Leadership Interview Questions & Answers
If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
How to Answer
Most organizations want to avoid onboarding someone who will make sweeping changes immediately. Sudden changes are hard on a team and can often result in knee-jerk reactions such as resignations.
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 your new team.
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.
"If offered this position, I do not believe that major immediate change would be the answer. My initial approach would be to have a 1:1 meeting with everyone on the leadership team. I want to learn what the greatest challenges are and how I can 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 first positive shift would I consider a stronger approach to change."
Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview
"I would address any urgent and glaring issues immediately; however, I want to wait for the implementation of significant changes only after I have a thorough understanding of your organizational dynamics."
Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview
"I would prefer to observe the everyday activity within your organization before making significant changes. I plan to make an impact quickly; however, I don't want to jump the gun and make costly mistakes."
Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview
"Being the newest person in the organization, I would be wary of making any big changes off the bat. That said, I'd look at what has happened in the previous years' calendar for marketing initiatives and how they impacted sales. I would sit down with the team to understand the goals for the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months so that I can make my best recommendations on how to be impactful in the coming year."
Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview
"I like to train in current processes before making changes. I know that my first question would be to ask what is not working. If I can see a quick fix to try, I will go after it, but I would likely still need to learn more about the business' operations and current struggles before making any changes."
Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview
"It's important for me to first understand the company culture, dynamics, values, and individual players, not to mention the short and long-term goals of the organization before making changes. I would wait for my onboarding process to be complete, then shadow the key players on my team and within the organization, to understand how the pieces fit together. I think it's essential not only to observe but also to listen to the team that predates me. I want to hear what they think is or is not working. Only after active listening and learning, watching, and evaluating would I begin to effect change."
Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview
"I would take a week or two to observe my class before making any changes. I am wary of shuffling kids around too much as most tend to be creatures of habit that resist change. My changes might be in the form of introducing more multi-media and hands-on opportunities or perhaps swapping the seating arrangement."
Rachelle's Answer for an Economist Interview
"If I am awarded this position, I would first make an impact by meeting with the junior economists to discover where there may be holes in their knowledge. A team works well only if everyone has the same understanding of the end goal. By taking this step, I can ensure complete efficiency right away."
5+ Community AnswersAnonymous 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.Was this answer helpful? Yes (5) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (3) or No (1)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"Any change would depend on what the manager and director think is the most pressing concern facing the department. Based on that feedback, I would focus my attention on it and set a goal to show significant improvement or resolution of the issue within a 90-day timeframe."Rachelle's Answer
It's great that you focus on addressing the pain points that the employer is currently facing. A wise approach :)Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"First understand the challenges. I plan to make an impact quickly; however, I don't want to jump the gun and make costly mistakes."Marcie's Answer
Good response! Making sure you first understand the challenges of your new position is definitely important. You can also mention how you'll want to gain an understanding of the company's culture and team dynamics before making any changes and that you'll focus primarily on building relationships with your team at first. If you're moving up within a company you already work for and you already know some changes that should be made, you can talk about those too.Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"I don't think I would implement any drastic changes, I think we all need some time to get used to our new roles."Marcie's Answer
This is a safe answer. :) And one that an interviewer would likely agree with since it's probably best to not make any drastic changes right when you arrive on the scene. However, you might want to think through and propose a few smaller changes since that might be what the interviewer expects here.Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"First, I would like to get to know the team, company culture, and systems before I make any changes. That way, I better understand why I want to change it. Once I'm familiar with that, I would spot opportunities where we can be more profitable or more efficient. I would first also talk with my manager and ask for feedback."Rachelle's Answer
Very good response! It's great that you would first observe, plan, gain buy-in, and then implement.Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"Well, I won't look to bring any new change immediately. First, I would like to understand the processes and procedures. I would sit down with the team to identify any opportunity in the organization, in which we all can take care of bringing changes into the process."Rachelle's Answer
Your approach sounds respectful and systematic. Very nice!Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"First I feel it's important to evaluate the potential for improvement and then come up with a plan to address those areas."Cindy's Answer
Great. Taking a thoughtful, careful approach to change is wise, and your answer implies this approach.Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"I would first attempt to build a good solid professional relationship with my colleagues and staff. I would then get to know what issues within the organization are important to them. I would later try to gain more understanding of the organizations' structure and strategic direction through discussion with senior managers to identify specific changes and look at what these changes would have on the staff group."Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you would take a very respectful approach, ensuring that strong relationships were built from the start. Nice response!Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!Anonymous Answer
"Starting as a nurse educator, I wouldn't change anything initially. I would go in with the mind to observe and see what challenges team members are facing and then after a group meeting to get their opinions, I will initiate a plan."Stephanie's Answer
Great response! This shows your thoughtfulness and willingness to learn from others before presenting your own agenda.Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers!