Job seekers are often faced with the dilemma of choosing what skills to put down on their resume and after this dilemma, the next difficult part is answering the interview questions. The questions are mostly follow-up questions from your resume. One of the main sought skills is leadership skills and this can get you to a lot of places. Leadership skills are a mix of strategic management and planning. There has been a surge in the number of employers who look for leaders rather than mere workers. Let us see some Interview questions for Leadership.
Interviews generally have questions related to leadership and some of them are situation questions. This means that the interviewer would present you with a situation and you would have to answer it with what your potential action, in that case, would be. This would help the employer in evaluating your leadership skills and although this set of skills can not be evaluated objectively, your answer would give the interviewers and potential employers some insight into the ideology you have and whether it would suit the workplace.
Leadership Interview Questions
When you are going for an interview and you have a hunch that leadership will be one of the things that will be discussed there, you can also prepare for it, But to do so, you might want to know the questions that you will be faced with, and here is your answer. Read more in this article to figure it out.
How to prepare for a leadership interview?
Before you start looking at the questions that you might face, you might want to know how to prepare for a leadership interview and what it means. The typical questions in a leadership interview, as mentioned before, are situational ones. This means that the interviewer will present you with a situation or a problem and your answer would have to be the response you would have to the situation. Your potential and plausible reaction and course of action in your answer will help the interviewers evaluate your leadership skills. This is not something you can essentially prepare for as it is something you would have to think of on the spot. While you can not prepare for it down to the last detail, you can have an idea of what you can expect.
This is simple to calculate, try to think of the past challenges you have faced in your experience in your past workplaces and think of the way you dealt with them. If you had satisfactorily dealt with the issue, what you did could be your answer. If not, think of how you could have dealt with the situation in a better way, and that one could be your answer. You do have an advantage and you ought to make full use of it in your interview. Generally, in situational questions, the STAR technique is suggested. This is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It is self-explanatory but just to provide more information, it refers to the flow of events. There will be a situation that will be brought to your attention and the task that you have is to solve it. To solve the problem at hand, you will have to take action which will lead to a particular result, which hopefully, is the desirable one.
There are various leadership styles and techniques but whatever you may be following, the result will have to be the one that is for the greater good.
What are the important and necessary leadership practices and skills?
As mentioned before, there are various styles of leadership like facilitative leadership, servant leadership, and so on. But all of these aim at achieving the result in the best possible way and some of the practices and skills that all of these include are-
A leader is not someone who teaches his or her teammates but also learns from them. Learning constantly and inculcating the learnings in your life and leadership will go a long way in helping you. You would have to develop yourself and set an example as a leader to the others in your team or group.
Other than developing yourself, you also need to work for the betterment of the team and each individual in the team. When everyone in a team can grow together, the work gets done easier and faster.
Strategic management skills
A leader is someone who can predict the outcome of an event and manage it with the proper strategy. He or she is the one who ought to manage and lead the team into achieving the desired result.
Other than motivating yourself, you would have to motivate the rest of your team to work and this is done by working hard yourself.
Questions and possible answers in a leadership interview
There are a lot of questions that could be asked in a leadership interview to get to know about your style and evaluate your leadership skills. While most of them are simple and you can answer them without any preparation, there are some points that you would want to keep in mind.
Tell me about the time you demonstrated leadership skills at work
This is possibly the most basic and often asked question in a leadership interview. You can expect this question in your interview and prepare for it. You would have to draw examples from your experience working on previous projects as a leader and as a worker. You would have to be short and yet be able to deliver the point across to the interviewer. You might like to cover all the aspects of a project and tell the interviewer how you managed the work, delegated tasks, collaborated with everyone, solved issues within the team, and were finally able to give a satisfactory result.
What is your preferred leadership style?
As mentioned before, there are various styles of leadership. Namely, they are- direct, support, coach, and delegate. The names are self-explanatory, but all of them are good for various situations. You could adopt one of the styles or have a mix of all of them. The direct leadership style is where you delegate the task to the person and you don’t go out of your way to lend any support. This is the style of leadership used when contractors or freelancers are doing a particular job. The support style is the one where you encourage growth and are open to all suggestions and ideas that are given by your teammates. You encourage their growth and hence get the job done, but the final say remains with you as a leader. The coaching style of leadership is where you persuade or articulate the vision and the expected result to the team and hence get the job done. Delegating is the style of leadership when you divide the work and completely give it to individuals or smaller teams who report to you.
Of these, pick out the one you think is best suited for you and give your justification for it as well. There is no right or wrong answer to this question since it is more of a personal choice but remember to justify your choice with proper and valid reasons. You can think of situations that would require a display of your leadership and then choose a befitting response. But do not take too long to ponder upon this when you are in your interview and make your interviewer wait for a long time. That might reflect poorly on your performance.
How do you motivate a poor worker of the team to work better?
This is again a personal choice question and while this may have a variety of responses, you would have to ensure you are most effective with whatever your approach is to the situation. There are chances you would lead by example or have a talk with them, but whatever your response to the question is, ensure you are clear and do not give vague replies.
Who do you think is the ideal and best leader and why?
This is a pretty easy question and you would have to ensure your reason is a proper one. The person can be anyone from the president of a nation to your classmate who you think is the best leader. If you are talking about a celebrity, there are lesser chances that you would have to explain any instance. You can rather jump to the reasons but if it is someone the interviewer might not know, you would have to tell why the person struck you as the ideal leader and what they did that inspired you.
How would you manage a conflict in your team?
Employers generally need leaders who would solve and manage the issues within the team by themselves rather than report them to their superiors. This means that you would have to choose some answer that is not reporting to the superiors. You would have to take the best decision and solve it within your team itself. Your team would consist of different people from different walks of life and thus differences of opinion are inevitable. Your work as a leader would include solving these and not taking a side in any conflict. You could give examples of how you managed conflicts in your past experiences and convince the employer that you are indeed a good leader.
How do you take criticism as a leader at your place of work?
Criticism is inevitable, as a leader or as a worker and it is much appreciated if you are someone who can take the criticism and work on it rather than lashing out. This does not mean that you take in all the criticism poured your way but only those that are constructive. Criticism that is given is generally for your work and not against you. This means that criticism must not be taken personally and you would have to be emotionally detached from your project or work. When you get emotionally attached to the work at hand, you tend to take criticism of your work more personally and that would lead to the problem of not accepting criticism and conflicts within the team.
How do you take in suggestions or ideas from your teammates when you are their leader?
A good leader is one with an open mind and leadership is all about getting the work done in the best way possible. It is not about the leader but about the team and the result. If there is a better way that is being suggested to you by a teammate, you would have to take it in and adopt it rather than sticking to the old but less effective way. Your reply would have to be satisfactory and as a leader, the final say should still be in your hands. If this question is posed to you, remember to have an open mind and think of the most effective reply that you can think of.
How do you think you can serve as a good leader?
This is a direct question and you can give your positive qualities to convince your interviewer and potential employer that you are a good leader and possibly the one they were looking for. You can prepare yourself for this question by looking at the company’s vision, mission and motto before entering the interview. This would give you a distinct advantage over your competitors and you can align your answer with what you think the company expects out of its employees. Be direct and subtle in replying to this question.
How do you evaluate the competency of a new member of your team?
New members and additions are often done in teams and it is up to the leader to evaluate them your course of action can be getting their job description, rating by their old manager, their target, and whether it has been achieved to the best of their capacity, and so on. This is probably a place to use some of the technical things that are available for the role.
How would you boost up your team’s energy and morale after a failure or a hurdle?
You might have heard of pep talks and they are generally given by leaders to boost the enthusiasm of the team members. You have to explain how you would always be open to listening to the issues faced by your teammates, giving them encouragement and constructive criticism, rewarding employees who have done their work well, and not being strict with the rules more than required.
Take me through an incident where you lead by example
Leading by example is a simple method of leadership where rather than asking or telling people to work, you do the work and hence set an example for others to do their work. Actions indeed tend to speak louder than words and by mere word of mouth, you cannot hope to get a lot done. Explain to your interviewers how you would start off doing an example and eventually your teammates would join in. If you do not have an incident to give in your interview, that would be fine and you could give an example of how you would lead by example in the future.
What was the hardest place you have been in as a leader and what did you do in that situation?
Tell the interviewer about any difficulty you faced while being a leader and what it was that you did to solve the issue or make a decision. This will help in getting you a better score as employers are on the lookout for people who perform well under pressure. You can substantiate a little in detail but do not beat around the bush and never praise yourself more than what is necessary. The hard place that you want to take as an example can be a conflict in your team or a problem that arose because of external factors. You could have been the one at fault too and it is totally fine to explain that too. Mistakes are not considered bad but what employers need is the ability to make the mistakes right.
What would you do if there is a shortage of staff on a project but the deadline is approaching soon?
In case of any fall in the number of staff allotted to you or sudden departures, you have to be prepared to meet up with the deadline as a leader. You can do this in any way you deem fit and this is what is expected from you. This is the problem-solving and strategic thinking that employers are hunting for and if you score well on such a question posed to you, you can be satisfied with your interview.
What are some skills that you think are essential to have as a leader?
There are a lot of skills that complement leadership skills in any workplace and they include effective communication, persuasive speech, teamwork, empathy, trustworthiness, respect for all workers, strategic management, good problem-solving skills, and the ability to encourage and provide constructive criticism. You can substantiate this and explain how you have all of these qualities, making you a good leader.
Other possible interview questions on Leadership
There are indeed a lot of questions that might arise in your interview and you can be prepared for them by thinking of all the questions that could be posed. When you prepare questions yourself, you would get more questions and imagine yourself in the position of the employer would know what you want in a candidate and what questions you would want to ask them to get what you desire. As you get more questions, try to think of plausible answers for them and succinctly frame them.
Preparing yourself for these interviews can be helpful but unlike school tests or exams, you may not get the same question that you had prepared for. A lot of on-the-spot thinking is required and you have to develop that skill as well. If you are someone who has been to other interviews before this, you might have some expertise in this field. If you are new to the interview world, you need not be nervous at all. Despite all the seriousness, the interviewer is another human being who understands human emotions and you just have to be clear in your words and points.
Leadership is a skill that is sought by employers today. There are a lot of cases where leadership skills are necessary even if your post is not one of leadership. Interviewing for a leadership post may not be the most effective way to evaluate someone’s leadership skills but that is all employers can do to evaluate it. It is advisable to ace this interview and thus secure yourself a job. There are a lot of situations in your workplace where you will get a chance to exhibit your leadership. These are some of the common questions asked in a leadership interview and some tricks and things to remember when you answer them. You can ace your interview if you are calm enough and can think clearly.
- Why is leadership important for a job/
Most of the projects in any job are done as a team and whether you are the leader of the team or not, these skills are important to be able to sustain in any workplace.
- How to prepare for a leadership interview/
Try to go through a lot of situations and the response you would have to each of them. Evaluate yourself and try to get better. Improve not only your answers but how you give those answers as well. Try to have a friend of yours conduct a mock interview and ensure this is as serious as any interview would be.
- What are the things to keep in mind before appearing for a leadership interview/
You have to remember to keep your calm and make sure all your answers are precise. If you use too many words, the interviewer might not be impressed. Make sure your body language is proper and your dressing is impeccable too. These things do have an impact on the impression you create on the employer and are important.