team than alone, actually. Thats what I love about working in advertising – everyone has their own specific type of a creative spark, and when you combine it all, magic happens!

    Im good at both leading and following in terms of creativity and brainstorming. Im also super receptive to others ideas, and do my best to help them execute it without nay-saying or criticism.

    • Sample Answer 2:

    Yep, definitely. I excel at team-work.

    This one time while working at , I was assigned to an existing team working on a web application for a business process management company.

    They were working on a tight deadline, and needed help on the API side.

    I optimised their development cycles and oversaw a team of three developers while collaborating with the other two dev teams.

    Everything went pretty well, and we managed to finish the project on time.

    Tell Me About A Time When You Declined An Opportunity To Lead Why Did You Choose Not To Step Into The Leadership Role

    Open-Ended Interview Questions – How To Master Questions With No Structure

    This leadership question can feel a little tricky. However, leaders dont just need to know when to step forward they need to understand when stepping back is wise, too. Thats why the hiring manager asks this question. Essentially, they want to see that you can exercise good judgment.


    In my last position, I was asked to oversee a project because I had prior experience leading project teams. However, the project wasnt aligned with my area of expertise. Additionally, I was currently overseeing two other projects, both of which were long-term and of high value to the organization.

    I told my manager that I would like to decline the opportunity. I not only explained how it could hinder my performance on the two other projects but also stated that I felt a colleagues area of expertise was a better match to the new projects requirements. Additionally, I said that I had great respect for my coworkers capabilities and, while they hadnt led a project previously, they were an exceptional team member in past projects we did together, often exuding leadership traits.

    Ultimately, my manager understood my position and also appreciated my insights into my colleagues abilities. They later offered the project to my coworker, and Im happy to say that their project as well as the two I was overseeing succeeded.

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    What Is Your Process For Effectively Delegating Tasks

    Even a superstar manager can’t do it all by themselves, so this question lets an interviewer see if you’re confident in passing on tasks to those working on your team.

    Try to focus your answer on how you’ve been able to assign specific tasks to staff members. If possible, mention a situation where you identified the skills of your team and handed out tasks according to each team member’s strengths.

    Example answer

    I take a two-step approach when delegating projects to team members: 1. I identify the skills that my team members already possess, and 2. I find areas where team members could grow by completing a task. In either case, I let those who I’m delegating projects to know the expectations using key performance indicators, as well as setting them up for success through communication and making sure team members have everything that they need.

    What Is Your Strategy To Deal With Internal Conflicts Among The Team Members

    Here, the interviewer is trying to understand your mediation skills and how impartial you are while resolving conflicts. You can explain why there is a necessity to listen to both the parties and understand both perspectives. Your answer should include how you convince both the parties to come to a conclusion that works best for the project at hand and delivers a win-win situation. Also, it would help if you communicate how you ensure that both of them are not benefitting at the loss of the other.

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    Among The People You’ve Worked With Who Do You Admire And Why

    On its face, this question might not seem to be designed to uncover motivations. But thats exactly what is digging for when he asks it in interviews.

    As an angel investor, product lead for Slacks growth and monetization team and co-founder of, Walter stays busy pursuing the causes he cares about and hes interested in learning more about the values that drive folks who want to join his team.

    I want to uncover a candidates values, but Ive found that asking about that directly isnt as effective, he says. This question pulls out those drivers in a more subtle, yet honest way. What they admire in others tells you a lot about what they find important.

    Youll learn a lot more about a candidates values by asking her who she admires. Its a telling glimpse into the qualities shes striving to cultivate herself.

    Whats One Misconception Your Coworkers Have About You


    Umbrella co-founder Sam Gerstenzang once wrote that its not the presence of weakness, but rather a failure to recognize it that usually holds people back and accordingly, his go-to interview question centers around self-awareness.

    I’ve found this question tends to open up a candidate, he tells us. By asking for a misconception rather than something coworkers simply don’t know about you, the interviewer often receives a more important and revealing truth while also understanding how the candidate relates to their co-workers.

    In Gerstenzangs experience, the misconception is often something a candidate wishes they had more or less of, which helps understand their underlying motivations. A less-than-great answer often reveals an underdeveloped sense of self or poor communication with co-workers, he says.

    Asking about misconceptions is a powerful tool. It speaks to both your conception of yourself, and your understanding of how others perceive you both of which are critical.

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    What Are Three Words Youd Use To Describe Yourself

    Whats the most simple, straightforward way to find out someones personality or strong suits? Just ask them. Giving your candidate a chance to try describing themselves objectively will reveal a lot about how they view themselves, and how much self-awareness they have.

    In a past interview, McGuinness said she was asked a variation of this question: What were three things her closest friends and family would say about her and why? That question, she said, pushed her to do some self-reflection.

    It forced me to dig deep, and helped me to understand that the job and company I was interviewing for wasnt only worried about a specific skill set, but the type of person they were hiring, she said.

    Turning interview question responses, and the subtle clues hidden within them, into solid hiring decisions is tough. But knowing the right questions to ask is half the battle the rest, Redlich said, just takes exercise.

    It takes time to gain the confidence to ask behavioral, open-ended questions and be able to read through the noise, Redlich said. Interviewing is as much art as it is science. Doing it well takes practice.

    What Do You Wish You Could Do That You Cant Do Today

    This is a variation on the If you could wave a magic wand question asked by many product managers. Ive found that questions like these work well for very specific features or use cases. Be careful about asking this question in too general a fashion or too early, as it can lead to ambiguous results or a blank stare.

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    Tell Us About Yourself

    Open-ended questions require candidates to explain themselves. However, you’ll find it hard to showcase your most appealing qualities when an interviewer frames his questions too broadly, “Psychology Today” says. An example is the traditional opening request, “Tell us about yourself.” However you respond, there’s no single correct answer to help evaluate your candidacy. You may also feel tempted to tell the interviewer what he wants to hear.

    Find A Way To Give The Candidate Feedback In The Interview

    How to Answer Open Ended Interview Questions

    This one is less question, more targeted tactic, but its such valuable interview advice for hiring managers that we had to include it here. It was suggested by Nicky Goulimis, co-founder and COO of .

    In every interview, I try to find a way to give a candidate constructive feedback and see how they react, she says. How we navigate tough conversations is critical for how well be able to work together in the future, so its important to test.

    Its always unique to the candidate, so its hard to give one-size-fits all advice, but here are two tactics she relies on to create an opening for a constructive feedback opportunity:

    Feedback on the exercise: Our business interview process typically involves a take-home that we have candidates present, says Goulimis. We always applaud the candidate at the end to share our appreciation, but then everyone on the interview panel goes around sharing feedback, both positive and constructive. Its incredibly instructive to see a candidate internalize that feedback and respond to it in the moment.

    Feedback on their potential fit: I also share constructive feedback when debriefing with candidates. I talk openly about whats really exciting to me and where I still have question marks, she says. In addition to demonstrating my commitment to transparency, it also offers them an opportunity to react to or address those areas while theyre still being considered.

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    The 7 Best Open Ended Interview Questions

    During a job interview, open ended questions provide valuable opportunities to peek behind the veil of prepared answers and find out what a job candidate is really like. The following are interview questions designed to get applicants to reveal more about themselves.

    1. Wellwhy dont you start with telling me about yourself?

    As an hiring manager, pay attention to not only how impressive well the candidate can speak of themself, but also to how the candidate demonstrates her willingness to take the initiative in answering the question. Self motivated employees can do their jobs without constant supervision or motivational tricks.2. How would you go about handling _______?

    This question is designed to test technical knowledge. While candidates may claim to have experience in your industry, a question like this will test whether or not they actually know what they are doing.

    3. So, tell me about some of your biggest failures or regrets.

    This question tests honesty and sense of personal responsibility. Does the candidate take responsibility for their failures or do they blame others? Do they learn from their mistakes? Can they answer the question without going into personal details?

    4. If I were to call one of your co-workers, what would they say about you?

    This is a great way to indirectly find out whether or not a candidate can put their self in the shoes of another co-worker and to find out how well they can work with others, and also empathize with others.

    What Are Your Weaknesses

    For most people, owning your accomplishments and strengths is a lot easier than owning your weaknesses. But part of accountability is knowing what you could do better, and a candidate who doesnt shy away from discussing failures or setbacks shows they own their personal and professional growth.

    This question can provide clear insight about how well theyd fit in the role. For instance, if theyre interviewing for a public facing and team-oriented role, learning a candidate dislikes collaboration or seriously struggles with public speaking may be a dealbreaker.

    Knowing where a person can improve will make it easier for the individual interviewing them to know if this is a skillset not as needed on the team, said Siegel. It makes hiring candidates smarter rather harder.

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