How to Demonstrate Leadership in an Interview

You will be expected to demonstrate leadership in an interview, but it isn’t always straightforward. This is a skill that hiring managers are definitely looking for in almost any position, but they may or may not come right out and ask it. Even if you are not going to be in charge of other people or managing a team, you can show your leadership skills in other ways.

Good leaders motivate people, display a positive attitude, show initiative, problem-solve, think of others, and set a good example.

Here are some great ways you can demonstrate leadership skills when applying for a new job.

Tips on How to Demonstrate Leadership

#1. Ask about the company’s values & culture.

Do your own research before you ask. Organizations often list their values on their website. Check to see if you can find a mission statement. Company culture is demonstrated by the atmosphere of the office, images of employees, content on the website, social media posts, etc.

Are people very formal or more relaxed? You’ll get a good sense if you dig into the company. By asking these questions you are showing that you are not just concerned about the specific position you are applying for, but about the entire company as a whole.

Related: How to Research Company Culture

#2. Ask about current challenges.

In order to demonstrate leadership in an interview, you could ask something like, “Is the team dealing with any specific challenges right now?” Then, follow-up with your ideas of how you could help or examples of a time when you dealt with something similar. If you can’t, then follow up with, “How do you see me best being able to help with this?”

This type of discussion further shows that you are capable of thinking beyond yourself to the team and the organization. It also shows that you are already thinking about yourself as part of the team and the solution.

#3. Give examples of difficult decisions and situations.

If you aren’t directly asked in the interview (or if you are), have one or two examples ready for a difficult decision you had to make in your career. State the situation and the decision you made and why. It’s important to show that you can deal with difficult things and not avoid conflict.

#4. How will my performance be evaluated?

This is an extremely important thing to know when applying for a new job. Don’t just talk about the duties and tasks, but go one step further to really understand what will be expected of you. This shows that you are invested in doing a good job and knowing what success will look like in your new role.

#5. Show that you look for ways to improve systems or processes.

Great leaders do not accept “That is always how we have done it.” Rather, they look for ways to improve and make things more efficient to either save time or money or both. Give solid examples with measurable results of when you have helped to improve upon existing processes.

#6. Ask the interviewer if they have any concerns about your qualifications.

Ask something like, “Do you see anything in my resume or my experiences that give you pause as to my fit for this role?” This can be a hard question to ask, but by putting it out there it shows confidence and again, that you don’t back down from difficult things. By dealing with this head-on you open up the opportunity for further discussion and it gives you a chance to counter any concerns they may have.

Good leaders deal with things upfront. This will show that.

The Wrap Up

Demonstrating leadership in an interview is an important and strategic way to find out more about the company and show them what you are made of. As always, any time you can provide specific examples with data and numbers to back it up is helpful.

Be confident in who you are and what you have accomplished and your leadership skills will shine through.

Good luck. We are here for you!

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