Businesses need area managers for several reasons. They are usually responsible for several stores in a given area. They work with other senior and department managers to ensure the proper and effective operation of businesses.
Among their many duties, they also set sales targets, making them an important part of the organization. How then can you land a job as an area manager?
This article will cover a few common questions that you should expect in an area manager interview. We would like you to have the upper hand before stepping into the interview room by familiarizing yourself with a few assessment areas. Ensure that you also work on your speaking and general interview skills to increase your chances of landing the job.
Take a look at the following questions and their answers:
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
This is a common opening question in interviews that you should expect by now. The interviewer wants to know what irked your interest in this field or the particular job announcement. The best approach here is to show the interviewer that you are passionate, enthusiastic, and can deliver. Make sure that you sell yourself and mention some of the things you can do for the business if given a chance.
I love helping businesses achieve proper and effective operations. I am an experienced area manager with over ten years in this field. I have gone through your job description and feel that my services can be better utilized here since I understand all the listed activities and roles. I also love your products and would feel honored if given a chance to contribute to their market reach.
2. What Are The Roles of an Area Manager?
If you’ve been an area manager before, you definitely know some of your mandates. However, if this is your first time, a random Google search or a look at the job description will do the magic. An interviewer will only give you a chance if they are satisfied that you know what they expect of you in the workplace. Therefore, make sure that you only list job-specific roles.
In my former position as an area manager, some of my roles were setting sales targets, driving team performance, overseeing the training and development of my staff, and ensuring high customer service standards. I also worked closely with my team, ensuring that the environment was constantly stimulating and supportive. (If you’ve never been an area manager, use the roles listed in the job description)
3. What Are Some of The Qualities That You Need To Be an Effective Area Manager?
If you understand your roles as an area manager, then you know what it takes to be good at your job. Each job normally requires a detailed set of skills for proper execution. The best approach to this question is to list the attributes, skills, and behaviors that have seen you where you are in this job.
In my years of service in this field, I have realized that an area manager should be able to work and pressure and display excellent leadership skills. He/she should also be ready to multitask given the number of jobs that one may be required to attend to at a time. Other qualities include excellent organization, problem-solving, mentoring, and motivation skills.
4. What Is The Main Challenge That You Faced During Your Last Role? How Did You Overcome It?
This question is assessing your problem-solving skills just from how it is framed. Can you identify a challenge and arrive at a solution, or you’ll be spending most of your time whining? Mention any experience that saw you overcoming a challenge and painting you as a good problem solver.
When I joined my previous company, I realized that the team was not well-constituted, which affected their performance. Since one of my roles was ensuring excellent team performance, I had to intervene. However, these people had worked for so long as a team that introducing sudden changes would have probably given rise to adverse effects. I took some time and looked for a better way to do it. I first educated them on the importance of proper tam organization and how it can help performance. I then started making small changes-changing roles and making minor reshuffles. Once they were okay with what was happening, I reconstituted the entire team without affecting their morale. Team performance increased by a remarkable 50%.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine
Can you describe the daily life of an Area Manager? What are some of the roles that you perform daily? Such questions seek to find out just how familiar you are with your job. Here, try to remember one of your busiest days and narrate it to the interviewer. Make sure that it captures all your daily activities.
Given my nature of work, I usually report early to my workplace and plan out my day. I supervise the opening of the stores that I manage and then conduct a meeting with team members to review some of our milestones and brief each other on our progress or upcoming challenges. The rest of the day is then spent by my desk replying to calls and emails, reviewing and monitoring the set sales targets, ensuring that the team has a stimulating and supportive environment, and overseeing the training development of my staff. I may also attend scheduled meetings with different senior and departmental managers in the organization.
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience
The interviewer only wants an overview of some of the roles and outstanding experiences you have had in this field. It is also wise to mention some of your achievements. Keep it brief, just like the question suggests.
This is my tenth year as an area manager. Before rising to management, I started as a salesperson in charge of a small town. I had great potential was soon asked to serve in the office. I then became a store manager when I left the company and joined Jhus General Motors before advancing to an area manager at Devlin group of companies, which I have occupied until recently.
7. Mention a Strategy and Mindset Required For This Role
If you love getting things done, you must have a way of making things work. Offer it as an answer to the first part of the question. As for the second part, think about the perspective that guides you in this role. Ensure that you can relate it to the position.
My success as an area manager is highly dependent on my team. I have therefore discovered that the best strategy is empowering the team to help them register excellent performance. As for the right mindset, being result-oriented helps, especially when setting sales targets. It also helps me rally my team towards a common purpose.
8. What Is The Main Challenge That You Foresee In This Role?
This question doesn’t necessarily have to be a trap. The interviewer perhaps wants to know and make changes to some areas that may prove problematic later in your role. Try to be as honest as possible. However, try not to throw yourself under the bus and come off as incompetent, or you will lose your chance.
I have had an overview of your operations, and I am pleased with my findings. You have completely automated them, which solves 75% of the problems I have faced in my career. The remaining 25% are common problems that cut across. I can handle them well, thanks to my years of experience and significant expertise in this field. I will also let you know as fast as possible if anything comes up that warrants your attention if given a chance.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In This Job?
Management is not usually as easy as it seems. You are in charge of several employees and blamed if things do not turn out as anticipated. Therefore, this job will come with a lot of pressure, and you should ensure that you are adequately motivated. While answering this question, desist from mentioning material reasons.
I usually set goals and stop at nothing until I have achieved them. I love succeeding in what I do and draw lots of motivation from my former successes. I also took up meditation, which has helped me boost my focus and maintain my motivation.
10. Have You Ever Managed a Difficult Team?
As an area manager, you will be charged with managing a team. Given the difference in personalities, you should not expect an easy time always. The interviewer wants you to mention your experience managing a problematic squad that will bring your management prowess to light.
Yes. When I joined my second company as an area manager, the team I found was astonishing. They had internal wrangles that threatened performance. Some members never came for meetings, and others never met the deadlines. I had to move first. I reorganized the team and ensured that those with conflicts did not rub shoulders in their roles. I also had to be firm on those who missed meetings and deadlines by setting ground rules and repercussions. The team was well behaved afterward.
11. Mention a Time That You Failed In This Role. What Lesson Did You Learn?
Failure is not a sign of defeat. Even the most successful personalities fail at some point. The most important part of failure is the lesson you pick. Mention an experience where you failed as an area manager and a lesson you picked that has helped shaped your career.
I used the wrong management style during my first year as an area manager. I focused more on being a ‘boss’ rather than a leader, which saw my team perform out of obligation and not because they enjoyed their work. I later discovered that people want to be inspired rather than told what to do and have always focused on being a leader and not a boss.
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12. How Do You Deal With Disagreements?
This is an operational question that seeks to determine how you go about your role as an area manager. Disagreements are common, especially when a team is involved. However, as a manager, you should have a way of solving them or responding.
Disagreements are common in this line of work. Whenever I notice a rift between two of my staff members, I usually summon them and help them settle their differences. I act as a mediator, giving them a chance to share their side of the story before assisting them in reaching an agreement/solution without imposing mine.
13. What Is Your Preferred Management Style?
Every manager has their preferred management style. However, make sure that yours is not authoritarian since part of your work as an area manager is to motivate employees.
I believe in working as a team and delegating duties, which makes everyone have a sense of ownership. I always inspire my team and the employees who look up to me towards a common objective and maintain an open line of communication where they can express themselves freely.
14. As an Area Manager, Which Is The Most Successful Project That You Have Ever Worked On?
An interviewer will ask you such a question to determine how you define success and just how competent you are at your job. Mention a time when you felt that you had succeeded in your career.
Once, we were introducing a new product in an area monopolized by another brand for fifteen years. I was appointed the area manager and charged with overseeing the team and setting target sales. We worked extremely hard, and on many occasions, I even joined the team to popularize our product in the market. The first months were relatively slow, but we had sold all our units in an area that only knew one product for ages by the fourth month.
15. How Good Are You at Handling Stress and Pressure From Work?
Being an area manager is highly demanding, and with it comes lots of pressure and stress. If you can handle these, you will be formidable.
I have developed effective stress handling techniques over the years. I take yoga classes and meditate a lot, which helps me a great deal. As for the pressure that comes with this role, I believe that it unlocks the beast within me and motivates me to go even harder. It is, therefore, safe to say that I can work well under pressure.
16. We Have Several Candidates who are Also Highly Skilled. Why Should We Give You This Job?
This is a chance to sell yourself and mention some of the unique things that the company stands to gain from your expertise. Mention your skills and accomplishments and make sure that you are positive.
I am passionate about sales and marketing. I have been in this field for quite some time and therefore understand it inside out. If given a chance, I will use everything that I have learned to succeed in this organization.
17. In Your Opinion, What is the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader and Who Do You Find Important?
A manager is quite different from a leader. By asking you this question, the interviewer wants to know whether your job will stop at management or if you will also inspire.
A manager ensures that the set goals are met regardless of the means, whereas a leader inspires others to meet these goals. Leaders, therefore, work closely with their subordinates and guides them every step of the way. In my opinion, a leader is the more important of the two.
18. What Do You Dislike Most about Leading or Management?
Interviewers will ask you such a question to get your views on leadership and management. You can be honest, but do not throw yourself under the bus.
Leadership and management come with several expectations that may stress someone out. Not meeting these expectations also means that you will take the blame.
19. What Is Your Opinion on Delegation?
As an area manager working with a team, you may/will be expected to delegate work. Tell the interviewer how you envisage going about it.
Delegation of work increases efficiency by saving time. I usually delegate duties in this line of work. However, I also ensure that work is given based on ability. Inasmuch as delegation tends to improve efficiency, I also value results.
20. Have You Ever Had to Make a Difficult Decision? How Do You Arrive at These?
Management is all about decision-making. This is an operational question that seeks to determine how you go about making your decisions.
Yes. Before I make decisions, I usually visualize their outcome. Whenever I have a difficult situation to decide on, I usually settle on a decision with the most negligible repercussions.
These are some of the commonest area manager interview questions that you will come across. Make sure that you also think about some unique answers that will impress the interviewer. All the best in your upcoming interview!