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How to Best Answer Interview Questions for a Supervisor Position

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If you’re someone who has had a long and rewarding career in a specific job or industry, it may be time to move up to a higher position as a supervisor. Becoming a supervisor in a job that you’ve had a long time has many benefits, but it also carries many responsibilities. For instance, you will probably be given a higher salary, but you will also have to take on more tasks and possibly work more hours as well.

If you’ve considered all the pros and cons of becoming a supervisor in your current job or at a new position and you’re ready to take the next step and apply to a supervisor position, then you’ll want to know how to answer specific interview questions.

What Is a Supervisor’s Job Description and Salary?

Many different types of industries require a supervisor or several supervisors to oversee the day-to-day operations at their company or business. A supervisor can make a decent salary, ranging between $48,000 and $65,000, on average. However, this is the salary for a production supervisor, and the salary for another supervision position ‒ for instance, a bank teller supervisor ‒ may be lower or higher based on experience, location, company, etc.

While a supervisor has many responsibilities that vary depending on the industry, in general, the same general job duties are common to all supervision positions:

  • Set performance goals and deadlines and make sure they’re being met
  • Organize workflow
  • Create schedules
  • Resolve issues
  • Monitor employee productivity and provide feedback
  • Take calls to handle questions and concerns from customers
  • Hire and train new employees
  • Prepare reports on employees and company performance

Requirements for Becoming a Supervisor

The specific requirements for becoming a supervisor depend on largely on where you work and the size of the company/how many employees you’ll oversee. Because a supervisor has such an important role, the job isn’t for everyone. You’ll need the right skill set, personality and experience to even have a chance at becoming a supervisor. If you want to check your eligibility, take a look at the various requirements before you consider applying for supervisory role:

  • At least a high school diploma, though a higher degree is preferred
  • Previous supervisory, management or leadership experience
  • Experience working in the industry for a considerable length of time
  • Familiarity with company policies
  • Excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to take a leadership role and delegate responsibilities to others
  • The ability to multi-task and work on several projects at once

What to Expect in a Supervisor Interview

Once you’ve decided that you’re meant for a supervisory position, it’s time to apply for jobs and prepare for your interviews. Typically, a person who is interested in becoming a supervisor will pursue this position in their current workplace. In many ways, it’s easier to be considered for a supervisor position when you’ve been recommended for it by one of your “higher-ups,” based on your hard work and dedication at your current job.

Otherwise, you may be open to working as a supervisor at another company, perhaps in a different industry, too. A supervisor has a very unique skill set, and if you can demonstrate that you’re qualified, you will have more flexibility in terms of where you apply. When it comes time for your interview, you can expect:

  • You’ll be asked about why you’re considering/why you think you’re the right person for the position. Make sure you do a lot of research about the company and the expected roles of the supervisor in that company. 
  • The questions will be challenging. Be prepared to have detailed answers for the person interviewing you.
  • You may be asked to give a mock performance or presentation of how you would handle or address a team.
  • You may have to present a portfolio or numbers proving your efficiency rate or your achievements as a supervisor in the past.
  • Be professional and articulate. In the eyes of the interviewer, the way you carry yourself in the interview should be consistent as to how you’d be as a supervisor.

Common Questions in a Supervisory Interview

Now that you have an idea of what to expect in a supervisory interview, it’s important to get familiar with some of the questions you may be asked. Because a supervisory position is quite specific to the line of work it involves, questions may vary. Usually, however, a standard set of questions to prepare for include:

  • “What is your supervisory style?”
  • “What do you know about what your supervisory role would entail at this company?”
  • “What is your supervisory experience?”
  • “What are your strengths and weaknesses as a supervisor?”
  • “How do you motivate your employees and keep them on task?”
  • “How can you help to create a pleasing working environment for your employees?”
  • “Tell me about a time you faced a conflict at work and how you resolved it.”
  • “Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision. What were some questions you asked yourself, and what were the results of your decision?”
  • “What would your past employer say about you?”
  • “What would your past employees say about you?”

“Describe Your Supervisory Experience” Answers

Out of all the questions you’ll be asked during your supervisory interview, one of the most pressing questions is: “Describe your supervisory experience.” This can be tricky to answer, especially if you’re applying for your first supervision job. As long as you can highlight your experience in a leadership role, as well as your motivation to become a supervisor combined with your very desirable skills, your answer will be sufficient.

If you don’t have supervisory experience, then be honest and forthcoming about it. After all, everyone has to start somewhere! List the skills and experience that would make you a great supervisor as well as your willingness to learn new skills. And, whatever you say, make sure it aligns with what’s in your resume, as your interviewer will likely have this in front of them as they interview you.

“Describe Your Supervisory Experience” Examples

Even if you do have supervisory experience, simply saying, “I have five years of supervisory experience,” is not enough of an answer. You have to describe your experience in detail by talking about some of your duties, triumphs and challenges. If you’re not sure how exactly to answer the question, it may be helpful to take a look at some “Describe your supervisory experience” examples:

“I’ve been a supervisor at my current job for the last two years. Throughout my career, I’ve had the unique opportunity to come up with new positions that I felt were imperative to the growth of the company, and I was able to hire for those positions. While it was challenging to find the right employees for these roles, it taught me how to implement several important skills that are required of a supervisor....”

If you’re worried that your lack of experience as a supervisor may negatively impact your interview or that your answer isn’t as good as it can be, you’ll have a chance to make up for that by having strong answers to the other questions you’ll be asked.

Other Supervisory Interview Tips

In addition to preparing for the types of questions you’ll be asked in a supervisory interview, there are other ways you can prepare for the job. Of course, always research the company and try to find out some information about your interviewer. Dress professionally, and be punctual, confident and approachable when you walk into the interview. No matter your experience, highlight your strengths and demonstrate your willingness to learn new skills as a supervisor. Most importantly, remember to be yourself.

References

About the Author

Hana LaRock has been a content writer for more than five years. As part of her work as a contributor to numerous websites, Hana enjoys helping people find a new path in their lives, whether it involves editing a resume or providing information on finding work abroad.