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Leadership Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 5th, 2018 | 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
If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
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How to Answer
Most organizations want to avoid on-boarding someone who will make immediate and significant changes. Significant changes are hard on the staff and usually, result in knee-jerk reactions such as mass turnover. It's always best to explain to the interviewer that you plan first to observe to gain a better understanding of the organization's culture and team dynamics. Focus your discussion on building a strong rapport with the staff.

If you are applying for a promotion within your current organization, you may already know what changes you would like to make upon receiving this position. Share with the interviewer what you have observed while in your current job, the changes you would make, and why you would make those changes.
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1.
If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
Most organizations want to avoid on-boarding someone who will make immediate and significant changes. Significant changes are hard on the staff and usually, result in knee-jerk reactions such as mass turnover. It's always best to explain to the interviewer that you plan first to observe to gain a better understanding of the organization's culture and team dynamics. Focus your discussion on building a strong rapport with the staff.

If you are applying for a promotion within your current organization, you may already know what changes you would like to make upon receiving this position. Share with the interviewer what you have observed while in your current job, the changes you would make, and why you would make those changes.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If offered this position, I do not believe that major and immediate change would be the answer. My first action would be to have a one-on-one meeting with everyone on the leadership team. I would want to learn what the greatest challenges are, and how I could alleviate those difficulties. From there, the trickle effect will be strong, and we will see an increase in sales and employee engagement. Only after that would I consider a stronger approach to change."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I would address any urgent and glaring issues immediately; however, I would want to wait for the implementation of significant changes only after I have a thorough understanding of the organizational dynamics."
Anonymous Answer
"I wouldn't change anything right away. I would listen to the team and observe for a few weeks, then make priorities on what I would like to change based on people's feedback and my personal observations."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful response! This is perfect.
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Anonymous Answer
"I would not implement any changes initially. Unless there was a clear directive from my superior that changes were required immediately. I would assess the situation first to determine if changes were required."
Mary's Answer
Great response! It is important to come in with fresh perspective and objectivity when adapting to a new company/position. See edits.
"I would not initially implement changes unless there were clear directives from my superiors to do so. Instead, I would begin by assessing the current situation through observation and information gathering. From there, I would evaluate what direction or changes are needed."
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2.
When are your leadership skills the most effective?
When you have a great relationship with the individuals you are leading, your leadership skills will be the most effective. Show the interviewer that you recognize a great relationship starts with clear communication, trust, and honesty. Tell the interviewer that you spend time genuinely getting to know your team.

For instance, perhaps you like to understand what activities they have going on both inside and outside of work, their kids' names, or if they have any pets. Building a relationship with your team will ensure that you can frequently and genuinely ask them how they are doing. The more comfortable they are, the better chance they will come to you for help in the workplace when they need it.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My leadership skills are the most effective when my relationship with the employee isn't just a surface connection. I want to have true knowledge of their life and a good understanding of their career goals. When my employees feel assured that I can help them to achieve their goals, they are more likely to be an engaged part of the team."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My leadership skills are always in action because I lead by example. I am most effective when I can take hold of a project and deliver an excellent product."
Anonymous Answer
"When I have taken the time to cultivate trust with clear and honest communication and made an effort to build the personal relationships within my group."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good! You show that strong leadership skills come from trust and relationships.
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Anonymous Answer
"Like everyone else, I need to prove myself with the employees for them to respect and trust me. I need to show them that I am here to help them, support them and teach them, rather than just giving directives."
Rachelle's Answer
Your approach is very respectful and the interviewer should be impressed with this answer.
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3.
How can we motivate you as a leader?
Even the most fantastic leader can be in danger of burning out now and then. The interviewer wants to know how they can be an encouragement to you, in turn. It's essential for you to be able to identify and express what keeps you showing up, working hard, and supporting your team.

Your motivation may be that the idea of success and achievement drives you. Perhaps you are working towards career advancement. Take some time to think about what truly motivates you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I find motivation through words of encouragement and compensation based rewards. For instance, I could compete for a gift card or a contest where I can earn a bigger holiday party budget for my team. Being a leader comes naturally to me, so I don't find it to be a taxing task very often. My competitive side keeps me motivated, as well."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am motivated by a company that is ethical and strives to do the right thing. I am at my best when I am trusted and allowed to make decisions to remain on the straight and narrow."
Anonymous Answer
"The potential to grow within a company is motivational. I value recognition, appreciation of myself and the team, and loyalty."
Rachelle's Answer
Concise and well thought out. Great work!
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Anonymous Answer
"To see my direct reports working as a team."
Rachelle's Answer
Try expanding on your response, as this one isn't very helpful to the interviewer and sounds a bit stand-offish.
"The best way to motivate me as a leader is to cultivate an environment of teamwork, collaboration, and togetherness. As a leader, I like to work closely with my team to help them achieve their goals. This type of environment is very motivating for me."
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4.
Have you ever helped to implement a significant company change in one of your past roles?
The interviewer would like to know that you have the type of personality where you can take the initiative without it being a formal requirement of your position. Show that you are happy being an engaged part of your company, and team.

Perhaps a new company policy was coming into place, and you helped to execute some changes. Maybe a new employee benefit program was introduced, or new software implemented. In your example, be specific about what you did, and the impact your actions had - whether short or long term.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Last month our company introduced a new software program called XYZ. I was already familiar with the program because I had used it in a previous role. I offered to do employee training on the program, and my boss agreed to it. I took a lunch hour to give my presentation and then offered myself as the subject matter expert, moving forward. The implementation went very well, and my boss was thankful for my help."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I made a suggestion last year that we install a higher quality coffee machine in our office rather than continue to purchase the disposable coffee pods. We calculated that the savings would be about $12,000 per year plus the positive environmental impact."
Anonymous Answer
"I have helped my current company in many ways. Those ways range from changing the new POS company-wide to teaching all the managers how to write and implement a budget for their restaurant."
Rachelle's Answer
These are fantastic examples that require a lot of shifting, changes, and organization.
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Anonymous Answer
"The implementation of the SQCDP (Safety Quality Cost Delivery and People) method at my last company was a significant change. It meant daily monitoring of the critical areas of concern and replaced a system where there was little or no monitoring. It took four months to implement under my leadership."
Mary's Answer
Great, specific response! Remember to include an outcome/result. See below.
"The implementation of the SQCDP (Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery, and People) method at my last company was a significant change. This new process required daily monitoring of key areas of concern and replaced a system where there was little to no monitoring previously. After 4 months of implementation, and with sound communication and follow-up, my team adapted to this change under my leadership."
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5.
Give me an example of a time when your communication style helped you to be a more effective leader.
Everyone has their style of communication. Whatever your style, show the interviewer that it is useful. Your response should demonstrate your ability to articulate constructive criticism, encourage your team, or relay policy changes in a way that makes them exciting!

Here are some communication methods you may already employ:

- Leading by example. Understanding that your actions mean more than the words you say.
- Building a connection. Creating relationships that go beyond the surface is a great way to show you are a communicative leader.
- Understanding social cues. Avoid asking personal questions but keep your communication professional.
-Delivering effective presentations. Possessing the ability to give clear, concise, and helpful presentations.
- Practicing honesty. Letting your employees know they can rely on your word.
- Valuing transparency. Showing your employees that you do not have a private agenda. You always clearly communicate your intentions and end goal.
- Setting reasonable expectations. You can show your strong communication skills by never giving changes at the end of the day and ensuring your requests are timely
- Listening to your team. Exercising strong listening skills is often the best way to show you are a competent leader and discerning communicator.



Rachelle's Answer #1
"This way the team hears and reads expectations is significant for me. For that reason, I am careful how I present ideas and change; whether in person or via email."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I will provide information to my team about struggles from another. Some of my staff members come back to me with advice to give the other teams and how we could help them with their problems."
Anonymous Answer
"In my last role, I always ensured that my team was well informed about the needs of the business. I did this by having weekly meetings where I conveyed the various business needs, and my team was then able to ask questions and get immediate feedback. It kept me engaged with the business requirements."
Lauren's Answer
This is a very strong, well-rounded response. You provided specific examples. I would conclude with noting a positive outcome of your efforts.
"In my last role, I ensured my team was well-informed of goals, deadlines, and requirements. I did so by conducting weekly meetings and continuous communication and feedback loops. By doing so, my team was well-versed on my expectations and could better meet target goals."
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Anonymous Answer
"I usually define communication strategy at the planning phase of the project, and that helps to eliminate various communication-related issues for my team and me. My communication style is a mix of professional and casual, and I try to be extremely transparent with my team and release full information. That helps me to convey the message and at the same increasing morale and trust within the group."
Rachelle's Answer
Your communication style sounds thoughtful and systematic. Any interviewer should appreciate hearing that you begin with clear communication from the start, which helps to eliminate many problems as a project progresses.
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