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Anyone who has worked in a supervisor role knows how challenging yet rewarding it is. But chances are if you’re trying to become a supervisor, you’ll be forced to answer:
“Why do you want to become a supervisor?”
To score the job, you’ll have to perfect the answer to this common interview question in a way that showcases your qualifications, enthusiasm, and readiness for the position. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out in your career, this guide will help you make a great first impression and increase your chances of getting the job.
Why The Interviewer Asks This Question
Great interviewers have a very structured approach to avoid common interview mistakes. You might be wondering why an interviewer would pose this question in the first place. There are a couple of reasons.
1.) For one, if you are prompted to answer why you want to be a supervisor during an interview, then the hiring manager is likely trying to determine if you want the job for the right reasons. Being a supervisor requires a genuine interest in wanting to work with and develop others. If you only want the job because of the pay or promotion opportunity, how can they be sure that you’ll be a great supervisor to their workforce?
2.) Another reason hiring managers ask this question is to discern whether you have the skills, experience, and qualities to be an effective supervisor. The interviewer is looking for you to tell them what you bring to the table and how you’ll positively impact the company.
How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Be a Supervisor?”
Let’s jump right into how you can answer why you want to be a supervisor. It’s crucial to nail your response to impress the interviewer – and hopefully move on in the interview process! Below are some tips that will help you answer the question, “why do you want to be a supervisor?”
Put Your Leadership Skills on Full Display
Before you go on any interviews, make a list of all the leadership skills you possess. Examples might include:
- emotional intelligence
- conflict resolution
- strategic thinking
- active listening
- interpersonal skills
Then make sure to highlight these skills during the interviews. Show the interviewer that you possess many of the skills and qualities necessary to be a successful supervisor.
Discuss How Choosing You Will Benefit the Company
It’s easy to get caught up in explaining how the role and company culture will benefit you, but the interviewer doesn’t necessarily care about that. They care about how your experience, expertise, network, and personality traits will help them. Focus on showing them all the benefits they’ll receive from hiring you.
Give Examples That Support Your Claims
It’s great to go on and on about all you offer, but the interviewer won’t know if this is true unless you back up your assertions with real-life examples. Talk about your track record. Give them proof you’ll be able to do what you say. Remember to talk in quantifiable ways (meaning, give numbers and percentages), which will make your claims more impactful.
Talk About Your Management Philosophy and Strategies
To differentiate yourself from someone who isn’t supervisor-material, emphasize your management strategies and philosophies. Demonstrate that you have a management mindset. For example, how will you build and motivate a team? What kind of management challenges have you overcome in the past?
Explain How You Evaluate Your Subordinates
A big part of being a supervisor is overseeing others. As you go into evaluation strategies, keep in mind that effective communication is an essential skill to highlight to drive home your points. For example, showcase how you communicate praise and disappointment as a way to develop your workforce.
Emphasize Your Ability to Build Teams
Not only do you need to know how to manage a team, but you also need to be able to build one! Be sure to emphasize how you ensure the team you’ve built is cohesive and functioning at its highest possible level. You should also discuss your strategies to motivate teams and keep morale up.
Highlight Your Problem-Solving Capabilities
Leaders must think quickly and creatively so they can solve problems. Don’t miss this opportunity to provide the interviewer with an example of when you successfully navigated issues while in a supervisor role. Use the popular STAR method to describe a situation when you encountered a problem, the task and actions you took to resolve it, and the result.
Project Confidence Throughout the Interview
Sometimes, it’s all about how you answer why you want to be a supervisor. Your words won’t matter if your body language is saying something different. The best way to exude confidence is by maintaining good eye contact, speaking with conviction, and staying calm. Supervisors must have enough confidence to lead and inspire; the best time to show that is during the interview.
Be Positive and Convey Optimism
The last thing you want to do when answering the question, “why do you want to be a supervisor?” is to speak negatively about past experiences (especially if you speak unfavorably about previous bosses or coworkers). If you must bring up failures or adverse circumstances, be sure to phrase it in a way that has a positive outcome.
What Not to Say
Now that you know some best practices to answer why you want to be a supervisor, it’s time to think about what you shouldn’t say. Here are some suggestions:
Avoid Defamatory Remarks and Insults
As you respond to the interviewer, refrain from being hostile, insulting, or defamatory toward previous employers or coworkers. Doing so would raise a big red flag. Employers want to hire individuals who rise above challenges and speak positively about others. They don’t want to hire someone who comes across like they are complaining or whining.
Don’t Get Overly Personal
As with any interview question, you never want to get too personal. The moment you start talking about things that are not related to the role is the moment you may have gone too far. For example, if asked to answer why you want to be a supervisor, your answer should reflect how your passion, work ethic, and skills are a good match for the position. Avoid talking about your home life, childhood, or other personal stories.
Don’t Fixate on How You’ll Benefit
Yes, maybe you want the job because you’ll get paid more and it cuts your commute in half. But this isn’t what you should talk about when you’re asked why you want to be a supervisor at this organization. Instead, talk about how your leadership qualities will benefit the employer. Discuss how your experience and background will allow you to hit the ground running. Make it all about the interviewer and their company rather than all about you.
Sometimes the easiest way to understand how to answer an interview question is to see some examples of how others have done it before you. Below are five sample answers to the question, “why do you want to be a supervisor?”
Over the past several years, I have gained significant experience in recruiting, hiring, and training employees. I’ve found that I genuinely enjoy educating new hires and helping them become a part of the team. I want to take this knowledge and begin supervising others. I know I’m ready to do this. I’m confident I will excel in this role because of my strong leadership, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
I like to manage and motivate others. I know how to build a cohesive, strong, and high-functioning team. For example, in my last role, I recruited and hired six folks who came into the company with strong sales backgrounds. Several other senior sales team members and I coached them, quickly bringing them up to speed. Within only a matter of months, the team was performing at a high level and closing big deals. I am excited about the possibility of doing this at your company too.
I’m an exceptional problem solver who thinks outside the box. This strength has served me well in supervisory roles because it allows me to resolve issues quickly and creatively. If a problem arises between two team members, for example, I will sit them down privately and develop an action plan so we know how to proceed going forward. I’d love the opportunity to put this skill of mine to good use at your organization.
I’m a people person who enjoys working with different personalities. I know how to smooth over conflicts and boost the team’s morale. These strengths, qualities, and skills make me an effective and successful manager. I’m confident in my ability to excel in a supervisory role within your company. I know that I am capable of building teams that are productive and united.
My experience in other management roles has prepared me for this position. I have developed strong leadership skills that include active listening, delegating, and conflict resolution. By nature, I am decisive, empathetic, and full of integrity. I know how to inspire and motivate others to work hard and collaboratively. I believe that I will be an asset to your organization.
What Are the Skills Needed to Be a Supervisor? Do You Have Them?
As a supervisor, it’s helpful to possess the following skills:
A supervisor should have certain leadership qualities. For instance, being intelligent, inspirational, decisive, and strategic is beneficial.
Supervisors should know how to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively between team members and other individuals. Additionally, they should be open to listening to the perspectives of others.
Like in every other aspect of life, it all comes down to communication! A strong leader must know how to communicate well with people at all levels of an organization.
A good manager is organized. They must keep track of dates for meetings and performance reviews, in addition to various documents and action plans.
An empathetic, self-aware, and positive supervisor will have a much better chance of increasing team morale and motivating team members.
Finally, a leader must know how to solve problems because, trust us, they will arise! A supervisor must be able to resolve issues creatively and strategically.
What Are a Few Great Benefits of Being a Supervisor?
Although being a supervisor comes with many responsibilities, there are also many rewards. Listed below are some of these benefits:
- You may derive personal satisfaction from building teams, mentoring new hires, increasing employee performance, and driving profit for your organization.
- You will earn a higher salary than folks in non-supervisory positions.
- You may receive more opportunities for advancement.
- You will be able to delegate many of the tasks you previously had to perform yourself.
- You may have more autonomy when it comes to your work schedule.
- You will have more of a say in the development of company policies and procedures.
Other Supervisor Interview Common Questions and Best Answers
Let’s briefly discuss some other questions that are frequently asked during interviews for supervisory positions.
What are your salary expectations?
It’s good to give a salary range instead of pigeonholing yourself with an exact number. Remember that you’ll want to negotiate later if you get an offer. You can always switch the question around and ask the interviewer what type of salary they plan to offer. Regardless of your answer, remind the interviewer why you deserve the amount you’re requesting.
While I look forward to discussing this more in the future, I’m looking for a salary in the ballpark of $75,000 to $95,000, which, according to my research, is in line with the average salary for this type of position in this area. I believe I deserve compensation in this range because of my strong experience and skillset. What is the amount your organization is looking to pay for this position?
Why should we hire you instead of another candidate?
This question provides the ideal opportunity to sell yourself. Talk about everything you bring to the table. Be sure to emphasize what differentiates you from other candidates.
I believe I’m the best candidate for this role because of how well I connect with others. Because of this skill, I can build teams full of devoted employees who produce. Over the years, I have honed my abilities to motivate others, resolve conflicts, and communicate clearly. I also have a personality that is perfectly suited for this role. I’m decisive, quick-thinking, and ethical. I can’t wait to get started supervising others within your organization.
How much supervisory experience do you have?
The interviewer wants to hire someone who knows how to supervise others. Give them a full rundown of all your supervisory experience, highlighting your strengths and skills.
For the last five years, I have worked as a supervisor of data analysts in a software company. During this time, I recruited multiple new hires, oversaw their training, and monitored their progress. I handled the performance reviews for all the analysts and doled out discipline as needed. Additionally, I motivated my team so they met and exceeded deadlines, even though the tasks at hand were sometimes tedious. I know that I’m ready for the supervisory duties of this role, and I can’t wait to get started.
How do you describe your leadership style?
There are several different types of leadership styles. Research them before the interview so you’re familiar with them and know which one(s) best describes the way you lead.
I would say that I identify most with the democratic leadership style. I like to take my team’s perspectives and opinions under consideration because I value their thoughts. Ultimately, though, I’m the one who makes the final call. Taking this approach to leadership enables me to be decisive but also gives my team a voice and the chance to be heard.
If you’re getting ready to interview for a supervisory role, you must know how to answer the ever-popular “why do you want to be a supervisor?” question. While nailing your response using the tips above will surely help you land the job, answering this question will also give you clarity and a personal understanding of why you want to manage others. If this is a desire you have, run with it, and more power to you – the world always needs strong leaders!