Are you applying for a job in which you have a leadership role? If yes, then expect the recruiter to ask you specific questions that explore your leadership style, qualities and accomplishments. Preparation is key for a leadership interview; the questions can be generic or specific, such as team management or focusing on your experience and skills.

Even if you’re not applying for a leadership position, interviewers are likely to ask you leadership-related questions because leadership is a core skill in the workplace. It not only refers to managing others but setting an example through your work and motivating others. Preparing for leadership interview questions and answers will help you feel confident and provide strong responses that’ll help you stand out among the other candidates. Wondering how to ace these interviews? Read on!

  1. The Purpose Of Asking Team Leader Interview Questions

  2. Top Team Leader Interview Questions

  3. How To Answer Team Leader Interview Questions

  4. Using The STAR Method To Answer Leadership Interview Questions

The Purpose Of Asking Team Leader Interview Questions

Hiring managers are keen on including leadership interview questions because they help in gauging the following leadership competencies.

  • Motivation: 

How well can you inspire productivity through  feedback and acknowledgment

  • Delegation or Collaboration:

How effectively can you identify someone’s strengths and weaknesses and delegate responsibilities or collaborate on projects

  • Communication: 

Whether you make others feel comfortable in your presence and how effectively can you encourage them to express ideas or concerns

  • Integrity: 

If you can effectively navigate confidential information, manage professional relationships and follow the code of conduct and other policies

In short, leadership interview questions help recruiters gain deeper insights into someone’s way of working. You should be able to communicate leadership or management skills in your previous roles. If you’re a recent graduate, highlight any examples from your internship or university that list your leadership skills.

Top Team Leader Interview Questions

While every leadership interview will be unique, here are some of the common team leader interview questions and answers you can expect.

  1. What leadership style do you follow?

With this question, the interviewer is trying to gauge what your management style is. Successful leaders don’t have a fixed style, rather, they adjust their style according to the needs of their team and nature of work. One way of answering this question is doing some research and finding out about the team size, structure and nature of projects.

For instance, “In my five years of working as a team leader, I have learned that working in a team requires effort and understanding. My leadership style is democratic—I delegate responsibilities and trust my team members to do their job. I provide guidance in the form of feedback.”

  1. Can you elaborate on your leadership experience?

Interviewers pose this question because they want to understand how well you deal with situations. Additionally, they’re checking if you’re aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. You can answer this by sharing the number of years you’ve led a team, your team size and how you’ve managed the team.

For instance, “I’ve worked as a project manager at XYZ organization for three years now. I’ve led over 10  projects and have always delivered them on time. I’ve successfully led a team of 20 individuals and our efforts have been lauded by our clients.”

  1. According to you, what are the top three leadership qualities one must possess?

One of the most crucial team leader interview questions, this helps interviewers understand what’s important for you. Consider these examples if you’re confused about prioritizing.

  • Decision-making

  • Dynamic

  • Problem-solving

  • Accountability

  • Influential

For instance, “For me, the three most important leadership skills include problem-solving abilities, strong decision-making capacity and being accountable for your tasks and team. Without these, someone can struggle to efficiently collaborate and cooperate.”

  1. What will you do if your team disagrees with you?

Interviewers ask this question to check how effectively you can manage conflicts and handle high-pressure situations. Strong negotiation skills and the ability to resolve conflicts are core leadership qualities. Prepare an answer that helps you communicate how well you handle rejection, how open you are to criticism and how you consider multiple perspectives before making any decision.

For instance, “Effective teamwork comes from overcoming differences and making room for divergent perspectives. If my team doesn’t agree with my ideas, I ask them to communicate it with me. If there are issues, I try suggesting alternatives wherever possible.”

  1. How do you manage deadlines?

The way you manage deadlines tells a lot about the way you organize and prioritize tasks. Interviewers ask this question because they want to check how you get your work done. Your answer must reflect your organization skills, time-management skills and efficiency.

For instance, “I believe that good organization is the secret to boosting productivity. When you have clarity about the things you need to do and the order you need to follow, it’s easier to deliver and close projects on time. I always break my tasks down and assign timelines accordingly.”

Leadership interview questions can also be broadly categorized into situational and behavioral questions. Situational interview questions refer to those where recruiters ask candidates about their response to a particular situation related to the job. On the other hand, behavioral questions focus on hypothetical situations and how someone would act in that scenario. Let’s look at these questions in greater detail.

  1. Situational Questions

  • How will you motivate a team that lacks motivation or morale?

  • Someone from another department wants to collaborate with a member of your team. How will you handle the situation?

  • Someone from your team thinks that a certain project’s goals are unrealistic. How do you plan to convince them?

  • Two of your team members get into a disagreement. How will you mitigate the dispute?

  • Someone on your team decides to leave the organization but you’re in the middle of an important project. How will you manage the situation?

  1. Behavioral Questions

  • What was the most difficult part of your job?

  • Do you prefer individual or team-wide feedback?

  • What was your onboarding process for new employees?

  • Tell me about a time when you successfully completed a difficult project. How did you keep your employees motivated?

  • Do you have experience in laying off employee(s)? If yes, how do you go about the situation?

How To Answer Team Leader Interview Questions

Here are several tips and strategies that’ll help you assess leadership skills and communicate them during interviews:

  1. Sound Like A Leader

Pay attention to your tone and body language as you answer the interview questions. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact—make sure that you appear confident and display your enthusiasm for the role and the organization.

  1. Strategize Like A Leader

Display your problem-solving skills because they are essential leadership qualities that employers value across all organizations. Do your homework before your interview and understand the organization’s mission, vision and purpose to enhance the quality of your answer. Figure out what the pain points are and tailor your answers accordingly.

  1. Give Credit Where It’s Due

Good team leaders know when to acknowledge their team’s contributions. Talk about instances where your team helped you drive team goals and how you assumed leadership. Make sure that you credit both individual and team efforts.

Many candidates often make the mistake of sharing the wrong kinds of information while answering leadership interview questions. Here are a few common mistakes you should avoid:

  • Never blame others or make excuses, instead, use the opportunity to talk about the problem and how you solved it

  • Don’t engage in dishonest answers as they reflect a lack of accountability; always admit to your mistakes, failures or setbacks

  • Never let your answers reflect negativity or a lack of energy; if you have faced any uncomfortable situation, talk about it from an objective perspective

Using The STAR Method To Answer Leadership Interview Questions

As behavioral and situational questions constitute a majority of leadership interview questions, it’s best to use the STAR—Situation, Task, Action and Result—interview response technique.

  • Situation (S): 

Explain the background of the scenario that you’re in

  • Task (T): 

Talk about the particular task that you had to deal with

  • Action (A): 

What did you do to resolve the issue and how did you do it

  • Result (R): 

What was the outcome? Could you successfully overcome the challenges?

Harappa’s Ace the Interview course will teach you how to compose engaging answers and face interviewers confidently. It’ll help you feel comfortable with answering some of the most frequently asked questions. The modules on behavioral and situational questions will guide you and prepare you for the most common interview questions. A star-studded faculty line-up will equip you with relevant tips and tricks to help you stay calm and project confidence as you face interviewers. Don’t just appear for interviews, ace them!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as What are the Common Questions to Ask an Interviewer, How to Answer Brain Teaser Questions, Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself“, “How Would You Describe Yourself” and The 50 Most Common Interview Questions to ace your next interview.

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