Thursday, May 9, 2024

How To Interview For A Leadership Position

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Managing A Client Account

Interviewing for Your First Leadership Position

Not many professionals view their time overseeing a client account as a leadership example, but it can be.

Whether you managed their project, ensured they ended up with the best product or service based on their needs, or guided them through tough decisions, you were leading. Dont overlook those experiences, especially if client support is a major part of the job you want to land.

Getting The Basics Right

Start before the interview to avoid potential problems. Try to interview in a relaxed business environment, at least on the first occasion. Noisy restaurants and bars can give the wrong impression and cloud communication and judgment. If use of video links are necessary at this stage, then use the most professional equipment available. Cheap or home computer links will not enhance the reputation of your firm or make for a smooth interview.

Anyone involved in interviewing and hiring should be aware of the basic courtesies toward a candidate and possible legal issues involved in the interview process in the country in which you are located at that time.

Preparation is critical to a successful interview. In particular, you should have detailed knowledge of the position for which the candidate is being considered, the competencies required, and all existing information on the candidate. Have a game plan for each interview. Evaluate, if possible, the candidates resume and determine areas to be filled in or clarified with more information. If you do not have a CV or have only a vague resume, you will spend vital time gathering basic data. Insist on having it and reading it first.

As soon as possible after the interview, take time to reflect. Carefully evaluate the information you have obtained, interpret the facts, rank them and determine a course of action. Make notes of salient points, especially personal impressions, and write a summary of your observations.

How To Answer Leadership Job Interview Questions

When interviewing for leadership positions, its important to give interview answers that show competence and experience as a leader, but its equally vital to show the right personality traits like the ability to work well with others, communicate effectively, and overcome unexpected challenges.

This is how you demonstrate leadership skills in an interview.

So when you answer leadership interview questions, you should split your focus between showing your technical knowledge and experience, but also communication skills, emotional intelligence, and your ability to be a positive influence on the company culture overall.

Make it your aim to show the interviewer that you possess these traits:

  • Calm under pressure
  • Positive and upbeat
  • Genuinely interested in the industry AND in leading people

And youll get more job offers in your leadership interviews whether youre an experienced manager or executive, or someone whos looking to step into their first formal leadership position as a supervisor.

Next, lets look at some specific questions you can expect to hear in any leadership interview, with sample answers and tips for how to impress the hiring manager!

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Entrepreneurs Often Have Leadership And Management Skills

Central City Integrated Health, a Detroit nonprofit providing access to health care, housing and employment services, looks highly on resumes that contain entrepreneurial experience. It shows initiative and leadership potential, says Director of Development Shelly Watts.

Several members of our executive leadership team have owned their own business. People who have started businesses have a wealth of connections and are quite resourceful. I joined the executive leadership team last year and was hired based on my experience starting a nonprofit fundraising consulting firm.

Even failed entrepreneurs can make solid leaders. In hiring, its not whether the business did well or not, but what the applicants learned from their successes and failures, Watts says. Everyone succeeds and fails in some manner. We want to know if the applicants understand how to replicate their success and avoid similar failures.

Uncovering skills and character traits beyond surface attributes is the key takeaway when scouting for strong leadership. Use the interview process to evaluate the candidates character, ambitions and personal successes before choosing your next front runner. The results might surprise you.

How Do You Make Decisions

Acing the Leadership Interview

Next, you can expect a couple of behavioral interview questions, and how do you make important decisions? is one of the most common.

They may also ask for a specific time you had to make a tough decision, what you chose to do, and why.

Your aim to be that you were able to stay calm under pressure, use logic and facts to come to your decision, and then explained it to your team.

A great leader doesnt just make decisions they inspire confidence from their team by explaining new decisions and new ideas clearly.

So show that youre a great decision-maker, but also a great communicator.

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Be Direct Ask Candidates If They Want To Be A Manager

Not everyone enjoys being in charge. Geoff Scott, a career adviser and resume expert at ResumeCompanion, recalls a college classmate who worked in the same department of a big box retail store for nearly a decade. He was asked more than once to be a supervisor but shot it down each time. He simply didnt want to be in charge of others and was happy handling his own responsibilities.

During the interview process, hiring managers should directly ask job seekers if theyre interested in managing others. Being straightforward, rather than navigating the intricate results of a comprehensive personality test, can yield positive results, Scott says.

How To Answer Leadership Behavioral Questions

This type of question can seem daunting. It requires a bit of bragging and many of us are not comfortable with selling ourselves.

If youre too humble when talking about your leadership experience or potential, you risk selling yourself short.

This is why its so important to prepare for a leadership interview question with a great leadership story in advance using the STAR format.

The goal is not to script out an answer word-for-word. The STAR format allows you to structure the general shape of your response by jotting down bullets for each of the key aspects of the story.

Check out Big Interview for more guidance on structuring great STAR stories and an Answer Builder tool that you can use to make the process much easier.

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Tell Me About A Time You Led A Team To Success


One of the responsibilities of my previous role was to collate sales data.


At the end of the last financial year, I noticed that sales for a product were falling.


I took the lead by calling a team meeting to address the issue. I suggested we create a package of deals to offer customers bulk quantities of the product for discounted prices. I scheduled weekly check-ins with my co-workers to assess sales and hear any concerns.


Our customers were very receptive. By the new years second quarter, not only had sales recovered, but profits for that product had risen by 15%. Our team was rewarded for boosting our sales numbers, which made us eager to improve further.

Why this answer is good: the candidate demonstrated leadership qualities by recognizing an issue, taking the initiative to solve it, and supporting and encouraging their co-workers to succeed.

Team Leader Job Brief:

MANAGER Interview Questions and Answers! (How to PASS a Management Job Interview!)

As team Leader, it will be your job to direct, inspire, motivate and lead your team towards achieving the goals and objectives of the company or organization you are hired to work for. During the Team Leader interview, we recommend you match the requirements of the job description, and in particular these skills will include: being able to conduct staff appraisals in order to identify each members strengths and weaknesses, communicating the company goals and objectives and setting timelines for achieving them, motivating and inspiring your team each day whilst at work, utilizing and maintaining resources so the team can do their job proficiently, providing staff training to develop skills and competencies, creating and maintaining personnel records of people within your team, liaising with the Human Resources department when dealing with staff, salaries and employment contracts and meeting with company senior managers and directors to provide updates on team performance.

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Sample Case Interview Questions For Leadership Positions

  • Can you point out the best decision you have made as a leader?
  • How do you think your team would describe you?
  • Whats your preference, working alone or with others?
  • When did something go wrong in your career and what did you do?
  • If there were one thing that could be done differently about your company, what would it be?
  • Essential Supervisor Interview Questions

    1. What are the essential qualities of a good supervisor?

    In your interview answer include these key competencies or supervisory skills that apply to all supervisor jobs.

    • planning and organizing
    • managing conflict

    2. What do you consider to be the role of a supervisor?

    “The primary role of the supervisor is to plan, coordinate and oversee a group or team of people to efficiently use available resources and maximize productivity in order to achieve set objectives.”

    3. Describe your supervisory style.

    When answering supervisor interview questions around your personal supervisory style remember that there is no wrong or right supervisory style.

    The only criteria is that it should be appropriate to the situation. Your ability to adapt your style to the demands of the person you are dealing with, the task at hand and the circumstances is key to success as a supervisor.

    Provide examples of how you have had to adapt your supervisory style to meet different needs.

    4. What are your strengths as a supervisor?

    This complete list of employee strengths will help you answer this common interview question. Make sure you highlight those strengths that are relevant to the job opportunity.

    Relevant supervisor workplace strengths include:

    • organizing and planning
    • communication

    You may be asked which areas you would like to improve on as a supervisor. This list of common workplace weaknesses can help you with this.

    5. How do you motivate your employees/team members?

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    What Do You Need To Improve

    Employers love to hire someone who is talented and confident in their skills, but there are also times where you should be humble in an interview.

    When they ask this question, or what are your weaknesses? its a chance to show them that youre not cocky and that you are always working to improve.

    Pick something that will improve your skills as a leader, but not something thats so essential to the job that youll scare them away from hiring you.

    For example, you wouldnt want to say, Well, Im not great at communicating with my team. So thats something I need to improve.

    This would be a huge red flag, because communicating with your team members is such a vital part of the job that you probably couldnt succeed as a manager or supervisor without this ability.

    Describe Your Leadership Style

    How To Shine During an Interview

    Whenever possible, I try to be a democratic leader. I believe the best leaders ensure their teams have the tools and support they need to work, and then the leaders get out of their employees way. However, if conflicts arise or uncertainty makes task management a challenge for my team, I am comfortable making executive decisions to continue to meet goals and deadlines.

    For example, in my last role, I held regular one-on-one and team check-ins to ensure my team was hitting deadlines and to help overcome any barriers. I rarely had to intervene beyond that, since my team felt empowered to work independently and felt supported by management.

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    Can You Explain Your Leadership Style And Why You Are Suited To Our Company’s Team Leader Position

    There are many kinds of leadership styles that can benefit different workplaces and teams. This question aims to assess a candidate’s leadership style and whether it matches your company. What to look for in an answer:

    • Strong leadership capabilities
    • Experience delegating tasks


    “I consider myself to be a coach-style team leader because I focus on identifying and nurturing individual strengths of each member on my team. I implement strategies that encourage teamwork by delegating tasks based on a team member’s expertise. I am suited to be a team leader at your company because I have the technical background for this role along with motivational and time-management skills to effectively lead my team.”

    In What Ways Can A Team Leader Prevent Stress Among Their Team

    Team leaders can alleviate stress among team members in several ways, such as clear communication and thoughtful work delegation. This question provides insight into a candidate’s abilities to manage team stress. What to look for in an answer:

    • Effective management strategy
    • Proactive approach to team success


    “While I work well under pressure, I know not everyone works that way, which is why I like to monitor every team member. If I notice anyone is stressed, I try to take a proactive approach. I’ll talk with the team member to assess the situation and see how I can help alleviate their pressure.”

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    Tackling Personal Side Projects With A Group

    Yes, even personal activities can work as leadership examples. That is, as long as you were in a leadership role.

    Maybe you and a group of friends decided to build a barbecue pit, and you were the one who found the plans, coordinated supply purchases, and oversaw building efforts. That could technically count. The trick is to only use side projects that required some coordination and planning on your part, as any other kind may not work.


    Which Other Companies Are You Interviewing With

    7 LEADERSHIP Interview Questions & Top-Scoring ANSWERS! (PASS a Leadership & Management Interview!)

    This next question isnt specific to a leadership interview, but youre likely to hear it. Employers often ask what other companies youre interviewing with. This interview question isnt a trick they just want to get a sense of what youre looking for overall.

    Its a red flag if youre interviewing with a tech company but you tell them that every other company youre interviewing with is a health non-profit.

    So, just make sure you can show them that youve applied for a couple of positions similar to theirs. They want to see that you have specific reasons for wanting to be doing this type of work in this industry.

    Thats the only big trap to watch out for with this interview question.

    If you can show them that their job fits the general theme of what youre looking for, and that youve thought about what you want to do in your career, then youll be fine.

    Also, dont feel pressure to share specific company names. You can say:

    Im interviewing at a couple of other mid-sized healthcare companies like yours. Id prefer to keep the names confidential. Id do the same for your firm if another interviewer asked me this question.

    Heres more info on how to answer, what other companies are you interviewing at?

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    Your Blueprint To Acing An Executive Interview

    Bottom line, expect to invest several hours into extensive research of the target company and its competitors. Remember that networking matters more than ever before because it can afford you a look behind the veil and potentially open access to executive openings that aren’t published. Be prepared for tough questions about your professional history and personal values. Understand the range of your leadership style and bring anecdotal examples that will help the interviewing committee make the right decision.

    Finally, keep in mind that these tips are useful for professionals at any level of their career especially those who see themselves growing beyond their current role. Preparing for a senior-level interview takes a lifetime, and it’s never too early to start working on your leadership style and storytelling. When the right job opportunity appears, you will be glad you made this investment early!

    Not sure if you’re ready for your next job interview? Boost your skills and your confidence with the help of one of our TopInterview coaches.

    How Do You Interview A Prospective Team Member

    Some companies ask team leaders to participate in the hiring process for their team. Management values a team leader’s input because they’re so involved with their team. Look for answers that express what the applicant appreciates in team members. What to look for in an answer:

    • Candidate’s opinion on the skills and characteristics a team needs
    • Ability to identify talented employees during the interview process
    • View on the importance of team culture


    “As a team leader, my goal is to build a superstar team. I make sure applicants have the necessary hard skills and evaluate critical soft skills like written and oral communication, adaptability, and attention to detail. I also ask questions to assess the candidate’s opinions and behaviours.”

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    Leadership Experience Examples For Interviews And Resumes

    • /

    You could hear this question in any interview whether its an entry-level position or a Director job: What are some of your leadership experiences?

    Im going to give you the 3 steps to make sure you give a GREAT interview answer that stands out and makes them think yes, this is the person we should hire!

    Then, well look at 10 examples of leadership experience you can include on your resume or mention in interviews

    Lets get started

    Training/mentoring Newer Team Members

    Top 10 Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

    You dont need to have a Manager or Supervisor job title to play a lead role in a past job. If you were ever asked to help get a new team member up to speed, train them on the basics, or watch over them on their first few weeks, thats a great example of leadership experience.

    This shows your past boss trusted you and knew they could rely on you. Thats one of the key things you want to try to do when sharing past leadership experiences pick something that shows other people thought you were someone they could trust and rely on.

    In an interview, this will help convince the interviewer that they can also rely on you! Thatll help you get hired.

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