Must Knows for Your Next Management Level Interview

Before donning your best suit and pitching yourself to a company decision-maker as the answer to their managerial need, you should know that there is a 38 percent chance that company uses predictive behavioral assessments during the hiring process (2013 survey by Brandon Hall Group).

Why is this important to know? Behavioral assessment use could mean you’ll be taking an assessment as a part of the interview process and it could mean that the interviewer has a perspective you might not expect. Employers who use behavioral assessments will understand that your resume and experience may give them a good idea of what you can do, but they also recognize it’s your behavioral drives that dictate what you will do. Therefore, to ace the interview, you should take a moment to reflect on what drives you.

Show that you can adapt.

What drives your desire to lead, your leadership techniques, and your quest for productivity? Take those behavioral drives and compare them with the needs of the position for which you’re applying. You need to be prepared to discuss work-related behavioral traits that require flexibility to each managerial challenge, both from an overall (behavioral demands of the position) and individual perspective (motivating needs of each individual on your team).

“In a word, you need to show adaptability. As a manager, you'll have to work with various experience, ability, confidence levels, and personality types, and find a way to get the most out of everyone,” says Dan Yeo, a manager at Search Laboratory.

When to adapt.

Let’s explore how behavioral drives can work for you or against you depending on the specific needs of the position and the individuals you will be managing.

Dominance & Risk Taking

It’s not uncommon for one to think that in order to be a good manager you need to have a strong desire to lead and direct, also referred to as the drive for ownership and control. Often those who show they are high in dominance will want to do things their way and aren’t afraid to take risks. With many start-ups, high growth and turnaround situations, this is just what the employer is looking for.

However, what if the department or division is humming along just fine? In this case, the employer is probably looking for more of a team player to take over the reins; someone who is more collaborative and supportive, rather than competitive and controlling.  

Extroversion & Sociability

As a manager and leader you need to have a strong drive for social interaction, right? In fact, you likely wouldn’t have earned a leadership title without being sociable.

“According to Globoforce's Fall 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker survey, 69 percent of employees with 25 or more friends reported that they were highly engaged in their work, compared to only 28 percent of employees with no friends at work,” says Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce.

It’s important to understand the situation and the individuals on your future team. However some successful managers, especially in highly technical fields are more analytical and task-oriented by nature, yet still have deep desire to help the individuals on their team to be successful.  

Patience & Stability

Generally, employers are looking for managers with a drive to get things done quickly. However, patience is typically related to a desire for stability and often this is an all-important need many employees possess. As their manager in a situation like this, it’s critical for you to foster a sense of stability to keep your team happy and productive.

Determining what approach is best.

Having some understanding of the behavioral requirements of the specific job prior to the interview is critical to your ability to present your managerial style as a good fit. Often there are clues in the job description. For example, if it includes terms like, “go-getter,” “take-charge,” “break new ground,” etc. then you have a pretty good idea that they are looking for someone with a high drive for ownership and control, and is willing to take risks.   

Jim Gribble is a Strategic Planning Facilitator with a focus on Human Capital Analytics to help organizations achieve their business objectives.