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Leadership Interview Questions

30 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Leadership was updated on June 11th, 2020. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Do you demonstrate leadership qualities even when you are not in a leadership role?

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Leadership Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Do you demonstrate leadership qualities even when you are not in a leadership role?

      How to Answer

      This question challenges you to think about how you act as a leader in your daily life. Even if you're not leading a team, you can still demonstrate the qualities of a leader!

      Rather than just tell the interviewer that you are a leader in non-leadership situations, try a 'show and tell' approach. Give an example of how you coached a coworker who was having difficulty preparing for a big presentation. Maybe you gave them confidence in their strengths by encouraging them, or perhaps you offered some helpful hints. You can be a motivator and a confident communicator in any situation at work!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "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 trouble fitting in. I took her out for lunch and talked to her about the workplace culture and semantics surrounding the various departments. I 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 have to keep your eyes open!"

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I aim always to demonstrate my leadership abilities every day, even though I am a junior administrator. I strive to set a good example for my peers by performing my tasks quickly, without having to be told. I will also take charge when I see a task falling behind, which I believe is a good example of leadership."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "I have been in a leadership role for most of my career. As a result, the actions of a true leader are now naturally ingrained in me. Every year I re-read Simon Sinek's book, 'Leaders Eat Last,' which has ingrained in me a foundation of leadership based on inspiration and creating a remarkable team environment. I am leading by example in all that I do, inside and outside of work."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I demonstrate leadership ability daily by effectively managing my projects and clients independently. This display of accountability is a good example to others, and it shows my leadership team that I can take the lead on a project without having to be encouraged by outside sources to perform."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I choose to lead by example, with or without any managerial authority presence. I arrive early to work and stay late when needed. I pitch in and go the extra mile whenever an opportunity presents itself. I feel this approach makes me a good teammate and a good human. This eager attitude also sets me up for a strong career trajectory. When the opportunity for a true leadership role presents itself, I have positioned myself to be top of mind for the promotion."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I want to be taken seriously as a business person and sales leader, so I must always lead by example. I never know who is watching! Leading by example applies to my time in the office, my activity on social media, or my actions at a company event. No matter what the situation or where I find myself, to be a true leader, I believe in acting like someone is always observing my actions."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "As an elementary school teacher in a small town, I have to be very aware of my actions at all times. At work, while volunteering, grocery shopping, or going for a couple of drinks - I have my leadership hat on by acting as a positive influence."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Border Patrol Officer Interview

      "Just last month I was asked to lead a shift when my superior officer was unexpectedly away. I took charge for two days, and the experience was quite positive. I believe the biggest success factor was that I tried to emulate his leadership style and did ask his help when I wasn't sure what to do. I feel this experience prepared me for a leadership role. I am excited to take on a team lead role again."

      5+ Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "Leadership is about influence, so you do not have to be in a formal leadership role."

      Lauren's Answer

      While you make a great point, be sure to speak for yourself rather than in generalities.

      "I believe that Leadership pertains to group influence, which is a trait that does not require formal leadership. I consider myself a positive influencer in any work group, thus making me a consistent leader. I lead by example with the intention of adding to a positive and productive work culture."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Having been in a leadership role for the past 20 years of my career, I try to show my actions as a leader at work, and outside of work as well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Again, the right thoughts are definitely there but I do recommend working on completing the thought or concept.

      "I have demonstrated leadership qualities for the past 20 years, as I make sure to act as a good example inside and outside of work."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "yes, influencing others in developing."

      Marcie's Answer

      Consider giving a more thorough explanation of how you influence others in this situation. And beyond your ability to influence, do you exhibit other leadership qualities when you're in other non-work/non-leadership situations? To impress the interviewer you will want to mention your integrity, empathy for others, and ability to delegate and communicate effectively, in addition to being self-aware, decisive, and passionate, specifically when you're not in a leadership role.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Yes, every day. Whenever someone is out I share in and delegate to make sure all tasks are covered."

      Marcie's Answer

      It's great that you step in and delegate if needed. You might also want to talk a bit about other leadership qualities that you might possess like being a strong communicator, being empathetic and a good listener, having integrity and being confident. Take the opportunity to talk yourself up!

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Yes, leadership comes naturally to me. In the spring, I found out we had a new member of our division living in a different city. Our team wasn't informed, but as soon as I found out, I started a Zoom Happy Hour call with the females in our Western team and eventually had her for dinner. She told me the first zoom call was when she felt like a true member and not just a lone soldier."

      Rachelle's Answer

      That's so nice of you to include this new team member and show your hospitality! This is a great example of taking the lead even when it may not be expected of you. As a side note, I recommend leaving gender out of the equation when you can. Today, there is debate on using the term 'woman' vs. 'female,' and it's important to be aware, especially as gender topics are rapidly progressing. Especially in North America, 'female' can be considered a derogatory noun, reducing the person to their sexual organs since any mammal can be male or female. Still, only humans are considered men and women. I've provided a slight revision for you below as food for thought :)

      "Yes, leadership comes naturally to me. In the spring, I found out we had a new member of our division living in a different city. Our team wasn't informed, but as soon as I found out, I started a Zoom Happy Hour call amongst our Western team members. Eventually, I had this new member over for dinner. She told me it was only after the first Zoom call when she felt like a true member and not just a lone soldier."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "My desire is to always demonstrate a leadership role. For example, I have a church member who graduated from her NP program a few months ahead of me, and she was afraid to take her National Certification Board Exam. When I graduated, I encouraged her for us to study together for our Board Exams, even though we are not in the same specialty. I share helpful tips for the exam with her, and we were both successful in passing our Boards on the first try."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Excellent example! This shows your natural leadership abilities and also your genuine care for others--both are qualities that nearly every employer will value.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I usually check with the rest of the team when I'm done with my assignment and offer help. With new employees, I love teaching them and showing them the ropes. I also always look for an opportunity to learn, even if the person has less experience, I could still learn from them."

      Cindy's Answer

      Great. You're describing the actions of an informal leader who is focused on the outcome. To enhance your answer, just add more detail. Explain why you check-in, what you may be looking for, and how you'd approach a team member as a colleague-leader.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Yes. Engaging in Active Listening and acknowledging different points of views in meetings in vitally important in ensuring that all members of the meeting feel valued and respected."

      Stephanie's Answer

      These are important points, but I suggest deepening your response by naming exactly how YOU demonstrate this. Can you provide an example of a time when you practiced active listening or acknowledged another viewpoint?

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Yes, I show leadership qualities when not leading a team by telling my co-workers that I am always available to help them with Excel sheets, Budget questions, or anything they need. I am a team player and my colleagues would agree that I am always willing to help out."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Great! The specific examples of ways you help out (Excel, budget questions, etc) are helpful.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I have been in a leadership role for most of my career. FOR INSTANCE. Working as Field Support Person in a Govt of Pakistan's health department; Expanded Program for Immunization for eradication of polio, Measles, and TB. Then the Campaign Support Person in World Health Organization for the eradication of Polio. As a result, the actions of a true leader are now naturally ingrained in me. I am leading by example in all that I do, inside and outside of work."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Great response--it sounds as if you take your leadership skills very seriously, both in personal and professional capacities.

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