Have you been in construction for a while and feel ready to progress to the next level? Perhaps you’ve been a site manager before and want a new challenge? Whatever stage you’re at, if you’ve recently applied for a site manager role and have an interview lined up, it can be helpful to know what to expect and how to prepare. 

In fact, preparation is key here – especially as, according to research by Randstad, over half (51%) of construction workers say that interviews are harder now than they were in 2006. Don’t let that put you off, though. Whether you’re going for area manager or an assistant site manager job, we’ve listed interview questions you’ll possibly be asked and tips to help you get ready.  


Top pre-interview tips 

It’s worth making a checklist of things to be aware of before your site manager job interview. Here are the main things to add to your to-do list:  

  • Read up about prospective employers beforehand and research the specific role and requirements. Take the time to consider how well your experience will fit the job description. This will come up in your interview, so having an idea of where your skills line up with the role will put you in a good position when the interviewers ask you about this.  
  • Always double check when and where the interview is, and make sure there is enough travel time to arrive a little early. The ideal time to get there is 10 minutes before − this shows that you have good timekeeping skills.  
  • Site management may be a step up from your current role. Look the part by dressing smartly.  
  • Take along a copy of your CV and covering letter. Read through these beforehand so that you’re ready to answer questions about your previous roles, relevant qualifications, and other experience.  
  • Turn off your phone before going into the interview. 

Being nervous is understandable and interviews can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also important that you relax as much as you can beforehand. However, you’ve made it to this stage because your potential new employers can see that you have the skills and expertise on paper. All you’re doing here is talking through what you know about construction in person.


What employers want: everything site manager job candidates need to know 

Construction saw a 17.3% increase in job vacancies between December 2021 and February 2022. This reveals a need for highly skilled workers who understand the demands of a construction site and puts you in a great position as an interviewee for a site manager job.  

As with an interview for any profession, it’s important that you, as a candidate for the site manager role, know what’s expected of you. Thinking of what prospective employers are looking for and putting yourself in their shoes can go a long way towards helping you answer the interview questions well.  

Site managers are the lynchpin of a successful building project, so employers will need someone they can trust completely with large numbers of staff. They’re looking for someone who can organise jobs on a day-to-day basis, as well as deal with staffing and project emergencies that crop up.  

Candidates will be expected to communicate clearly and be able to demonstrate that they are organised, level-headed, and capable of calmly leading a diverse team. In your site manager interview, the questions will be designed to see if you have these qualities, so think of past experiences that can demonstrate these skills. 

Be prepared for a mix of questions too. You’ll be asked for general background information, as well as specific queries about how you deal with common issues that site managers come across. This paints a picture of who you are and gives employers a chance to see how you’d fit with their team. 

The interviewers will expect you to have some questions prepared for them too, so make a note of anything that you want them to cover. Maybe you want to know what a typical day looks like on their construction site or what the plans are for the team. If anything seemed unclear earlier in the interview, this is your chance to make sure you understand what they meant.


Common site manager interview questions 

At Randstad, we have a team of construction recruiters. Here, they list some of the site manager job interview questions, and some answers and insights to help you prepare: 

Talk me through what you would do if someone had an injury on your site. 

Chances are that you’ll have come across a situation where someone was injured on-site – it might even have been you who was hurt. Think about the procedures in place on the sites you’ve worked and how you would follow them if you were in charge. Be calm and logical as this is a situation that requires clear thinking.  

How would you ensure everyone on-site was complying with safety best practice? 

Again, think about your experiences to date. Are you currently an assistant site manager whose role it is to check everyone’s training is up to date? Do you have regular safety checks in place?   

If one of your team asked you a question about a project and you didn’t know the answer, what would you do? 

This is a good question to show how you handle not having all the answers. It’s designed to reveal how you’d display managerial qualities in all situations.  

Describe how you see an average workday for a site manager. 

As you’ve worked on sites for a while, it’s likely you’ve seen what your past managers have had to do to keep the project flowing. Use your knowledge to answer this question.  

What would you say are the most important skills a site manager should have? 

This is a chance to show your knowledge of construction sites and think about managers who’ve inspired you in the past. It also allows you to explain how your skills could fit a site manager role.  

How would you deal with a team member who was persistently late on the site? 

Here, the interviewer wants to see how you show authority fairly.  

What are the most effective techniques to motivate a site team to complete on time? 

This is another question that allows you to think about how you’ve been motivated by site managers in the past. Are there things that worked for you? Are there any ideas you’ve had that you’d like to try, should you be given the opportunity to be a manager? 

What other practical experience do you have that might be relevant to a site management role? 

This is a slightly open-ended question as a lot of experiences can fit. Instead, try to think about how you’d answer this question ahead of time in case it comes up.


General interview questions 

As well as questions that are specific to the role of construction site manager, you’ll find that interview questions will also be more general. These are included to give prospective employers a rounded view of who you are and your experience to date.  

  • What would your employer say your key strengths and weaknesses are? 
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 
  • Why are you looking for a new job? 
  • Why do you want to work for our company? 
  • Why should I give you this job? 
  • What would you say are the key elements of job satisfaction for you? 
  • Do you have any questions about the job or the company?


Scenario interview questions

Whatever the role, interviewers enjoy asking questions that involve a scenario. This places you in the thick of a situation and asks you to resolve an issue, reach a conclusion, or show off your understanding of a managerial position. For a site manager role, these scenarios may be specific to the job.  

  • Give me an example of a time when you have had to think on your feet to solve a problem 
  • Describe a task in which you managed or helped manage a team on a site project 
  • Can you demonstrate through examples why you believe you are ready to take on a promotion to site manager?


Get a site manager job interview with Randstad

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of questions, it gives you an idea of the typical ones to expect. This should hopefully help you to prepare for your site manager job interview. Whatever happens, remember that you’ve done well to get to this stage. You clearly have what it takes to apply for the next level up. 

If you’re searching for a site manager role, take a look at our current construction vacancies and apply for the ones that catch your eye. To receive tailored job ads sent straight to your inbox, submit your CV or speak to our experts if you have any questions about our construction recruitment service.