The most common leadership interview questions
Why do employers ask leadership related questions?
Expertise and skill are not enough once you begin your management journey, and as your team size increases, the importance of your leadership aptitude grows as well. By digging into your leadership style with personality based questioning, a company is trying to decide whether or not you fit the direction that the company is headed.
Common leadership interview questions
Rather than waste your time sharing generic responses that are more likely to annoy your interviewer than impress them, we’re going to share the most common leadership based questions and share tips on how you can best handle them.
What is your greatest weakness?
Not this question again… We all know that most people use this as an opportunity to share another strength, but we suggest you avoid making that mistake. Instead, share a carefully worded truth. Don’t paint too harshly, but be truthful about where you need to improve and showcase your self-awareness rather than false perfection.
What is an example of a time you’ve had to take charge outside of your specific role?
Use the STAR response technique here to organize your answer into a crisp and effective response that will wow your interviewer. This is your chance to display how you go above and beyond the day to day needs of your role, take advantage of it.
How do you rate your ability to handle stress?
Handling stress is an important part of any leadership position, but few leaders handle stress as effectively as they should. As tempted as you may be to make yourself seem cool and collected at all times, everyone hits a point where they need to pause. Be honest about where you fall short and where you are putting in effort to improve. Hiding those parts of yourself will only backfire as you will, at some point in your new role, be faced with a high pressure moment.
How would your team describe your leadership style?
A tricky question to answer, as you must put yourself in the shoes of your team rather than share your own assessment of your leadership style. Make sure you give a thoughtful and accurate answer or you’ll run the risk of looking as if you lack true self-awareness. Keep in mind that it’s likely the company will want to speak with someone you’ve managed in the past while taking references.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
As tempting as it may be to use this as a chance to brag, be sure to remember that as a leader, your success is contingent upon the success of your team. Balance your I’s and We’s in the answers you give and make sure the role you played in this is clearly expressed. When handled correctly, this question can seal the deal and convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.
How do you motivate your team?
When answering this question make sure your answers align with how you described your leadership style (if they asked that as well). Your interviewer will know if your answers are in conflict, so make sure you have a clear picture in your mind of what you will say before you do. As a good rule of thumb, be honest in your answers and you won’t have to try hard to remember them. The hope is that they will describe you like this!
Why should we hire you?
Despite how much we all hate this question, it tends to come up quite a bit. When delivering your answer, have these questions in your mind and tie your answer to the answers the interviewer gave you. Haven’t had a chance to ask them yet? Leverage your knowledge of the role from the job spec instead. Ignore the basic jargon that gets pasted in every role profile, and instead focus on the points that are unique to this particular role.
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George is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Suite. He founded The Suite in order to fundamentally change the way executives manage their careers. Prior to founding The Suite in 2019, George spent several years in the executive recruiting space where he was fortunate enough to advise some of the world's leading VC & PE backed businesses on talent.