A leadership interview is one where the interviewee evaluates the candidate’s leadership qualities, potentials, and skills. Leadership interview questions help the hiring manager to have a better understanding of how the candidates used their leadership abilities and emotional intelligence while doing their tasks and managing team members.
As the leadership interview questions mainly focus on the prior job experience and abilities to support, guide and nurture others, they give a clearer idea of how the candidate would apply such talents in the future to the interviewing authorities.
What is Leadership Interview?
Every candidate who attends an interview comes across a question based on leadership. Whichever the company and whatever the position a candidate is applying for, they must be assessed based on leadership skills.
As leadership is one of the behavioral traits, it showcases a person’s ability to handle things efficiently and effectively. The purpose of a Leadership interview is to know whether the candidate is capable of listening, inspiring, helping peers, growing their skills, progressing in career, assigning responsibilities, and being good at decision making.
Leadership interview questions are designed to test how an individual would work as a team member or as a team leader. Good leaders have a specific kind of body language and they prefer to lead by example. Such specific personality traits of an individual are tested by leadership interview questions.
When you might face leadership questions?
Many job candidates believe that they will be exempt from leadership interview questions if they aren’t searching for a management position. Employers are searching for prospective leaders at all levels of employment, including entry- and graduate-level positions.
Businesses seek devoted employees who are likely to advance within the firm, and your interviewer will ask leadership interview questions to see if you are a solid long-term investment.
How to answer Leadership Interview Questions?
1. Think about the leadership responsibilities:
To begin, consider the position’s unique abilities. Look for a list of talents in the job description you know the hiring manager is interested in. Include the necessary skills in your response.
2. Give specific instances:
Explain the situations where you have exhibited your leadership qualities in your life. State any previous experiences of your leadership role. Give some examples of you taken up responsibilities in any situation.
3. Job-related ties:
Finally, describe how you would apply your knowledge, talents, and skills to the position you’re applying for.
4. Use the STAR technique
The STAR technique is quite useful in helping individuals in giving answers to the leadership interview questions of the hiring managers. STAR is the abbreviation of Situation, Task, Action, and Result— that guides you about the things that should be included in your answer. It is effective in answering behavioral interview questions concerning specific situations in previous jobs. So, when you answer such interview questions, you should describe the situational background then your role, what you did and what was the outcome.
5. How to respond when you don’t know the answer?
The recruiting manager may ask you a question that you have no idea how to answer. What do you do if you’re stumped on an interview question?
Take a deep breath in and out. Then respond to the question they should have asked and for which you have a good answer.
If you don’t know the answer or don’t know how to answer, answer that you don’t know. Subordinates will look on you, be honest, accountable, and open; thus, leaders must have integrity. But don’t freak out if you don’t know what to say.
22 Leadership Interview Questions and their possible answers
Let us have a look at the 15 interview questions that hiring managers might ask to least good leadership potential of a candidate-
1. How do you deal with team disagreements?
A capable leader knows how to deal with workplace conflict and can negotiate without creating disturbance within the team. Your answer should prove how you use problem-solving and communication skills to resolve workplace issues.
Use the STAR method to demonstrate a situation when you mediated and managed a difficult problem to keep your team spirit.
2. In terms of leadership, which supporting abilities do you believe are the most important?
Being a great leader entails more than simply one talent. Several things must come together. Otherwise, effectively leading a team is very difficult. At least, it would help if you used a handful of the critical supporting skills.
But, don’t just reel off a list in response to this question. That’s the most uninteresting method you could take. Although it does answer the issue, it’s not noteworthy. Instead, you should make use of this chance to do one thing by providing another example.
3. Describe a time when you demonstrated leadership skills
You don’t need to have had a specific leadership position to answer this question. You may tie your situation to a volunteer opportunity or a group project for one of your college classes.
For Instance, in your job and activities, emphasize how you took on a leadership role or shown leadership abilities.
4. Explain Your Leadership Weaknesses
It would help if you were prepared to discuss your strengths as well as any weakness you may have. Self-awareness is a crucial quality for every leader, therefore admitting to weakness will not disqualify you. So, it would help if you always mentioned how you attempt to overcome your mistakes and, despite them, how you are a good leader.
In any instance, you could have been behind on a project because you were hesitant to outsource tasks. You changed your strategy and trusted your staff to work on their own. As a consequence, your team was more productive, and the project was completed on schedule.
5. How do you deal with workplace conflict?
You must provide a situation in which you have proven your conflict-resolution abilities to answer this question. For instance, you may mention a circumstance in which two coworkers conflicted.
Explain that you listened to both sides of the story before coming up with a solution. Make them understand how much important their team spirit is.
6. How will you identify when there is an issue and propose a solution?
You can also back them up in their attempts to point out any necessary corrections. Finally, you can solicit any suggestions and comments from the team.
7. Tell about a time when you had to adjust.
Adaptability is a sign of prospective leadership. Even when pushed to move outside their comfort zone, leaders thrive.
Maybe you were suddenly faced with a tight deadline and rallied your coworkers to help you finish the project on time. Perhaps you utilized your persuasive talents to persuade sponsors to support a charity event. The end outcome should illustrate your ability to execute successfully in difficult situations.
8. As a leader, how do you deal with change?
As everyone around you will notice, if you don’t like change, you must be the first to accept it as a leader. After that, you can double-check that you can communicate the change while staying certain that it is the best course of action.
You prepare by ensuring that you are ready to respond to any questions that may occur. Or that you have the resources to find the answers. Peers may worry about the transition once heard, and you help them adjust.
9. How do you determine what constitutes success?
You can measure your success by the team’s accomplishment of its objectives. When a member of the team succeeds, it reflects well on the leader too.
10. Is it healthy for a team to compete? Why do you think that is?
Healthy team competition is helpful as long as it is conducted positively. To avoid misunderstandings, a team must have a high level of cohesiveness among its members. It is a leader’s job to guarantee that it is closely monitored to ensure its success when there is a competition.
Every individual needs strong leadership abilities. Even someone applying for entry-level positions should be able to answer the Leadership interview questions. As he progresses in his profession, he will eventually reach the rank of manager, and he will need leadership abilities.
11. How would you describe different leadership styles?
A candidate who especially attends an interview for a managerial position must know the leadership styles. The interviewer would check whether you see the leadership styles and determines that you are eligible for the positions. There are different styles of leadership and are mentioned below:
Directing: It is a one-way communication channel. The leader will establish responsibilities and objectives and require the employee with the information of what, when, where, with whom, and how the work should be completed. But, leaders will handle problem-solving and decision-making. Resolutions and conclusions are publicized, and the leader keeps a careful eye on the task.
Training: This is a two-way conversation. The leader delegated the work to the employee and taught him how to do the task. The leader transforms their knowledge to the employee during the training period. They provide feedback and reviews on how employees do the job. This helps them to improve their performance.
Supporting: In this method, the leader and the employee jointly define the problem and set the objectives. They go back and forth between problem-solving and decision-making. The employee will provide his thoughts on how the task should be handled. The leader then offers any necessary assurances, assistance, resources, etc.
Delegating: The employee and the boss jointly identify the problem and goals in this method. The employee devises a strategy for completing the work, including when, how, and with whom. Periodically, a leader will assess the employee’s performance.
Autocratic Leadership: It relies on coercion that is associated with paternalism, command, arbitrariness, and compliance. Such leaders give orders which must be obeyed by the subordinates.
Democratic Leadership: Such leaders use legitimate power who give instructions only after consulting with the group.
12. When you come across any bad news, how will you tell this to your team?
For sharing bad news with the team, the right way would be to arrange a small meeting with the team and delivering it. In addition, a leader should also explain all the possible whose implementations that might impede the future occurrence of such mistakes. In the end, leaders should ask the team to share their concerns, ideas, and solutions to make the whole process more holistic and democratic.
13. How do you motivate your team when you are in a leadership position?
While answering such leadership interview questions, you should say that you would first find out what are the specific motivation factor of that individual and then you will speak to him or her sharing how a goal or task would benefit them.
14. How would you respond when a co-worker challenges you?
While working with a negative Nellie who is inclined towards bullying or challenging others to ruin their reputation, so leaders need to listen first to what they need to do differently in order to correct their negative behavior, give clear and corrective feedback, document different occurrences of such behaviors and finally set consequences if undermining is continued.
15. Describe your leadership style
When you face interview questions to describe your leadership style, you may answer that by saying that you like to be a democratic leader who also follows adaptive leadership styles as per the changing needs. Also in conflicting situations, you should incorporate an authoritative style to make executive decisions to continue meeting deadlines and accomplishing goals.
16. What are the qualities needed for a good leader?
There are numerous qualities that a leader must have, but some of them are more important than others.
Make a list of those qualities, for instance, motivating the team, offering support, providing necessary tools to achieve the set goals, enhancing the strengths of the team, outstanding negotiator, good communicator and expert knowledge of the task.
Now take a deep breath and think about your plus points and align then with the ones that a leader should have. It is important to think about it beforehand because one of the most important above ten common leadership interview questions and their answers include the qualities that make a good leader.
Explain your strengths to the interviewer with the help of any real-life incident to prove your point.
17. Tell me about your preferred communication methods?
Open communication is a necessity if a team leader has to find success in his endeavors, and one of the above ten common leadership interview questions and their answers are in sync with it.
Consider how you communicate with others daily, do you prefer talking on a personal basis or you use the telephonic medium as your communication tool.
Are you a fan of emails or do you prefer SMS? Remember, communication is an important aspect of leadership deal, and you mustn’t favor one above all others.
Make sure to emphasize that you have used most of the communications tools as per the demand of the hour.
18. Do you believe in delegation?
Do you believe in delegation is a question that is always asked an individual who is applying for a leadership role. A leader is someone who will have to delegate work at one time or another and if you are nor receptive to that way of thinking than it will not prove a point in favor in the long run.
One of the above ten common leadership interview questions and their answers include replying to it in an affirmative mode. Explain that you will take the time to know about the strengths and weakness of a team and then delegate work accordingly.
Emphasize that you will be clear in your approach so that the team members who will be working will have a clear concept about their leader’s expectations.
19. How do your colleagues or team members describe you?
One of the above ten common leadership interview questions and their answers is how your colleagues or team members describe you? The interviewer wants to know what others have to say about you and will you be truthful in your endeavor to answer it.
The first criterion is to be honest because there is a chance that the interviewer already has a page in front of him where your colleagues and team members have spoken about you behind your back.
Think for a second and tell about something that is a fact and which depicts your leadership qualities in a good light.
20. How will you settle a dispute between two key members of your team?
Conflict management quality is an integral part of leadership skills, and one of the above ten common leadership interview questions, and their answers will relate with it. It is a situational question, and the interviewer expects a direct answer that will highlight the key theme.
Demonstrate that although you hate any kind of dispute within a team, you are practical enough to accept that they can occur anytime and anywhere.
A dispute has a direct impact on not only the involved members but also the rest of the team hence you will resolve the situation by listening to both sides of the argument and then making a decision as per your sensibilities and sticking to it.
Show that you are not afraid to make tough calls if t is for the welfare of your team and your company.
21. Have you ever failed as a leader?
One of the above ten common leadership interview questions and their answers include details about your failure. You should not discount the question out of hand and say that you have never failed as a leader.
To err is human and each one of us has made some mistakes in our journey. Explain that although you have tried to do best as a leader, there have been one or two incidents when you made a mistake and learned from it. Explain the incident and what positives you did derive from it.
This will create a positive impact on your interviewer because a true command will accept the praise as well as blame with ease.
21. Do you use in rewards and recognition?
An interviewer will want to know the views of an interviewee about the rewards and recognition. These are two powerful tools that a leader can use as per the need of the hour.
Be explicit and explain that you will actively select the performer of the month and highlight his achievement during the team meetings.
You will select the next two best candidates with the help of voting from the other team members and offer recognition and reward as per your discretion. The consistent performers will be recommended for increments and promotions at the end of the year.
22. Why are you looking at this job and quitting the current one?
One of the obvious above 10 common leadership interview questions and their answers are related to your reason for quitting your current job and applying in this company. Your answer should include that you are looking for fresh challenges and further growth in your career.