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. 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)
“As 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.
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.