Supervisor Interview Questions and Answers

Sample supervisor interview questions with practical answer help.

Whether the job is for a sales supervisor, a production supervisor, a warehouse supervisor or a team leader the same basic competencies and supervisor skills are required to successfully carry out the duties and responsibilities in the supervisory role.

Conceptual illustration of supervisory work with words "Supervisor Interview Questions"

Feel confident about your job interview by knowing which interview questions to expect for supervisor jobs.

Prepare winning interview answers and impress as the right job candidate. 

11 Essential Supervisor Interview Questions

1. What are the essential qualities of a good supervisor?

In your interview answer include these key competencies or supervisory skills that apply to all supervisor jobs.

  • planning and organizing
  • problem-solving
  • decision-making
  • delegating
  • motivating
  • influencing
  • communicating
  • managing conflict

2. What do you consider to be the role of a supervisor?

"The primary role of the supervisor is to plan, coordinate and oversee a group or team of people to efficiently use available resources and maximize productivity in order to achieve set objectives."

Text description of the role of a supervisor.

3. Describe your supervisory style.

When answering supervisor interview questions around your personal supervisory style remember that there is no wrong or right supervisory style.

The only criteria is that it should be appropriate to the situation. Your ability to adapt your style to the demands of the person you are dealing with, the task at hand and the circumstances is key to success as a supervisor.

Provide examples of how you have had to adapt your supervisory style to meet different needs.

Leadership styles

4. What are your strengths as a supervisor?

This complete list of employee strengths will help you answer this common interview question. Make sure you highlight those strengths that are relevant to the job opportunity.

Relevant supervisor workplace strengths include:

  • decision making and judgment
  • coaching and mentoring
  • organizing and planning
  • communication

You may be asked which areas you would like to improve on as a supervisor. This list of common workplace weaknesses can help you with this.

You may be asked the What motivates you interview question. Find top example answers to this tricky question to help you prepare.

5. How do you motivate your employees/team members?

The more your employees or team members understand about their jobs and responsibilities the more motivated they are. Show how you ensure each subordinate has clarity about his or her role and responsibilities.

  • discuss how you set clear, specific and realistic targets that are agreed on rather than dictated
  • focus on how you involve employees by asking for suggestions, ideas and feedback

6. When evaluating an employee or team member's performance what factors are most important to you?

This question is designed to assess your performance standards. Show:

  • how you set high work standards for yourself and your subordinates
  • how you communicate your expectations
  • how you monitor performance

Behavioral supervisor interview questions

7. Tell me about a time an employee made a significant mistake. What action did you take?

This is a behavioral supervisor interview question. You are expected to provide an example of how you successfully managed a difficult employee or team member. Find out more about handling the behavioral interview.

In your answer to this supervisor interview question focus on your ability:

  • to communicate openly to understand the cause of the mistake
  • to discuss with the employee how it can be prevented from happening again
  • to view the mistake as a learning opportunity to improve future performance

8. Describe a time you had to introduce important change in your last job.

Your ability to persuade and influence your employees or team members to accept change is key.

Show how you were able to gain support and commitment from them:

  • by using the appropriate communication style
  • by listening and responding to concerns and questions
  • by asking for their help and commitment
  • by providing support

9. Describe a time you had to manage conflict within your department/team/group.

Your example can show how you identified the source of conflict, used the conflict situation as a constructive process to exchange opinions and ideas and clarify roles and responsibilities.

Discuss how you kept the focus on the desired outcome rather than on personal grievances.

Problem-solving behavioral interview questions

Collaboration interview questions and answers

10. Tell me about a time you had to coach an employee to perform a task.

Coaching and developing others is part of the supervisor function.

Supervisor interview questions about the development of employees should include your ability to:

  • agree on the outcomes and methods of coaching with the employee
  • explain and demonstrate task performance
  • observe and provide constructive feedback

11. Tell me about a short term plan you developed for your department/team/group.

These supervisor interview questions explore your ability to plan and organize. Your interview answer should demonstrate your ability to:

  • set priorities
  • establish objectives and milestones
  • schedule activities and plan proper use of resources

Good time management interview questions and answers

First time supervisor interview questions

These are the type of interview questions a first-time or new supervisor may be asked.

Why do you want to be a supervisor?

A supervisory role is the logical next step in their career path for many candidates. In your interview answer:

  • explain you are looking for an increased level of responsibility, further challenges and are eager to learn
  • highlight that you are confident that your previous experience has equipped you well for the supervisor job
  • provide examples of the relevant skills you have developed such as planning, organizing, communication, delegation, conflict resolution
  • discuss how you can add significant value to the company in a supervisory role

How have your previous roles prepared you for a supervisory role?

In your interview answer to this first-time supervisor interview question focus on those skills and competencies you have gained in your career to date and that you bring to the supervisory role.  How have you have used these skills in the workplace? Discuss your experience of working in a team and the challenges and problems you have overcome and what you have learned.

Why do you think you will make a good supervisor?

What strengths do you have that would make you a competent supervisor? Supervisory competencies and skills include:

  • communication skills
  • adaptability
  • planning and organizing
  • collaborative skills
  • integrity
  • conflict resolution
  • critical thinking
  • problem-solving
  • willing to learn

What do you consider the main challenges for a first-time supervisor? 

This supervisor interview question is designed to evaluate your insight into the supervisory role. Common challenges a first-time supervisor faces include:

  • commanding authority, trust and respect
  • motivating employees
  • meeting the diverse needs of different employees
  • managing competing demands

Go on to explain how you would address these challenges in your new supervisor role such as:

  • setting clear expectations for each employee
  • clearly defining tasks and responsibilities for each employee
  • displaying a confident and positive attitude
  • listening carefully and establishing a high level of communication and transparency
  • responding constructively to feedback
  • following through on commitments you make
  • being adaptable and flexible

Customer service supervisor interview questions

Prepare for these typical customer service supervisor interview questions:

  • What do you consider the most important factors for a successful customer service department?
  • Describe your supervisory style and give me an example of how you apply it.
  • How do you motivate and engage your team to provide excellent customer service?
  • What are the  key competencies you look for when hiring a new employee?
  • How do you measure and evaluate the performance of your team?
  • What strategies do you use to improve team performance?
  • How do you ensure your department is cost efficient?
  • How do you monitor compliance with company policies and procedures?
  • What action do you take to stay up to date on customer service trends and techniques?

Find a comprehensive guide to the Customer Service Supervisor Interview

Retail supervisor interview questions

Prepare for common retail supervisor interview questions including:

  • How do you ensure consistently high levels of customer service by your team?
  • What motivational techniques do you use to ensure your team members meet performance standards?
  • How you  monitor and evaluate employee performance?
  • How do you address poor performance issues?
  • How do you create a positive retail work environment?

The complete Retail Supervisor Interview guide.

Call center supervisor interview questions

Prepare for typical call center supervisor interview questions including:

  • How do you ensure your team meets performance standards?
  • How do you motivate and engage your call center agents?
  • How do you improve employee performance?
  • How do you handle customer issues that are escalated to you?
  • What are your strengths as a call center supervisor?

The  complete Call Center Supervisor Interview guide

Essential interview questions for supervisors

You will also find these pages useful for your supervisor interview

Supervisor interview questions will also include common job interview questions. Find out how to answer frequently asked interview questions.


Top 10 Interview Questions


Management Interview Questions

Questions to ask the employer

Prepare some good questions to ask in your supervisor interview. Candidates who have a list of insightful questions ready to ask the interviewer demonstrate their commitment and interest in the position.

Use the list at smart job interview questions to ask to help you with this.

Questions to Ask after the interview

Submit a winning supervisor job application

What are the main responsibilities of a supervisor?

A comprehensive list of the tasks, duties and responsibilities of a typical supervisor is provided in these job descriptions.

Supervisor Duties and Responsibilities

Management Job Descriptions

To Top of Page

© Copyright 2023  |   |   All Rights Reserved.