Identifying a Good Manager: Key Interview Questions to Ask a Hiring Manager

When venturing into the job market and seeking a new opportunity, finding the right manager can make all the difference in your career journey.

A good manager is not simply someone who oversees tasks and meets deadlines but a true leader who fosters a positive work environment and nurtures the growth of their team.

The interview process is your chance to not only showcase your skills but also to determine if the hiring manager possesses the qualities that will make work a joy and support your personal and professional development.

So, learn what makes a good manager as well as the questions to ask during the interview process to help you decide if this is a person you can see yourself working for.

What makes a good manager?

What makes a good manager is a combination of skills and characteristics like strong communication skills, strong problem solving skills, and a continuous learning mindset.

Strong communication skills

Demonstrating strong communication skills, which entails not just speaking but also actively listening to their team members is essential for any good manager.

This ability allows them to provide constructive feedback and clear instructions, ensuring that everyone is aligned with the team’s goals.

Effective communication fosters a transparent and productive work environment, which is essential for the team’s success.

Trust and empathy

A good manager places trust in their employees, believing in their capacity to meet their responsibilities and excel in their roles.

They also show empathy and understand that each team member has unique strengths, challenges, and personal circumstances that may impact their work.

By fostering an environment of trust and empathy, a good manager can boost team morale and productivity, encouraging each individual to bring their best to the table.

Accountability and responsibility

Taking responsibility for their actions and understanding that every decision they make affects the collective performance of the team, is also a sign of a good manager.

If things go wrong, they don’t blame the team but instead evaluate what they could have done differently.

Holding themselves accountable for the team’s success or failure, they exemplify leadership, fostering a culture where every team member feels equally responsible for the team’s achievements.

Supportive and positive

A good manager should indeed be supportive, consistently providing their team with the resources and guidance they require to succeed.

They should also be encouraging, fostering an environment where each team member feels valued and motivated to contribute their best.

Moreover, a good manager maintains a positive attitude even during challenging times, demonstrating resilience and inspiring the same in their team.

Strong problem-solving skills

Robust problem-solving skills, being capable of critically analyzing complex situations, and developing effective solutions are all qualities every good manager must have.

They approach challenges with a positive attitude, viewing them as opportunities for improvement rather than impediments.

By fostering a problem-solving culture within the team, they encourage creativity and innovation, driving the team and the organization toward success.

Continuous learning mindset

A good manager embraces a continuous learning mindset and is always open to new knowledge and techniques that can enhance their leadership skills.

They’re open-minded and adaptable, understanding that the business world is dynamic and requires constant learning and growth.

By actively seeking educational opportunities and encouraging their team to do the same, they show commitment to personal development and team progress.

Being a team player

Despite holding a leadership role, a good manager understands the importance of working collaboratively with their team.

They appreciate the unique contributions of each team member and know that collective effort fuels success.

Such a manager fosters a culture of inclusivity where everyone’s input is valued and respected, reinforcing the belief that “Together, we achieve more.”

Strategic thinking

A good manager is a strategic thinker, possessing a clear vision for their team and the ability to devise effective strategies to achieve long-term goals.

They understand the importance of forward planning, and they are adept at anticipating challenges and navigating through them.

By incorporating strategic thinking into their leadership style, they drive their team toward success and sustainable growth.

Flexibility and adaptability

Managers that demonstrate their flexibility and adaptability show they have the key traits that allow them to effectively navigate the ever-changing landscape of the contemporary business world.

They swiftly adapt to changing circumstances, making necessary adjustments to strategies and work plans to ensure continuity and progress.

This agility not only fosters resilience within the team but also cultivates an environment that is adept at rapid problem-solving and innovation.

Empowers and delegates

A good manager empowers their team members by delegating tasks, thus providing them with the autonomy to showcase their skills and drive initiatives.

They place their trust in their team’s capabilities, fostering a sense of independence and responsibility among team members.

The act of delegation not only demonstrates their faith in the team’s competencies but also encourages professional development and growth within the team.

10 good interview questions to ask a hiring manager

  1. Can you tell me about your leadership style and how it has evolved over the years?
  2. How do you handle conflicts within your team or between team members?
  3. Can you give an example of a time when you had to provide constructive feedback to an employee? How did you approach it?
  4. How do you prioritize tasks and delegate responsibilities to your team?
  5. In what ways do you foster a positive work culture and support the growth of your team members?
  6. Can you discuss a time when a project did not go as planned? What steps did you take to address the situation and ensure success moving forward?
  7. How do you handle difficult or underperforming employees?
  8. Can you give an example of how you have helped an employee develop and advance in their career?
  9. How do you stay updated on industry trends and incorporate new ideas into your team’s work?
  10. Can you tell me about a time when you had to make a tough decision as a manager? How did you handle it?

Remember, these are just a few examples of questions to ask during the interview process. Don’t be afraid to come up with your own or ask for clarification on any aspects of the manager’s role and expectations.

Qualities of a good manager

Qualities of a good manager include confidence, active listening, approachability, professionalism, and openness.


As a job seeker, it’s essential to look for a hiring manager who exudes confidence in their abilities and decision-making prowess.

During the interview, observe their demeanor and communication style for indications of this confidence.

Active listening

Job seekers should also look for hiring managers who demonstrates active listening skills, shows genuine interest in the conversation, and provides thoughtful responses.

The manager’s ability to listen attentively not only indicates their respect towards others’ ideas but also their capacity to understand and address the needs of their team members effectively.

Calmness and composure

Assessing a hiring manager’s calmness and composure during the interview is a good reflection of their ability to handle stress and maintain stability during challenging circumstances.

Their calm demeanor could indicate their capacity to make rational decisions and act as a steadying influence on the team, even in high-pressure situations.


Approachability in a hiring manager is another quality job seekers should prioritize. This trait fosters open communication, promotes a positive work environment, and makes them more accessible for any concerns or ideas their team might have.

The manager’s willingness to engage in meaningful interactions, their sense of humor, and their overall positive demeanor are good indicators of their approachability.


As a job seeker, be sure to look for a hiring manager who demonstrates respect towards both their team and their work.

This can be discerned through their communication style, their willingness to acknowledge others’ contributions, and their adherence to professional decorum during the interview process.


A job seeker should look for a hiring manager who showcases enthusiasm about their role, the team, and the organization’s mission.

Their passion and positive energy can be infectious, fostering a vibrant and dynamic work environment that motivates the team to achieve their best.


Professionalism in a hiring manager is a critical quality that a job seeker should observe during an interview.

It can be reflected in their punctuality, clarity in communication, respect for others’ time, and ability to provide constructive feedback, indicative of their commitment, reliability, and ethical standards in a work setting.


Openness in a hiring manager is an integral quality to look for as it signifies their willingness to embrace new ideas, acknowledge feedback, and accept potential changes.

A manager’s openness can reflect their adaptability and readiness to evolve as per the team’s needs, thus promoting a collaborative and progressive work environment.

Identifying good manager qualities in an interview

Being able to spot good manager qualities in an interview requires careful observation and assessment of the hiring manager’s behavior, communication style, and responses.

Remember to ask thoughtful questions that align with your values and priorities, and observe how they handle different scenarios or challenges.

An effective manager should exude confidence, active listening skills, calmness and composure, approachability, respectfulness, enthusiasm, professionalism, and openness.

Determine which qualities are most important to you and assess how the hiring manager embodies these during the interview process to determine if they would be a good fit for your professional growth and development within their team.

Looking to hire top-tier Tech, Digital Marketing, or Creative Talent? We can help.

Every year, Mondo helps to fill over 2,000 open positions nationwide.

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