What are some IT manager interview questions?

Recruiting top talent in IT is a challenge for most organizations. This is because technology and how it is used is constantly evolving. Add to that the fact that companies are increasingly looking for IT managers who can apply their technical skills to a more customer-centric model — where IT is focused on the overall customer experience just as much as external-facing teams.

Interviewing for a new role as an IT manager can bring equal parts excitement and apprehension. Hiring managers want to know how you will elevate IT into a strategic differentiator. And they will want to understand how your professional background will align with the organization's needs. So it can be useful to review common interview questions in advance and prepare answers that will highlight your expertise.

IT manager interviews typically focus on these key areas:

  • Technical skills: Whether you have hands-on experience with the tools and technologies that the organization uses

  • Strategic vision: Your ability to demonstrate how IT brings value to an organization and meets customer needs

  • Leadership skills: Your management background, including direct experience overseeing team workflows, IT budgets, performance reports, and more

  • Work style: How well-suited you are to the organization's unique work environment (e.g., company values, level of collaboration, pace of work, etc.)

  • Preparation and interest: Whether you have researched the role and company and have a point of view on why you are the right fit

The questions in this guide are just a starting point — be prepared for a few curveballs too. When possible, provide specific examples and data to bolster your answers. And be yourself. Remember that you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.

General background

Interviews typically begin with general questions about your background and interest in the role. These open-ended questions give you the opportunity to show curiosity and tell your professional story in a way that may not be evident on a resume.

  • Tell me about your professional background.

  • How did you hear about this role/our company?

  • What excites you about this role/our company?

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Why are you looking to make a job change now?

  • What are your career goals?

Technical skills and experience

As an IT manager, your role is versatile. You need to have an understanding of each functional area of IT — how systems, applications, and infrastructure are managed and maintained. Depending on the company and role, there may be a separate technical interview or assignment where you are able to dig into a specific problem and demonstrate how you would solve it.

  • Describe a time when you have implemented significant improvements to infrastructure.

  • Describe your evaluation process for acquiring new hardware or software.

  • What is the most challenging technical problem you have faced in a past role? How did you solve it?

  • Did you create IT policies for your previous organization to comply with new standards? How?

  • How do you keep your technology skills current?

  • What steps do you take to deploy new infrastructure and applications?

  • What are the best ways to improve network security?

  • How do you ensure that confidential data is stored securely?

  • How do you address cybersecurity threats?

IT strategy experience

A role in management requires strategic planning — the ability to anticipate customer needs and build the technical capabilities an organization needs to grow. Strategic questions are best answered with specific examples of past behavior and outcomes.

  • How do you set goals for your department currently?

  • Give an example of aligning the team's work with company goals. What went well? What went poorly?

  • What is your approach to strategic planning? How do you build an effective IT roadmap?

  • Describe a time that you had to be persistent when solving a tough problem.

  • Describe the most innovative change that you have initiated and why you made this change.

  • Have you contributed to an enterprise transformation in prior roles? What was your area of responsibility? What went well/poorly? What did you learn?

Leadership skills

Mentorship and coaching are some of the most important responsibilities for an IT manager. If you have not had direct management experience in prior roles, be honest about your willingness to learn and grow.

  • How would you describe your management style?

  • What do you think are the most important characteristics of an IT manager?

  • Describe how you track progress and performance.

  • How do you decide when to outsource tasks to external companies or develop internal talent?

  • Can you tell me about a time when things did not go the way you wanted? What happened and what would you do differently today?

  • How do you keep the team motivated?

  • How do you track technical performance in your department?

  • Discuss a time when you had to give tough feedback to a teammate. What about a time when you received feedback that you did not agree with — what did you do?

Final tips

Anticipating your answers to the above questions will give you a head start in interview preparation. But no matter how much research you do before an interview, you may still encounter unexpected questions. Take your time and ask for clarification, if needed. Breathe.

Interviews are not about nailing the "perfect" answer. Rather, you want to show that you can be thoughtful and logical in your response. The interviewer is evaluating your fit for the role just as you are doing the same. Finding the right job is mutually beneficial — you will be able to thrive and the organization will benefit from your growth.

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