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Management Interview Questions

Candidates ask for guidance on management interview questions all the time. But if I track back through my recruiting years, there is one question that comes up time and time again. Experts in negotiation will tell you that the person who puts a number on the table first always loses. When it comes to a salary discussion, especially at the management level, I'm not sure that I agree.

You'll get some no nonsense advice on this one in this next installment of management interview questions, followed by another sticky topic -- ethics. Read on!


Salary discussions should not be taking place until you're fairly far along in the process. You can be coy and dodge this management interview question -- saying something to the effect that the opportunity is more important than the dollars; or state what you know the range for the position to be.

Photo of a Stack of Money

However, I like to deal with this discussion directly and honestly. A good starting point is to indicate what you're currently making. Employers know that they are not going to attract top talent with a lateral financial move. When you talk about what you're making, don't play games. The employer is looking for your base salary, bonus and/or commission -- your annual cash compensation.

If you have a car allowance, then say so, but don't lump this amount into your "salary." The value of your benefit package is off limits in this discussion. Don't waste your time trying to quantify it. You can get to a specific comparison later, when you have an offer pending.

I use salary as a barometer to measure scope of responsibility and to level the playing field. If you're making $100K all in, and my position is paying $200K at plan, this is not going to be a good match. Something is creating this disconnect, and I will probe to find out what it is.

It's reasonable to expect a 10-20% increase in your financial package when making a move. If you're unemployed, it's reasonable to expect that you'll return to your most recent salary level.

Don't be surprised if your new employer asks for a copy of your W-2. This is especially common in sales roles. Failure to produce the document, or a discrepancy between the document and what you quoted during the interview process will create problems for you. Honesty is always the best policy.


Corporate execs are unfortunately finding their way into jail these days -- and it seems clear that shareholders and the public at large are holding them accountable for lapses in judgment when it comes to ethical behavior. While this management interview question may be more relevant in financial circles, don't be surprised if someone asks about ethics in other functional disciplines. It's easy to state that you are an ethical person with a strong value system. It's another question entirely to look for an example where ethics played a part in your decision.

Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew was wrong? Have you ever been asked to shade the truth relative to your company's operational capabilities? Have you ever seen your boss lie? We are not interested in "dirty laundry" here -- so you can stay out of the weeds when answering. If you say "no" to this one, you probably won't be believed! Hopefully, as these situations have come up, you've put your moral compass at the forefront and taken the appropriate course of action. Use an example where you did the right thing.


I ask this question of any candidate who is a manager of people and claims to be a great mentor and coach. So many people can talk a good game relative to this topic, yet when asked who they've actually helped in a tangible way, they come up short. I'm looking for specifics here -- not a theoretical management discussion. I want you to name names...if the last person you promoted was 5 years ago, you're in trouble on this management interview question!

For more management interview questions, check out these sections:

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To start with Question #1, please Click Here

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