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Questions

| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Describe your leadership skills.

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Common Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Describe your leadership skills.

      If the position you are interviewing for requires leadership skills, be sure to go to your interview prepared with examples of when you have been a proactive leader. If this is an entry-level role without a leadership component, the interviewer will still want to see that you can take the initiative when there is an opportunity.

      Author and speaker, Simon Sinek says: 'Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune, or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you--not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.'

      With this definition of leadership in mind, take some time to think about how you influence others because you want to, not because you have to.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have an open, enthusiastic style of leadership. To me, a leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed doing most of my life. I love to be an example for others to follow and help guide people to bettering themselves and improving their career trajectory. I've found that my teammates aren't afraid to bring me their questions or most significant challenges since they know we will collaborate to figure it out and learn from the situation together."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Admin interview

      "Today, as a Director of Account Administration, I live by open-door leadership because I remember how hard things could be when I was first starting my career. I give our junior account administrators space and freedom to complete their work, but my door is always open for guidance and advice. I genuinely want to see other people grow and succeed."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Manager interview

      "My leadership skills can be described as creative, open, and encouraging. I always do what I can to foster an environment that is conducive to the learning and growth of my employees. I find that by leading this way, I retain staff much longer, and productivity increases."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Marketing interview

      "I am a 'lead by example' type of leader. I always strive to do the right thing and hope that others will follow. Since I've not yet been in an official leadership position, I feel this approach is the best way to demonstrate my hardworking nature. I hope others will be inspired to follow suit."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Retail interview

      "I think of myself as a coach. I am there to help my retail sales reps flourish. They all have their strengths and weaknesses that I help them to identify. Then we make a joint plan to bring them to the best version of themselves. Every employee learns differently, so I try to understand their needs, what motivates them, and how they like to learn."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Sales interview

      "In previous employer reviews, I have had my leadership style described as attentive, open, and confident. I will always listen to my team and give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their performance. An example of this would be with my current sales team. When one of my team members is not hitting their quota, that is when I will step in and begin coaching. I want to believe they are capable of their job unless they show me otherwise. This type of leadership has worked well with my team, and we are the top sales team in our region."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Teacher interview

      "I'm always looking to draw out the leadership skills that exist in my students. I have been part of a student/teacher mentorship program since my first year as an educator. I am one of the most active curriculum developers in my school district, as well."

      Heather's Answer
       for a Pharmacy Technician interview

      "In my current position, I am one of the lead techs for training new employees in our department. As part of my training with new techs, I walk them through the training on policies and procedures in the department as well as the day to day duties we provide. I lead and train using great communication skills and leading by example."

      Elisabeth's Answer
       for a Wildland Firefighter interview

      "I believe I am a very capable leader and have demonstrated my leadership skills working as a counselor for Outward Bound. I learned how to improve the lives of troubled teens through my words and actions. I believe a great leader leads by example and has the communication skills to effectively communicate with all types of personalities."

      Heather's Answer
       for a Physical Therapist interview

      "With my style of leadership, I include the whole team in decision making and provide tools to get the job done. I know that tailoring my leadership to each individual is important as people prefer to be led in different manners."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Security Manager interview

      "I learned a lot about leadership from my education, employment, and volunteer experiences. I have shown a natural leadership ability most of my adult life, and I also approach others with respect while being aware of the importance of clear communication. While attending college, I joined the student council and took on the task of volunteer tutoring. After my graduation, I joined the local police department as an auxiliary officer. This experience taught me a lot about leadership in the community and the value attached to serving and protecting others. As a team leader, I've supervised teams as large as twelve, and as a manager, I've been held responsible for up to 120 security personnel. Regardless of the team size, I always lead by example. I demonstrate the kind of work ethic that I expect my team members to possess. For instance, I always show up 15 minutes early to anything since I believe it's always better for me to wait for someone than to have someone wait on me. I'm also very thorough, consistent, and set clear expectations. While I take responsibility for my team, I also make sure that they understand the need to take responsibility for themselves as well. In my opinion, these are the acts of a strong leader."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Radiology interview

      "During my Fellowship, I had a really amazing leader. She was thoughtful, attentive, and thorough. I believe these qualities are what made her team want to listen, and learn, from her. I always told myself that when I am in a leadership function, I would try to emulate those qualities as well."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Online Merchandiser interview

      "I feel that I am good at motivating a team. Last year, I motivated my sales team every day, and we ended up being the top sales team in the company for the year!"

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Youth Worker interview

      "I have over ten years of experience working in leadership, first, as a Youth Program Manager and then as the leader of an at-risk youth drop-in center. My leadership experiences have prepared me to guide at-risk youth by training me to react and respond in a variety of circumstances with wisdom and professionalism. I am well-equipped to handle emergencies and can quickly assess what is required of me in challenging situations. As a leader, I have further learned the importance of treating people with respect and keeping an open mind. I have also learned to be more compassionate, understand when to be compassionate, and then differentiate when I need to be more authoritative. My vast leadership experiences have improved my reaction time in difficult situations and made me more efficient. Overall, I have learned that a good leader in any social work sector will stay calm, focused, on task, and can understand the importance of boundaries."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Service Station Attendants interview

      "I would give the customary two weeks' notice to my current employer, out of courtesy to them. Of course, I am eager for this role and would love to make this change as soon as possible."

      Heather's Answer
       for a Clinical Nurse Specialist interview

      "I have taken many workshops and courses to improve my leadership skills over the years. My leadership qualities are best summed as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize the nurses on my team by celebrating small wins. That motivates them to continue achieving."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Academic Advisor interview

      "I have taken many workshops and courses to improve my leadership skills over the years. My leadership qualities are best summed as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize my students' small wins because that motivates them to continue achieving."

      Darby's Answer
       for a Medical Manager interview

      "I think it is really important to educate employees, especially those new to healthcare, about patient privacy and the laws that protect our patient information. I believe that knowing all of the facts and gathering all available information is essential before pursuing some kind of reprimand against an employee. I would get a statement from the patient stating what part of his information was compromised and then investigate the accusation by talking to the employee and seeing what documentation he/she can present that will show what information was provided, what the purpose of sharing was, and to whom the information was revealed. After gathering all of the facts, I could then make a judgment as to whether or not the accusation is verifiable and whether or not a reprimand is necessary."

      Ryan's Answer
       for a Assistant Manager interview

      "My greatest strength as a leader is my natural ability to encourage others to see a project through to the end no matter how challenging. I am very resilient and will never give up. One example of my leadership skills was when I was the captain of my basketball team in university. I encouraged the team even when we were exhausted, or knew that we were likely going to lose the game. These skills will help me as an Assistant Manager as I uplift my team and encourage them to deliver their best every day."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a 3D Animator interview

      "I naturally take on a leader and mentor-ship type of role with my co-workers. In one instance, I had a new coworker who was having some troubles fitting in. I took her out for lunch and talked to her a bit about the workplace culture and semantics surrounding the various departments. I really wanted her to stay and enjoy her employment with us so I took the responsibility of ensuring she was settling in well. I believe there are always opportunities for leadership - you just have to keep your eyes open!"

      Ryan's Answer
       for a Management Analyst interview

      "I currently lead a team of three, who themselves have around twelve direct reports. We recently worked on a project to assess the organizational structure of a small manufacturer experiencing alarming employee turnover rates. Because I trusted my team and their leadership abilities, I offered a more flexible leadership approach for this project. I took stock of each person's key strengths and identified what their core motivations were for success. I lead effectively by showing others respect regardless of their position or title, creating an open environment in which everyone knew that ideas were welcome. I set achievable but high expectations for myself and the teams that I work on, and so far, my leadership approach has been highly impactful and met with enthusiasm."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Air Traffic Controllers interview

      "I have taken many workshops and courses to improve my leadership skills over the years. My leadership qualities are best summed as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize my employees' small wins because that motivates them to continue achieving."

      Heather's Answer
       for a Pharmacist interview

      "I have not had the opportunity to serve in a leadership role. I'm confident that my knowledge and 5 years of experience have prepared me to step up and take the lead."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Senior Accountant interview

      "I am a natural leader and I really do enjoy being a leader. I have taken on multiple projects in my current role. Most recently, I was leading a team of 12 junior accountants. The feedback on the project was strong and I felt that the accountants working under me in this project received my guidance openly."

      Christina's Answer
       for a Production Director interview

      "I find that my best leadership skills are that I am understanding yet demanding. I try to push my team to do the best work they can, and understanding when things do not go perfectly right, but I also push them to do better next time and get them excited to succeed."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I feel I am open, enthusiastic, and calm in pressure situations. To me, a leader is someone who is an example to the team that they are leading. Since childhood, I have always wanted to work in a leadership position and be as subtle as possible but as effective where I can get work done."

      Rachelle's Answer

      A strong, calm force - leading a team. You paint a nice picture of leadership in your response.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I would describe my leadership skills as strategic, visionary, and inclusive. When leading others, I seek to put together a plan which is informed by the knowledge of understanding everyone on the team and allows each of them to play a key role in its execution as much as possible."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This answer is exactly what the interviewer would love to hear. Great examples, and buzz words.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I have an open, enthusiastic style of leadership. To me, a leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and that is something I have enjoyed doing most of my life. I enjoy it so much I became a dairy feeder superintendent for the local fair. I love to be an example for others to follow and help guide people toward bettering themselves and improving their career. I've found that my teammates aren't afraid to bring me their questions or most significant challenges since they know we will collaborate to figure it out and learn from the situation together."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Excellent response; this shows that you've given considerable thought to your leadership style, and you're able to provide specific examples to back up your statements.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I am an authentic leader - self-aware, I know my strengths and limitations - I am curious - seeking out new opportunities to meet goals. Transparent, I am honest and straightforward with colleagues - no hidden agendas or game playing. I am fairminded - I listen to all viewpoints before taking a course of action - not impulsive. Ultimately my leadership style is to do the right thing - driven by an ethical core. My leadership style has given me the capacity to translate organizational goals into delivery."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You offer up some great descriptors, and you support these skills in an interesting way.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "First of all, I’m quite a hands-off manager. For instance, if my team has a project, I’ll keep an eye on things, but I don’t need to be involved in every detail. I am also very approachable in that I’ll make sure that my team knows they can come to me with any questions or problems at any time. I like to lead from the front. That means that if everyone is working late to meet the deadline, I make sure I’m there with them."

      Rachelle's Answer

      With your hands-off management style, be sure that you are using the same language and approach that this organization is desiring. It's great that you do not micromanage; however, you may want to sound more involved in offering feedback and guiding the team.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I look for opportunities to be an assertive leader in my role by setting examples, whether it be as a mail handler, a processor, a route delivery person, or a window clerk."

      Kristine's Answer

      Great answer! The interviewer will have a clear idea of how you lead. You may want to expand on your response by listing some attributes and how people respond to your leadership. I reworded your response, including items you mentioned in another answer.

      "I lead by example. Setting high standards for myself challenges others to work at a higher level too. I am friendly and open, which makes people feel comfortable coming to me to ask for advice, directions, guidance, and instructions."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I feel I have an open and enthusiastic style of leadership. To me, a leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed since childhood. I love to be an example to follow and help guide others to bettering themselves and their careers. I've found that my teammates aren't afraid to bring me their questions or mess-ups, since they aren't afraid of repercussions, but rather know we will collaborate to figure it out and learn from it together."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This answer and shows what type of leadership style you prefer, but doesn't quite address your leadership skills. I would suggest giving examples of some leadership roles you have had and the skills you gained. If you mention a skill you've used since childhood (a bold statement and one that is overused) then back it up with facts.

      "I am an open and enthusiastic leader. I strive to be a leader who nurtures others to their fullest potential. This trait is one I have carried since childhood when I would spend my time teaching the neighborhood kids how to improve their reading skills! I consider myself a positive example for others, helping to guide them to better career moves and further successes. My teammates aren't afraid to bring their mistakes to me, knowing I will collaborate with them to learn together."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "Overall I would consider my leadership style to be executing. I am driven and will push people who want to grow to do better, I take ownership over my team as the leader I am responsible for its actions, and I know who is on my team and how to use their strengths and weaknesses to help the team. The second part of my leadership style is ever-changing as I am always looking to learn, and I understand that everyone is different, and you need to tailor your approach to that person."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You sound like a very active, engaged leader. Your answer will help the interviewer to have full faith in your capabilities!

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      Anonymous Answer

      "My leadership skills can be described as creative, open, and encouraging. I am always open to hearing someone out. In fact, I encourage my team to contribute any thoughts they believe could benefit our objectives. If the team develops the plan together, they’ll likely be more invested in the execution of that plan, increasing the likelihood for success."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds like you are an ideal leader that many personality types would enjoy working with. This question is an excellent opportunity to discuss the ways that your leadership skills match the culture of the hiring company.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I feel I am an attentive and open leader. I believe that communication is very important. I try to encourage performance by nurturing and mentoring team members."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds as though you have some excellent leadership skills! If you have leadership-specific training, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss.

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