17 Conference Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a conference manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Conference managers are responsible for the planning and execution of conferences, trade shows, and other events. If you’re looking for a career in event management, you’ll need to be able to answer conference manager interview questions that assess your skills and experience.

Your potential employer will want to know if you have the organizational skills to plan an event from start to finish, within the budget and timeline set by the client. They’ll also want to know if you have the people skills to manage a team of event staff and vendors, and the customer service skills to deal with clients.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of conference manager interview questions and answers.

Common Conference Manager Interview Questions

Are you familiar with the planning and execution of large-scale events?

Conference managers often need to plan and execute large-scale events. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the experience needed for the role. In your answer, share a specific example of an event you planned or helped plan in the past. Explain what steps you took to ensure it was successful.

Example: “I’ve been planning conferences for five years now. I started out as a conference coordinator at my previous job. My first major project was organizing a two-day seminar with over 500 attendees. We had to find a venue that could accommodate all of our needs. Then we had to hire vendors for catering, transportation and more. It was quite a challenge, but I managed to pull it off successfully.”

What are some of the most important skills for a conference manager to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities to be successful in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they relate to conference management.

Example: “The most important skill for a conference manager is communication. Conference managers need to be able to communicate effectively with all members of their team, as well as other departments within an organization. They also need strong organizational skills, as they are responsible for managing many different aspects of a conference, including budgets, vendors and schedules. Finally, I think problem-solving skills are essential, as there may be challenges that arise during a conference that require creative solutions.”

How would you go about planning a meeting between two very different groups?

Conference managers often have to plan meetings between two or more groups with different needs and expectations. This question helps the interviewer assess your ability to manage such situations, as well as your conflict resolution skills. In your answer, demonstrate how you would handle this situation by describing a specific example of when you did so in the past.

Example: “I once had to plan a meeting for a client who was hosting a conference that included both their employees and clients. The company wanted to host an event where they could show off their new products while also entertaining their clients. However, many of the clients were older individuals who didn’t want to attend a loud party-style event. I met with each group separately to understand what they wanted from the event and then planned a compromise that satisfied everyone.”

What is your process for managing and organizing a large number of tasks?

Conference managers often have to manage a large number of tasks and delegate responsibilities among their team. Employers ask this question to learn about your organizational skills and how you plan out your schedule. In your answer, explain what steps you take when planning out your daily or weekly schedule. Explain that you use software programs or other tools to help you stay organized.

Example: “I start by creating a list of all the things I need to do for the day. Then, I prioritize my tasks based on which ones are most important. After that, I break down each task into smaller subtasks so I can better organize them. For example, if I had to prepare for an event, I would first make a list of everything I needed to do. Then, I would break those tasks down even further into smaller tasks like ordering supplies, booking speakers and setting up tables.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with an unexpected problem during an event.

Conference managers often have to deal with unexpected problems during events. Employers ask this question to learn more about how you handle stressful situations and make decisions under pressure. In your answer, try to describe a specific situation in which you had to solve a problem quickly. Explain what steps you took to resolve the issue and what the outcome was.

Example: “At my last job, I was responsible for organizing an annual conference that brought together hundreds of people from all over the country. One year, we were expecting record-breaking attendance, but two days before the event, one of our keynote speakers canceled their appearance. I immediately gathered my team to discuss possible solutions. We decided to find another speaker who could cover similar topics as the original speaker. Luckily, we found someone who was able to fill in at the last minute.”

If you could choose any speaker in the world to speak at your conference, who would it be and why?

This question is a great way to see how passionate you are about the industry and who you would like to meet. It also shows your knowledge of the conference circuit and who’s popular at the moment. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention someone you’ve already met or someone you’d love to meet in person.

Example: “I would choose Elon Musk because I’m so inspired by his work ethic and dedication to making our world better. He has such an interesting perspective on technology and innovation that I think would be really beneficial for my attendees.”

What would you do if you noticed that a significant number of attendees were leaving early during a session?

Conference managers are responsible for ensuring that all attendees have a positive experience at their events. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of keeping everyone engaged and happy throughout the conference. In your answer, explain how you would try to solve this problem and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Example: “I’ve noticed that sometimes people leave early during sessions because they’re bored or don’t find the speaker interesting. I would first talk with the presenter to see if there was anything I could do to help them improve their presentation style. If not, I would move the session to another room where we could accommodate more attendees.”

How well do you handle stress and pressure?

Conference managers often have to handle a lot of stress and pressure. They need to be able to stay calm under pressure, prioritize tasks and meet deadlines. A conference manager needs to be organized and efficient in order to manage the many tasks they have to do each day.

Example: “I am very good at managing stress and pressure. I know how important it is to remain calm when things get hectic. When I first started working as a conference manager, I was responsible for organizing an event with 500 attendees. There were several last-minute changes that needed to be made, but I stayed calm and managed everything well. The event went smoothly, and everyone had a great time.”

Do you have any experience managing budgets for large events?

Conference managers often need to manage budgets for their events. Employers ask this question to learn about your budgeting experience and how you handled it in the past. Use your answer to explain what type of budgeting system you used, how you managed expenses and any challenges you faced while doing so.

Example: “In my last role as conference manager, I was responsible for managing a large budget for our company’s annual event. We had a set budget that we could spend on food, entertainment and other aspects of the event. To help me keep track of spending, I created a spreadsheet where I entered all of our planned expenses. Then, I monitored our spending throughout the event to make sure we stayed within our budget.”

When planning a conference, what is your process for deciding on a theme?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your creativity and problem-solving skills. Your answer should include a specific example of how you used these skills in the past.

Example: “When I was working as an event planner, my client wanted me to plan their company’s annual conference. The theme they chose for that year was ‘The Future.’ I started by brainstorming ideas with my team members. We decided on several different themes we could use to create the future setting. For instance, we could have had a futuristic city theme or a space theme. After deciding on our final idea, we created a list of all the elements we would need to make it come to life.”

We want to make sure our conference stands out from others in our industry. What is one thing you would add to our event to make it unique?

Conference managers are often tasked with making their events unique and memorable for attendees. This question allows you to show your creativity and problem-solving skills by coming up with a creative idea that will help the company stand out from its competitors.

Example: “I think one way we could make this conference unique is by offering an exclusive experience for our VIP guests. For example, I worked at a tech conference where we offered a private tour of the facility for our VIP guests. It was a great opportunity for them to learn more about the technology they were there to see and allowed us to give them something different than other conferences.”

Describe your process for hiring event vendors and contractors.

Conference managers often need to hire vendors and contractors for their events. Hiring the right people can be a crucial part of event planning, so interviewers may ask you this question to learn more about your process for making these decisions. In your answer, explain what steps you take when hiring new team members or contractors.

Example: “I always start by researching different companies that offer the services I’m looking for. Then, I compare each company’s prices and reviews to find the best one for our budget and needs. Once I’ve found a few good options, I contact them to set up interviews with the potential employees or contractors. During the interviews, I ask questions about their previous experience and how they would handle certain situations at work.”

What makes you the right candidate for this conference manager position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the job. They want someone who is passionate, organized and experienced in conference management. Before your interview, make a list of all your skills that relate to this position. Focus on soft skills like communication and organization rather than technical skills like computer software knowledge.

Example: “I am the right candidate because I have experience managing large conferences with many different vendors and clients. In my last role, I coordinated events with over 100 attendees. I also understand how important it is to be detail-oriented when planning these types of events. I know how to create schedules, delegate tasks and communicate effectively with everyone involved.”

Which conference planning software are you most familiar with using?

Conference managers need to be familiar with a variety of conference planning software. This question helps employers determine if you have experience using the software they use in their company. Before your interview, research which software the company uses and read about it online. If you don’t know what software they use, explain that you are open to learning new software.

Example: “I am most familiar with Eventbrite’s event management software. I used this platform when I worked at my last job as an event planner. It was easy to learn and helped me manage all aspects of events from registration to budgeting. I also learned how to integrate other software into Eventbrite so I could track everything more efficiently.”

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when planning a conference’s logistics?

Conference managers need to be detail-oriented and organized. They also need to have excellent communication skills, as they are often responsible for communicating with vendors, speakers and other conference staff members. Your answer should show the interviewer that you understand how important it is to plan logistics carefully and efficiently.

Example: “I think the most important thing when planning a conference’s logistics is to make sure all of your bases are covered. You want to ensure that there are enough chairs for everyone who needs one, that there are plenty of outlets for people to charge their devices and that there are no scheduling conflicts. I always take time to double-check these things before sending out any communications or making any announcements so that we can avoid any last-minute issues.”

How often do you update your knowledge and skills as a conference manager?

Employers ask this question to see if you are committed to your career and want to improve yourself. Conference managers need to stay up-to-date on industry trends, new software and other developments in their field. Show the interviewer that you are a self-motivated learner by describing how you keep your skills sharp.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my conference management skills. I regularly attend conferences and webinars about event planning. I also subscribe to several online newsletters and blogs about the latest developments in the industry. I have recently started taking an online course about project management because I feel like there is always something more I can learn.”

There is a speaker who was scheduled to speak at your conference who has recently been in the news for saying something controversial. What is your response?

An interviewer may ask this question to see how you would respond in a situation where the conference’s reputation could be affected. In your answer, it can be helpful to explain that you would first research the speaker and their background before making any decisions about whether they should still speak at the event.

Example: “I think it is important to do my own research on the person who has said something controversial so I can understand what led them to say those things. If I feel like they are someone who genuinely wants to help others, then I would probably allow them to continue speaking at the conference. However, if I felt like they were only saying these things for attention or because they don’t know better, then I would not want them representing our company.”


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