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Conducting Interviews at Goddard Space Flight Center

Interview Questions for Supervisory Positions - By Category

Personal Effectiveness
  1. What types of problems do you encounter on your job? Select one-how did you solve the problem? Why did you solve the problem that way?
  2. Can you describe for me oneor two of your most important accomplishments?
  3. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses as workers. What are your strong points for this job? What would you say are areas needing improvement?
  4. When you have been told, or discovered for yourself, a problem in your job performance, what have you typically done? Can you give me an example?
  5. Can you pinpoint any specific things in your past experience that affected your present career objectives?
  6. What would you most like to accomplish if you had this job?
  7. What kind of things do you feel most confident in doing?
  8. What do you think are the most important characteristics and abilities a person must possess to become a successful supervisory? How do you rate yourself in these areas?
  9. How would your colleagues and boss describe you?
  10. Without being modest, what is it that you most value about yourself, your work, and your organization?
  11. Can you give me examples of experience on the job that you felt were satisfying?
  12. What do you, as a leader, need from others in order to be effective?
  13. Do you feel anxious when making difficult decisions and, if so, how do you handle the anxiety?
  14. What does trust mean to you?
  15. Describe your approach to resolving conflicting issues between two work units and/or individuals. Do you have an actual example of how you did this? If so, please share.
  16. Describe a situation where you have had to handle conflict with a coworker or customer? How did you help to resolve it and what techniques do you typically employ to resolve conflict?

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Leading and Managing Others

  1. How well do you delegate responsibility? How do you react when delegation does not lead to the desired outcome?
  2. Describe your experiences in supervisory roles and/or leading teams of personnel.
  3. Can you give me an example of your ability to manage or supervise others?
  4. If I were to ask your present (most recent) employer about your ability as a supervisor what would he/she say?
  5. Describe what you feel are the most important qualities in order to be successful as a supervisor. For the qualities you have identified, provide examples from your experience where you have demonstrated these. Explain why you feel this has prepared you for this position.
  6. What specifically do you do to set an example for your employees?
  7. How would you describe your basic leadership style? Give specific examples of how you practice this.
  8. Describe your approach to teaching, counseling, developing and mentoring employees.
  9. Describe your experiences in leading teams of personnel, especially teams where the participants are outside of your span of control.
  10. What is the value of having a personal leadership vision?
  11. How do you create and sustain committed followers?
  12. What approach do you recommend to hold people accountable for keeping their commitments?
  13. What do you do to encourage continuous learning in others?
  14. What balance do you strike between task and relationship at work? What are the impediments, if any, to achieving that balance?
  15. What do you do when negative working relationships begin to impact the quality of work? How do you intervene in conflict situations? What do you do to rebuild trust in these or other circumstances?

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Business Acumen

  1. What do you understand about leadership that you did not appreciate two years ago, five years ago, even 10 years ago?
  2. Provide us an idea of what you will do during the first three months if you are selected for this position. For example, how will you get up to speed on the organizations you support, how will you deal with your employees, and how will you deal with upper management? What is your approach to managing this transition?
  3. Provide an example of where you have taken a stand, told a customer "no" and maintained a good relationship.
  4. How would you handle a situation where a customer asks you to do something that goes against a NASA policy or regulation? Describe an example where you have faced this, and how you handled it.
  5. Describe what excellent customer service looks like to you and give us an example of where you have provided excellent customer service.
  6. Do you have a long and short-term plan for your department or organization? Is it realistic? Did you achieve it last year?
  7. In your present job what approach do you take to get your people together to establish a common approach to a problem?
  8. When change is mandated from the top, requiring your active involvement, what do you do to mobilize others to align with this change? What do you do if the change is perceived as unpopular?
  9. What do you think about the continuous changes in organizational operating policies and procedures?
  10. How effective has your organization been in adapting its policies to fit a changing environment?

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Managing Information and Knowledge

  1. What special aspects of your work experience have prepared you for this job?
  2. Do you prefer working alone or in groups?
  3. What are some of the problems that you encounter in doing your job? Which ones frustrate you the most? What do you usually do about them?
  4. In your work experience, what have you done that you consider truly creative?
  5. Can you think of a problem you have encountered when the old solutions didn't work and when you came up with new solutions?
  6. Do you consider yourself to be thoughtful, analytical or do you usually make up your mind fast? Give an example. (Watch time taken to respond)
  7. The last time you did not know what decision to make, what did you do?
  8. Describe how you determine what constitutes top priorities in the performance of your job.
  9. If you do not have much time and individuals hold seriously differing views, what would be your approach?

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Quality of Work Life

  1. What would you say is the most important thing you are looking for in a job?
  2. What kind of job do you see yourself holding five years from now?
  3. How does this job fit in with your overall career goals?
  4. What might make you leave this job?
  5. Have you had any really productive partnerships or mentors? Why do you think these relationships worked so well for you?
  6. What gives you satisfaction on the job?
  7. What are the greatest sources of stress you experience as a leader?
  8. What advice would you offer someone striving to achieve a healthy balance between work and home life? What actions do you take to encourage balance between work and personal life for others?

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  1. Have you had to handle a difficult situation in which diversity issues were involved? If so, how did you handle it?
  2. What are your experiences in managing diversity in the workplace, and how will you promote diversity?
  3. What are your experiences in managing diversity in the workplace, and how will you motivate the diverse workforce?
  4. Have you led a change initiative among a diverse group of people from diverse cultural backgrounds? If so, what challenges and benefits were derived from this diversity?
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Last Modified 9/29/11