IT manager job interview questions and answersWhen you want to take on a new career path in IT, one of the most daunting obstacles you will face is the job interview. Getting to this point requires persistence and a solid professional pedigree, but this is where you show the employer you are serious. If you answer the questions well, you can be on track for a financially and emotionally rewarding career with a great company. If you answer them poorly, you will need to look elsewhere.


Here are a few top IT manager job interview questions along with some guidance on how to provide a great answer.

1. Can You Tell me a Little About Yourself?

This question is a deceptively simple one. Since you know your own background better than anyone else in the world, it can be tempting not to prepare for this question at all. However, failing to prepare with a solid, concise answer can leave you stumbling right from the start.

How to Answer:

You’ll want to list two to three of your best, most quantifiable accomplishments that relate to IT management. You can talk about how you once had a server crash and had a new one installed within an hour -- and how you learned to always have a backup ready to switch immediately. Or you could mention that in school you had a side business repairing and simplifying links for local businesses. Whatever you say, keep it around thirty seconds and practice until you sound confident in your contribution.


2. When Have You Needed to Choose Between Two or More Important Budgetary Decisions Within the Organization and Could Only Fund One of Them?

This question concerns how you deal with scarce resources, which are a reality in information technology. Many companies only think of the IT department when something breaks, and often they do not consider the costs associated with technological infrastructure. Nonetheless, every company wants the best technology at work for them.

How to Answer:

This requires you to think of a time when you had two great ideas and found a way to keep one side ready for when the budget allowed for it while you moved ahead on the better of the two. Why was the one you moved on better, from a customer service or a dollars and cents standpoint? Be prepared with numbers that back up your claim.


3. When Have You Had to Oversee Someone Who Was Not Performing to Standard?

This is one question that concerns neither the technological element nor the financial one of management. Ultimately, managing anywhere requires working with people, and those people can sometimes be less than stellar performers.

How to Answer:

Other than simply ignoring sub-par work, there is no right or wrong way to deal with someone who is not doing their best. Did you consult with the person, offer to mentor them, threaten them if they did not improve a certain set of their metrics? Explain why you did what you did. Do your best to understand the management styles that are most popular in the company you are applying to work in before you show up so you can share a time when you did what they would expect out of their management personnel.


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4. When Have You Had to Negotiate Something in the Workplace?

One of the pinnacle skills of any kind of manager is the ability to balance the needs of more than one entity. Often this is the needs of the IT department versus the organization's overall budget, but it can be as small as moderating a disagreement between two equally well-performing people who simply do not get along with one another.

How to Answer:

The interviewer is looking for how you assemble a win-win scenario, which is one where everyone gets something out of the deal and walks away essentially happy. Explain what the variables were, how large the stakes were, and how you eventually solved the problem for the benefit of all.


5. When Have You Had One Message and Several Audiences, and How Did You Tailor Your Remarks for Each Group?

Tailoring your communication style to get a message across is a cornerstone of management, and dealing with diverse groups is part of the job. While every department has certain stereotypical types of people who are more likely to be part of it, dealing with your most experienced personnel versus rookies and with groups who have different types of training can be as distinct as speaking two or more different languages.

How to Answer:

Explain how you broke down the key points, used humor for one group but kept it straight for the other, or perhaps even changed the meeting venue.

Do You Want to Become an IT Manager?

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