During the interview process, presenting leadership skills is a smart strategy, whether you are or are not applying for a managerial role. Some of the most common leadership skills include communication, strategic thinking, motivation, flexibility, reliability, decisiveness, delegation, and the ability to give and receive feedback. These are skills hiring managers look for and are important regardless of your role or industry. Here are some ways to showcase these skills in your next interview to help you stand out in the competitive and crowded job market.
If you aren’t applying for a managerial role, you may be thinking you don’t need practice answers around your leadership skills or experience, but that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s common for hiring managers to ask about your leadership skills so don’t be surprised if you’re asked questions such as how you ensure projects and tasks stay on schedule or a time you demonstrated leadership skills at work. In an article on The Muse, they explain that “everyone in a company—even individual contributors and consultants—is a leader in some area, making leadership skills and qualities important to have no matter what your title.” Even if no one reports to you, some other ways you may be demonstrating leadership skills is through spearheading a project at work, training new hires, implementing new company initiatives, etc. Prior to your interview, think of some real-life examples you can share. If you don’t have any that are related to work, think of times you took on a leadership role in school, volunteering, sports, or a club. You’ll want to give examples that are as relevant to the job you are applying for as possible, something that shows you in a positive and impressive light, and somewhat recent.
For a lot of interview questions, it’s helpful to structure your answers using the STAR Method which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. You’ll want to think about what the situation was, meaning was it at work, in school, etc. Next is the task where you’ll address what the problem was or what you needed to accomplish. For action you’ll talk about the steps you took to address that problem or accomplish that task. And finally, results (which is the most important) where you talk about your success and how things turned out. This is also where you can talk about what you learned and how that knowledge led to you being better at your job.
Preparing for leadership-focused questions ahead of your interview will help you feel confident and in control before and during your interview. With all interview prep, practice makes perfect, so research some common leadership questions and come up with quality examples ready to go. A good place to start with this may be on Indeed which has a helpful list of 7 Common Leadership Interview Questions (And Sample Answers).