17 Front Line Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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

Front line managers are the first and often the only managers that employees working in a business see on a day-to-day basis. They are responsible for the majority of employee interactions, and as such, they need to be able to handle difficult conversations, provide feedback, and motivate employees. They also need to be able to handle administrative tasks, such as scheduling and payroll.

If you’re looking to move up in your career and become a front line manager, you’ll need to be prepared to answer questions about your experience and your ability to manage employees. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some common front line manager interview questions and answers, so you can go into your interview feeling confident.

Are you comfortable giving negative feedback to employees?

Front line managers often need to give negative feedback to employees. Employers ask this question to make sure you are comfortable with this responsibility and can do it in a productive way that helps the employee improve their performance. In your answer, explain how you would approach giving negative feedback to an employee. Share some strategies you use to help employees feel more comfortable receiving criticism from their manager.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable giving negative feedback to my team members. I think it’s important for front line managers to be honest with their employees about their performance. When I have to give someone negative feedback, I try to meet with them one-on-one so they feel like we’re having a conversation rather than me just telling them something. I also always start by letting them know what I appreciate about their work before getting into the areas where they could improve.”

What are some strategies you use to motivate your employees?

Front line managers often need to motivate their employees. Employers ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you can help their team succeed. In your answer, explain a few ways that you’ve motivated your team in the past. Share some specific examples of what motivated your employees and helped them achieve success.

Example: “I find that one of the best ways to motivate my team is by showing appreciation for their hard work. I try to thank my employees for their contributions regularly so they know I notice their good work. Another strategy I use to motivate my team is setting clear expectations. When my team knows what’s expected of them, it helps them feel confident in their roles and perform well.”

How do you handle an employee who is not meeting expectations?

Front line managers often have to address performance issues with their employees. Employers ask this question to learn more about your approach to handling these situations. In your answer, explain how you would handle a situation like this and what steps you would take to help the employee improve their performance.

Example: “If I had an employee who was not meeting expectations, I would first meet with them one-on-one to discuss my concerns. During our conversation, I would try to understand why they are struggling in their role. Then, I would create a plan for improvement that we both agree on. If the employee is open to feedback, I would provide constructive criticism so they can learn from their mistakes.”

What is your experience managing a budget?

Front line managers often need to manage budgets for their departments. Employers ask this question to learn about your budgeting experience and how you would handle managing a department’s finances. Use your answer to explain what type of budgeting software you use, if any, and the steps you take when creating or monitoring a budget.

Example: “I have managed my own personal budget since I was in college. I used free online budgeting software at first but eventually upgraded to a paid version that helped me organize my spending more efficiently. As a front line manager, I would create a budget with the help of my team members. We would decide on realistic goals for our department and then divide up the tasks needed to meet those goals.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to make a quick decision.

Front line managers often have to make quick decisions that can impact the company’s success. Employers ask this question to see if you are able to think quickly and act decisively when necessary. In your answer, explain a situation where you had to make a decision without much time to consider it. Explain what factors you considered in making your choice and how it impacted the company positively or negatively.

Example: “When I was working as a server at a restaurant, we were very busy one night. One of my coworkers called out sick, so I had to cover their tables while also taking care of my own. A customer came up to me with a complaint about their food. I knew that if I didn’t handle the situation right away, they would likely leave us a bad review online. So, I apologized for their experience and offered them a discount on their next visit. They ended up leaving us a five-star review.”

If an employee was having a problem, how would you go about resolving it?

Front line managers often have to resolve conflicts between employees. Employers ask this question to see how you would handle a conflict resolution situation. In your answer, explain the steps you would take to help an employee solve their problem. Explain that you would try to be empathetic and helpful in resolving the issue.

Example: “If an employee was having a problem, I would first listen to them and understand what they were saying. Then, I would talk with them about possible solutions to their problem. If there is a solution that can be resolved quickly, I would do so. However, if it’s something more complex, I would refer them to my supervisor or someone else who could help them.”

What would you do if you noticed that an employee was not following company policies?

Front line managers are responsible for ensuring that employees follow company policies. This question helps employers understand how you would handle this situation and whether you have experience with it in the past. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure that the employee understands the policy and follows it going forward.

Example: “If I noticed an employee was not following a company policy, I would first speak with them about their actions. If they were aware of the policy but chose to ignore it, I would give them a warning. If they continued to break the policy after the warning, I would terminate their employment.”

How well do you understand our company’s mission and values?

Front line managers are responsible for ensuring their team members understand the company’s mission and values. This question is your opportunity to show that you have researched the organization thoroughly and can apply its principles in your daily work.

Example: “I am familiar with our company’s mission statement, which is to provide excellent customer service by exceeding customers’ expectations. I also know about our core values of teamwork, integrity, respect and excellence. These values guide my decision-making process when working with my team. For example, if a customer has an issue, I always refer them to one of my team members who can help them resolve it. I believe this approach shows respect for both the customer and my employees.”

Do you have any experience training new employees?

Front line managers often train new employees, so the interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience doing so. Use your answer to highlight your training skills and how they can benefit a company.

Example: “I’ve trained several new employees in my previous positions as a front line manager. I find that it’s important for all team members to understand our company culture and values. To do this, I like to give an overview of our organization, including what we offer customers and how we operate. I also provide information on our products or services and explain how each employee contributes to the overall success of the business.”

When was the last time you took steps to improve your knowledge of your field?

Employers want to know that you’re committed to your career and are always looking for ways to improve yourself. They may ask this question to see if you have any certifications or plan on taking courses in the future. If you do, share them with the interviewer. If not, explain what steps you will take to learn more about your field.

Example: “I am currently enrolled in a certification program through my university. I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the year so I can add it to my resume. In addition to that, I’ve been reading up on some new techniques I could use to better manage my team.”

We want to improve our customer service. What ideas do you have for doing so?

Front line managers are often responsible for improving customer service. They can do this by training their employees to be more helpful and friendly, implementing new technology that improves the customer experience or creating a culture of excellence in customer service. When you answer this question, make sure to include specific ideas about how you would improve customer service at your current company.

Example: “I think one way we could improve our customer service is by having weekly meetings where everyone talks about ways they can help customers better. I also think it would be beneficial if we had a system where customers could leave feedback online so we could respond to them quickly. Another idea I have is to create a rewards program where customers get points when they shop with us and then redeem those points for discounts on future purchases.”

Describe your management style.

This question can help the interviewer determine how you would fit into their organization. Your management style is a reflection of your values and beliefs, so it’s important to be honest about what type of manager you are.

Example: “I am a very hands-on manager who likes to get involved in my team members’ projects. I believe that by being actively engaged with my employees, they feel more supported and valued. I also like to give my team members autonomy over their work because I think it helps them develop confidence and independence. However, I’m always available for one-on-one meetings or group discussions if anyone needs advice or feedback.”

What makes you the best candidate for this job?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and why you are the best person for the job. Before your interview, make a list of all your skills and experiences that relate to the position. Think about what makes you unique compared to other candidates.

Example: “I am the best candidate for this role because I have experience working in customer service roles. In my previous positions, I’ve learned how to manage employees while also providing excellent customer service. This has helped me develop strong communication skills and problem-solving abilities. I can use these skills to help your team provide better service to customers.”

Which industries do you have experience working in?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience and how it relates to their company. Before your interview, research the industries that the employer works in and highlight any similarities between your previous work and theirs. This can help you connect with them on a deeper level and show that you are passionate about what they do.

Example: “I have worked in both retail and hospitality for most of my career. I love working with customers and helping them find solutions to their problems. In my last role as a front line manager at a restaurant, I helped train new employees and resolve customer complaints. I think these skills would be beneficial to apply here.”

What do you think is the most important trait for a front line manager to have?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a person and how you view your role as a front line manager. It can also give them insight into what traits they should look for in other employees who will be working under you. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about which traits have helped you succeed in previous roles.

Example: “I believe that empathy is one of the most important traits for a front line manager to have. I’ve worked with managers before who were very good at delegating tasks but didn’t take the time to understand how their team members felt about those tasks or if there was anything they could do to make the process easier. Empathy helps us see things from our team’s perspective and allows us to create an environment where everyone feels supported.”

How often do you give your employees feedback on their work?

Front line managers often need to provide feedback on their employees’ work. This question helps the interviewer understand how you give constructive criticism and praise when needed. Use examples from your experience of giving regular feedback to your team members, including what you discuss in these meetings and how it helped them improve their performance.

Example: “I meet with my team at least once a week to discuss our progress and any challenges we’re facing. I find that this weekly meeting is an effective way to keep everyone informed about company goals and individual responsibilities. During these meetings, I also provide feedback on each employee’s performance. I use a five-point scale to rate their work and explain why they received that rating. I then offer suggestions for improvement so they can achieve a higher score next time.”

There is a problem with an important project. How do you handle it?

Front line managers often have to handle problems that arise in the workplace. An interviewer may ask this question to learn how you respond to challenges and solve them. In your answer, describe a time when you handled a problem successfully. Explain what steps you took to resolve it.

Example: “When I was working as an assistant manager at a restaurant, there was a problem with one of our most popular dishes. The dish had too much salt, which made some customers sick. As soon as I found out about the issue, I immediately pulled all the remaining dishes from the menu. Then, I worked with my team to create a new recipe for the dish. We served the new dish within two weeks.”


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