When an interviewer asks you this question they are trying to gauge your supervisory experience, as well as your ability to properly fulfill the position. If an employer is looking for a supervisor for fifteen people, someone who has only supervised smaller or larger groups of people may not seem like the best choice.
It is your job to convince the interviewer that your experience and abilities make you a great candidate.
Points to Emphasize
In answering this question properly, you will want to emphasize a few points.
- State the number of employees you have supervised; if you have supervised different numbers of individuals, give a range.
- Identify the capacity in which you have or currently do supervise employees, even if it is not on a daily basis.
- Highlight any acknowledgments, awards or achievements that you have attained as a supervisor, or have lead your team to accomplish.
- Show an understanding of and capacity to supervise larger and smaller groups of employees.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
This question is critical in your assessment as a proper supervisor.
As such, you will want to avoid certain mistakes and pitfalls.
- Do not lie about the number of individuals you have supervised.
- Even if you do not have much experience, do not try to breeze over this question.
- Do not just provide a number without any support, or a vague answer.
- Even if you have faced some difficulties while supervising others, do not share these with the interviewer.
In answering questions about your supervisory experience, your answer could sound something like this:
In my positions in the past, I have managed small groups of employees, from two to three, as well as larger groups reaching up to twenty individuals. I have overseen various projects to ensure that each individual completed their part, have provided evaluations and have pushed the employees to reach the set goals. This has led to me being acknowledged as "Employee of the Month" several times, and to my being congratulated by the president of my current company for leading my team to exceed company goals with a recent project.
However you choose to answer this question, make sure that you clearly detail your supervisory experience and capabilities.