A few days ago I wrote an article about how to describe your leadership abilities and experience during a job interview. If you’ve missed it, you’ll find a link at the bottom of this article.
Given the importance of effective leaders in any organization, the companies try to ask many questions to evaluate a candidate’s leadership qualities
In this article I will give you some examples of interview questions on leadership and the ways to handle and answer these questions. The article provides examples of leadership questions/answers and suggests 4 skills to evaluate: Leadership Behavior, Project and Team Leadership, Decision-Making & Leadership, Leadership & Communication Skills.
Here are some examples:
Behavioral leadership interview questions and tips
- Provide an example of a time when you played a key leadership role in: an event/activity, a team work unit, or a project. Describe how you influenced/affected the activities – how people reacted to your actions as a leader?
- Was there ever a time that you disagreed with your management and were you able to prove your conclusion and persuade your superiors?
- Have you ever experienced a situation in which you had difficulties getting people to accept your ideas? What was your approach to handling these situations?
- What practices do you implement during conflict situations and are they successful?
- If we were to ask your superiors (reporting staff) or your teammates to comment about your leadership how would they respond?
Tips on answering these questions: The interviewer wants you to define your leadership style. Why do people listen to you? How do you influence people? What actions do you take to control these work efforts? Therefore, provide examples of events in your previous workplaces where you’d been able to prove your positive leadership characteristics to support a company effort. You should also tell about the way people react to your leadership – How were they affected?
Project leadership & team leadership skills: team lead interview questions and answers
- How often do you consult team members?
- Define your key team members?
- How do you motivate your team?
- Have you ever used your listening abilities to achieve goals?
- When beginning a new project, can you outline the steps you implement? Can you outline a project from beginning to end that you finished and the specific steps used?
- Are you often satisfied with your actions and outcome?
- Are you flexible and able to achieve your goals in a fast moving environment?
- Are you able to meet deadlines? Have you ever missed a deadline?
- Could some of your team members assist you with meeting a difficult deadline?
- How do you best use your time and what disciplines do you use?
Answer: The interviewer wants to verify an important issue: the methods you use to manage and lead a team for achieving the goals within timelines. These questions are more of “leading questions” to explain your team leadership discipline. Therefore, explain – What course actions do you take for key situations? How do you recognize & use others team members skills to achieve goals? How do you manage your time to achieve your objectives?
Leadership and Decision making skills, leadership and analytical thinking skills
- Have you ever had to make a decision without knowledge of all the necessary data?
- How do you approach complex problems?
- Can you give an example of a conclusion you had to change after obtaining new knowledge or facts?
- Have you ever arrived at a wrongful conclusion? Can you explain what part of your analysis went wrong?
- Do you believe all conclusions should be 100% accurate 100% of the time?
Tips on answering these questions: It goes without saying that a decision-making makes a leader – one of the important qualities of a leader is to make a decision when all others are shaking or pray for a miracle. Many people avoid making serious decisions – here comes a leader who takes action. Therefore, personal stories are welcome in these types of questions. You have to describe the ways you take a decision – the risk management and advantage/disadvantage factors for each decision.
Leadership: Personal Communication Skills for leaders
- Are you most comfortable with verbal or written presentations?
- How do you build a case and present it to an audience?
- What are conversation impressions other than words? How do you use these to communicate effectively with others?
- What are the techniques that you use to clarify the meaning of unclear messages?
- How do you maintain a positive discussion?
Answer: Communication is the flow of information and ideas from one individual to another. Many problems occur because of people failing to communicate effectively – faulty communication causes problems in organizations and can cause a good plan to fail. Therefore, the interviewer expects you to describe the methods you take to deliver your (and others’ ) messages. Discuss how you gather people around you for having a good discussion and talk about listening to one another and exchanging thoughts and ideas.
There are hundreds more questions of course and in my experience, a lot of people struggle with preparing relevant and specific examples that truly demonstrate their leadership capabilities.
If you’d like some help with answering competency-based questions related to your leadership style and creating examples that will make a great impression at your next interview, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, you might also be interested in reading the following articles:
Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach who’s helped hundreds of professionals across Europe and the US to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted. Margaret also has 9 years of experience recruiting for a variety of positions at all levels across Europe and in the US, primarily in technology and e-commerce sectors. If you want to find out how recruiters read resumes, why you are not getting hired, how to sell yourself successfully in a job interview, and how to negotiate your best salary yet, you can download her FREE “You’re HIRED!” video course.