In every job interview, the employer is keen to know your interests and skills as it will help them understand how you will behave in the workplace. Thus possessing a certain set of beneficial skills will help you in the long run. Thus today we will be focusing on one of the most important skills that can help you get the job. Here, let’s know How to Describe Your Leadership Experience?
Employers in an interview often divert the questions to your skills and abilities and an important skill that every employer questions about our leadership. It’s hard to find genuine people who are good at leadership. It doesn’t lie in the power that people become leaders, it’s in the mind which causes them to become a leader. Employers try to find these types of people who are born leaders. But there are a lot of people who aren’t born leaders but still get the job because they communicate it quite well.
When you are in an interview and the employer asks you about leadership you need to frame proper answers for the questions to get the job. It all lies in how you describe and answer your questions. Today we will be focused on how we can answer leadership experience questions effectively.
Before getting into the main topic let’s first try and understand leadership.
Leadership is defined as a skill or activity where people try to lead others and influence their decisions by their thoughts. It’s a common way leaders behave. They are good at convincing others and have a soft and docile personality which causes every person to fall for their actions and behaviors. It’s a special ability and not everyone is born with it but you can always develop leadership in various ways.
In business and companies worldwide, people who have leadership qualities and are good at convincing and guiding others are often chosen for higher-end positions like, CEO- Chief Executive Officer, President, etc.
Within leadership, there are a lot of skills that an individual needs to possess to become a successful leader. These skills help the individual understand others and guide, influence them.
The five main skills that every leader needs to possess include-
- Communication- A leader needs to be good at communicating their desires and interests which will positively impact the followers and others listening to them. Communication is quite important, and it helps in guiding others. Listening skills also matter a lot as they help us understand the other person’s preferences.
- Creativity- As a leader, you need to be creative. Creativity is the ability to produce new and exciting ideas and think about things that no one has ever thought about. It’s hard to be creative sometimes but, many people find ways to overcome this creative block and present something genuine and new.
- Motivation- As a leader, you need to be motivated and never fail to motivate others. It’s the job of a leader to bring out the best in their team and present everything perfectly. This attitude helps them to motivate others and force them to be their best versions during the performance period. Thus motivation plays a huge role in influencing others and if you are motivated your team members would instantly feel motivated.
- Positivity- As a leader, being positive and productive is really important. When you are positive, your team members also show the same energy and give out the same vibes that increase the team’s chance of success. There are various ways through which positivity is shown by leaders in their everyday life and observing them helps the team members remain positive.
- Feedback- An important aspect of all leaders is that they are open to criticism and ask for feedback from other people. Feedbacks always help leaders to understand where they are making mistakes and this gives them a chance to improve themselves and make themselves better. Feedback can be asked in the form of simple questions, or through a well-structured feedback form.
These are certain skills that every individual with leadership skills has in them.
Why do recruiters hire someone with leadership experience?
Whenever you are applying for a position that requires you to lead people and maintain consistency in the organization, they will always ask you about your past experiences with leadership and how you handled situations with the help of leadership. Leaders need to adapt to their new surroundings as it will help them lead their team members in a better way. There are a lot of reasons why employers love to know about your leadership experience. The main reason is to understand how you handle situations and how you conduct your everyday tasks in a work organization. This helps them choose whether they are the right fit for the job or not.
Employers want individuals who have prior experience leading others and managing others. It is important to possess those abilities as it will help them in the current workplace. Here we will be covering the topic of how you can describe your leadership experience with your employer and at the end, we also have provided certain examples that can help you with understanding the topic better.
Here we have curated a list of ways that can help you describe your leadership experience to your employer in the interview. The ways mentioned here cannot work for everyone and thus you need to modify each one to make the answers look natural and not structured. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience with leadership and haven’t worked in professional settings you can still use instances from your life to describe your experience. Thus the way you describe and present your answer matters more than the experience. Now let’s understand how we can learn the skill to describe our experiences in a better way.
Why do Recruiters ask for Leadership Experience?
Whenever you are applying for a job that demands taking leadership and helping others to achieve and grow in their career then the recruiter will ask you about your leadership experience to understand how you deal with people around you and guide them. There are a lot of jobs that demand leadership skills. Some job that demands leadership skills include-
- Project Manager
- Chief Executive Officer
- Sales Representative
- Management Consultant
- Organizational Development Specialist
The main reason why most recruiters ask about your leadership experience is to understand how you deal with work. According to research conducted on employees with leadership skills, they saw that they are more likely to stay committed to their job and work. They tend to complete their tasks faster and submit them on time. They also build better relations with their colleagues and employees which is an important part of work-life. Many times people feel targeted by their bosses, but a person with leadership skills would never engage in exerting power over others but would work with compassion.
Whenever a recruiter asks you to describe your leadership experience try to describe more than one example where you had different experiences. This will provide the recruiter with a broad understanding of your personality. When you describe your work life as well as your social life experiences the recruiters get to know what your behavior is with your colleagues. It will help them make a decision based on the work culture of the organization.
How to Describe your Leadership Experience?
You might wonder about how you can describe your experiences to your recruiter and what type of questions they might shoot on you. It completely depends on them. They can directly ask you about your leadership experience or try to twist the question and ask about them indirectly. Mostly these intercept questions can cause you to go off track and reveal certain instances from your life that could affect your interview.
You need to be aware of these direct and indirect ways to get what the recruiter is asking and answer them with confidentiality. They can directly ask you to Describe your leadership experience or twist the question and ask about, ‘How did you handle people and work in your past workplaces?’. Both questions mean the same but elicit different responses. You need to keep this pattern of questioning in mind and then answer the question.
After you have learned how to understand the questioning pattern, you can work on deciding how you can answer the questions. These questions need to be prepared beforehand to keep the conversation smooth and clear or you might fumble and leave a bad impression on the recruiter. Thus, rehearse your answers before the interview to avoid any inconveniences. Here we have a total of five strategies to help you understand how you can effectively answer the recruiter’s questions with confidence and precession. The five strategies are as follows-
- Recall your past experiences
Start recalling your past experiences and describe those experiences in the best possible manner. Write down those experiences to understand places you exerted leadership and write down those instances roughly. You don’t need to be precise, you can just start by mentioning certain keywords related to the experience. After you have successfully recalled your experiences where you exerted leadership on others, then you need to create proper sentences to describe the incident.
You may feel that making notes and writing those experiences down wouldn’t help you as you recall everything easily but you need to understand that during an interview the body goes under a flight or fight response which can impair your thinking and understanding skills. Thus writing them down will allow you to recall them easily.
You can openly discuss other leadership experiences outside the workplace. This can include taking leadership in college events, helping the college in certain welfare activities, helping in group projects, experiences of volunteering at a campaign or event, helping an organization to raise funds for a cause, etc, are some leadership experiences that you can tell your recruiter.
Other instances of leadership experiences in which you may have participated by can’t recall are-
- Playing sports- All types of sports require a won’t of leadership which needs to be shown by every member of the team while playing on the field. Thus this makes a great example for answering your leadership experience.
- Traveling- A common definition of leadership is to take matters into your hand. When you are traveling to other places the only person who is deciding where to go and who to go is you. This shows your leadership skills where you use your knowledge creatively to conclude.
- Social Activities- All social activities need you to show your leadership skills. When you are a part of a group or club you have the chance to showcase your skills and lead the team by sharing your ideas with the crowd.
- Student Government- Your college might have a student body and if you are a part of the body you can describe your experience leading the body.
You can use these activities to describe your leadership experiences.
- The STAR Technique
It’s a famous technique used by many individuals to answer their interview questions. It focuses on answering behavioral interview questions using a method to impress the recruiters. This technique is a structured method where you can explain your work and experiences in simple patterns but creates a lasting effect on the recruiter. This technique is quite useful for a lot of reasons. People who fear social events and interactions can prepare themselves beforehand using this technique. The star technique is made of the acronym- STAR. Let’s understand the full form and the meaning–
- S for Situation
The ‘S’ in star stands for Situation, and the main focus here is to understand the situation and explain what the actual problem was or what was the situation when you showcase your leadership skills. You don’t need to describe your leadership expertise at the initial stages of your answer as it will limit the conversation. Try to explain the situation with simple yet detailed instances. After you have described the situation to your recruiter you can move on to the next step.
- T for Task
The ‘T’ in star stands for Task. After describing the situation you can explain the actual task or the problem. Here you need to give a detailed view of the task. It can be anything ranging from an important client meeting, lack of volunteers to carry out tasks, problems in a project or event, etc. Every type of task is accepted here and you need to explain it with confidence and detail.
- A for Action
The ‘A’ in the star stands for Action. Here you need to explain the action you took to solve the problem or complete the task. This can include all types of actions ranging from helping, designing, planning, etc. You need to present a detailed answer about how you dealt with the situation because this is the only part where your recruiter would pay a lot of attention to understand your skills and see whether you are capable of the role or not.
The ‘R’ in the star stands for Result. Here you explain what was the outcome of your actions. Whether they helped everyone love the problem or did it increase the problem. This will give the recruiter many meaningful insights about you. The result of the action is what matters the most because everyone looks at the end product and nobody focuses on the hardware done by people to reach that stage. Thus this part should be explained naturally and in a detailed format.
Thus using this technique to answer your interview questions will prove beneficial as it will help the recruiter understand your experience in a detailed and organized manner instead of explaining in bits and pieces that do not make sense.
- Explain how you have worked with others
Whenever you are working in a position the main thing you need to deal with in any workplace is your colleagues and work partners. The way you deal with them explains a lot about your personality and leadership skills. Thus, when you are describing your leadership experience with the recruiter try to include instances where you have helped your colleagues in the work environment or have done a take on behalf of the colleague due to certain reasons.
Try to share moments when you have succeeded instead of sharing moments where you were scolded or got into trouble because of helping others. You can also describe your leadership experience by stating your roles in a team and how you try to convince the team to follow your direction.
An important aspect of leadership is the ability to influence people around you. When you share such experiences with others it helps the recruiter understand how you work in teams. This can increase your chances of getting the job.
- Describe a moment when you went above and beyond
You may sometimes do certain things for me at a company that you might never do in your entire life. Such things can be a great answer when describing your leadership experiences. This will help the recruiter understand your trust and dedication towards the job and how much time and effort you put into your job.
The commitment you have will help them understand your leadership skill better. Well above and beyond over here doesn’t mean engaging in harmful, criminal, and hazardous activities. It simply means doing something beyond the basic requirements of the company or organization.
Other ways you can describe this is by explaining to them instances when you helped increase the work performance of employees by suggesting certain strategies, increased sales by changing the presentations a bit, suggesting in advertising, etc.
- Always Mention Statistics
Mentioning the statistics will make your job easier. You wouldn’t need to mention a lot about your leadership experience if you only mention your statistics. But this applies to those people whose statistics about their work performance are quite impressive.
You need to keep your statistics ready before the interview because recalling them during the interview is a hard task. It isn’t compulsory to mention your quantitative statistics only. You can also mention your qualitative statistics to attract the employer towards you. Many times numbers distract people from the main objective and thus if you do include numbers, then your chances of getting the job become high.
Examples of Leadership Experience
There are a lot of examples that you can give related to your leadership experiences. These examples are just for reference. You can take their help to understand the concept better and learn the correct form of interacting with others and feel comfortable with them. The various examples of leadership experience include-
Example 1- In my last job, I observed an unstable pattern. The company I was working for was suffering from financial and asset problems. They had a hard time understanding how to control and maintain their financial reserves. At first, I offered certain strategies but none of them were useful for them. But I was determined to help the company. Thus I tried contacting a financial adviser who could help me in these matters. Since then all the financial activities of the company have been perfect and on point.
Example 2- In my last job, which was at a non-profit organization, I was working as an operations manager. The job demanded a lot from me and I was compelled to work for long hours. I found it hard to fulfill the work demands. This made me learn an important skill of time management. This helped improve the organization’s operations. Every operation was much smoother and much faster than usual.
Example 3- In my college days, I worked closely with the football team to guide and help them win the football match. I woke up every day at 5 a.m and picked up every boy from the football team to practice on the field. I taught them the skills that I had learned earlier in school. The team’s determination and practice was the main reason for their success.
Example 4- In my office, I had a group of friends who weren’t confident enough to present their projects in the meeting. They feared that everybody would laugh at them. When I saw their project I was impressed by them and worked hard to convince them and make them understand that their project was good. They decided to present the project and to their surprise, their project got selected immediately.
These are some examples of leadership experience that you can use as a reference.
These are certain ways you can describe your leadership experience in a job interview. One thing you need to understand is, experiences are subjective and thus you shouldn’t copy someone else’s responses. You can work on your own experiences to get the job.