How To Answer “How Do You Prefer To Be Managed?”

During a job interview you might get the interview question: “How do you prefer to be managed?” or “Describe how you’d like to be managed?” In this article, I’ll explain the reasons why recruiters ask this question and provide you with useful interview tips and an example answer.

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Why do recruiters ask this question? The answer is simple; to determine if you are a good fit to the team and see if you understand the company culture. Although the recruiter or hiring manager is (most likely) not your direct supervisor, they have a direct working relationship and know their ideal candidate profile.

Example Answer (With Experience)

What has worked well for me in the past, is having a manager or supervisor who is reachable, patient and who sets out clear objectives.Β This style of management suits my personality.

I also think it’s important that a manager facilitates a collaborative work environment where colleagues can share thoughts and ideas that influence the decision-making process.

Once my share of the project is done, I prefer a laissez-faire management style so that I can work independently. This is because I enjoy taking responsibility for my own actions and delivering results.”

Example Answer (No Experience)

β€œAs you can see in my resume, I don’t have any job experience yet. Therefore, I’d like to have a manager that regularly provides constructive criticism or feedback. Someone who encourages me to become more experienced in doing [Task 1] and [Task 2] in the job description.Β 

I’ve noticed that your organization offers a lot of continuing education opportunities, which is important to me. I am able to quickly process new information and find meaningful conclusions from it, so my ideal manager is also someone that considers my insights and requests.”

Interview Question Tips

  • Don’t ramble about negative experiences you might have had with former managers, but instead frame them as learning opportunities
  • Don’t share your crazy after-hour drinking experiences with previous managers. These non-work related topics are exciting to you but can leave a bad impression.
  • Do understand the management style(s) of the company and department. For example, a team of software developers are usually subject to a delegative management style, whereas a marketing team requires a collaborative approach to share ideas and solve problems.