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Area Manager

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Area Manager Interview questions

An Area Manager oversees the management and operations of multiple stores in a certain geographic area. As regional managers, they lay out the strategic direction for a group of your company’s stores. Their end goal is to create and implement a business development plan that increases revenue generated by all the stores in the area.

When interviewing an Area Manager candidate, you should see if they possess any of the following skills or characteristics:

  • Excellent management and leadership skills, preferably leading a large team, multiple smaller teams, or one or more stores
  • Strong communication, education, and presentation skills as they not only have to lead teams but actively train and educate them as well
  • Strategic and analytical thinking as they have to define regional strategies for your stores based on (sales) data and store performance

Interviewing an Area Manager

So you may have found the perfect candidate to become your new Area Manager? That’s great news! But you’re not there yet.

People often focus on how important it is for interviewees to make a good first impression and answer interview questions correctly. But what’s often overlooked is that it’s just as important for the interviewer to come prepared and ask the right questions.

After all, if you ask bad questions, you won’t actually find the answers you’re after. Before you know it, you’re hiring a candidate based on gut feeling and “how nice they were during the interview” rather than on how well they fit into your business and the role.

The Area Manager interview questions below help you avoid that problem. These questions are specifically designed to be asked early on during the interview process. They help you filter out the right candidates to move on to the next stage of the process.

How to open the job interview

You might be tempted to dive straight in with some tough, job-specific questions. But that’s often not a good idea.

Instead, we advise you to start the interview off slowly with some easy opening questions. This will help put your candidate at ease and calm their nerves. As a result, you will get much better answers out of them during the interview that better reflect their actual knowledge and skills.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our Area Manager job description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

Why did you decide to become an Area Manager?

What has your career path been so far?

What do you like most about your current job?

Behavioral Questions

Tell me about a time an employee/a manager below you openly disagreed with one of your decisions. What did you do?

This question answers the type of manager the candidate will be. Will they start a dialogue? Will they try to persuade the other person? Or will they just ignore the suggestions because they are the superior?

Tell me about a time when the C-suite/higher management made you enforce a rule or policy your team did not agree with. How did you handle this?

The Area Manager is often the person who sits between the board of directors and the rest of the store. The direct interests of these two groups often collide, for example when budget cuts have to be made. It’s the Area Manager’s job to find a way to follow directions from higher management while still keeping the peace with the rest of the employees in the store.

Tell me about a stressful time at work. What happened, why was it stressful, and how did you manage to stay calm and focussed?

An Area Manager’s job isn’t always easy, and there will be stressful situations. This question gives you an idea of how they handle these kinds of moments.

Soft Skills

How do you build trust and rapport with your team members?

The Area Manager has to be a real people person, able to communicate easily and quickly build rapport with their employees.

How do you excite or motivate your team to achieve better results?

Area Managers often create store targets for the team to work towards. To increase the chances of success, they have to be able to motivate the team and make them excited about achieving these targets. For example, they could implement a reward system to provide incentives.

How do you manage your time effectively?

Time management is crucial in this role. Co-workers from all the different stores are trying to get your attention and input, while top management will simultaneously request regular performance updates and strategic plans for the stores. To keep up with all this, you need to have excellent time management skills.

Hard Skills

In your experience, what are the three most important metrics to measure to accurately assess store performance?

The Area Manager needs to be able to accurately analyse store performance and build strategies based on this data.

What tools have you used so far, for example, tools to staff shifts or to maintain stock levels?

A practical question on the tools they have experience with. This shows you if they are familiar with the tools and systems you use at your company, or if you would need to factor in some training time.

How would you describe your preferred management style?

Every manager is different, and each has their own unique style of leading teams. Find out more about the management style of your candidate.

Operational / Situational Questions

One store is grossly underperforming compared to the others in your region. What do you do?

Even when you implement the same strategy and have a practically identical workforce on paper, two stores will never be the same. Sometimes, this means one store will strongly outperform the other. See how the Area Manager responds to a situation like this. 

It has been an awful year financially for the business. The upper management has informed you that massive budget cuts have to be made and this might include firing several employees. How do you proceed?

This is one of the toughest parts of being an Area Manager, but it’s not uncommon, so they need to be prepared to handle a situation like this.

One of the stores you manage has suffered terrible damages due to a fire. What is your plan of action?

The Area Manager will have to align with the Store Manager, the upper management, and multiple other internal and external stakeholders to solve the issue. See how the candidate would handle such a situation.

Say we hire you. Tell us about the first thing(s) you would do in your new role.

This question gives you an idea of what to expect if you would hire this candidate. What plans and ideas do they have for your stores?

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