Change management interview questions

Use these sample change management interview questions to discover how candidates adapt to change and how they behave in dynamic environments.

Why ask candidates change management interview questions

Change is inevitable in business. New product launches, competition and employees bring shifts in business strategies and leadership. Employees who manage change with grace will adapt to new circumstances while remaining productive.

For senior-level employees and managers, it’s crucial not only to adjust to change, but also to:

Recognize the need for change

  • For example: “We need to evaluate employee performance regularly to increase our productivity.”

Prepare action plans that include doable and measurable tasks

  • For example: “We will train managers to conduct weekly 1:1 meetings, gather employee feedback and evaluate the process at the end of the quarter.”

Manage resistance

  • For example, “We will convince reluctant managers to implement regular performance appraisals by presenting the advantages of frequent meetings.”

Implement corrective actions and improvements when required

  • For example, “We will implement monthly team meetings in addition to weekly individual meetings, to foster better communication in our department.”

The following change management interview questions will help you identify candidates who will navigate change in both day-to-day operations and large-scale projects.

Change management interview questions examples

  • Are you familiar with the Change Management process? How would you request a change from your manager? Give us an example using the checklist of 7 Rs.
  • How do you explain to team members that they need to immediately alter a process? (e.g. for developers, the team needs to build a new feature on a tight deadline, due to additional system requirements)
  • Describe a time when you struggled to persuade your team to modify your goals or delegate tasks differently. What happened?
  • You’ve noticed that your sales numbers have dropped and you want to recommend new ways to advertise your products/services. How would you present your ideas to Sales and Marketing managers? What information would you include to make an impact?
  • How do you measure the results of a modification you made? Give an example of a time you successfully modified a regular procedure.
  • What metrics would you use to assess risk?
  • Mention a few reasons why people resist change. How can you ensure that all processes and decisions are transparent within the organization?
  • How would you handle it if your manager asked you to implement a different way of working but didn’t explain why?
  • What information do you include in a project plan to ensure all necessary actions are scheduled and measured?
  • How do you react to the standard “this is how we do things” response to a request for change?
  • How would you announce an unpopular decision (e.g. a budget cut)?

How to assess change management skills during interviews

  • New hires face the task of transitioning to a different work environment with new team members and unfamiliar procedures. Candidates who describe how they’ve onboarded in different roles are more likely to be successful in a new position.
  • You can tell how open to change candidates are by the questions they ask you. If they want to learn more about how you work and what the role includes, they’re ready to take on a new job.
  • If you’re hiring for an executive or C-suite role, make sure your candidates have experience implementing corrective and preventive actions that improved company operations.
  • If you’re looking for senior-level employees, opt for candidates with strategic vision who have demonstrated that they think long-term. They’ll be able to identify the need for change and implement it before it becomes urgent.
  • Change management requires strong decision-making skills. During interviews, test candidates’ ability to analyze pros and cons, compare alternatives and reach logical decisions.

Red flags

  • They have poor communication skills. Each step of the change management process requires frequent and transparent communication among interested parties. Candidates who lack communication and interpersonal skills won’t be able to effectively collaborate with their coworkers.
  • They show signs of arrogance. One staple of change management is wanting to improve your performance. “Know-it-alls” who think they’re already doing the best are the first ones to resist trying something new.
  • They underestimate performance metrics. You understand the need to revise processes when you regularly measure results. Candidates who value feedback and performance metrics are more likely to embrace improvements.
  • They are reactive, not proactive. If you want to hire employees who’ll bring new perspectives to your organization, it’s best to look for people who are able to recognize future risks and opportunities and proactively suggest adjustments.
  • They lack leadership ability. Managers need to be confident when presenting the need for change (especially when it’s urgent) and be prepared to battle resistance. If candidates demonstrate poor leadership skills, they are less likely to gain their team’s trust.
  • They’re not good team players. Significant or frequent changes may disrupt a team or cause tension. If your work environment is dynamic, it’s best to hire employees who value collaboration and are able to foster a friendly workplace.