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

Tell me about a time when you led a difficult project. What was the outcome?

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Leadership Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you led a difficult project. What was the outcome?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you have successfully led a team, under pressure, without succumbing to the stress. Choose an example that is easy to explain. Outline to the interviewer how you kept the project in line with your excellent time management, and precise communication skills. Be sure to highlight the project's most significant successes as well!

      Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) I recently led my team of researchers and recruiters in a retained search for a very high-level talent acquisition project. (Task) This project was a difficult one because the client wanted a boutique experience with particular candidate requirements. (Action) I asked my team to send me a project highlight at the end of the day, every day. From there, I would review the progress and tweak our plan of action, as necessary. (Result) In the end, we filled the positions successfully, and our client was appreciative of the close eye our team kept on their hiring needs."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "(Situation) The first project that comes to mind was a new product launch at Company ABC. (Task) I was the project coordinator on the team in charge of developing and performing the beta launch. (Action) I expertly coordinated design engineers, test engineers, and the production team. This task is typically arduous; however, I am a whiz in Excel and our project management software, which meant that I could create tools to organize the project and a schedule that kept everyone on track with their tasks. (Result) We made it to the finish line ahead of time and launched the beta two days earlier than expected. This result made me very proud of my efforts, and my manager was thrilled."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "(Situation) I was recently challenged on a project when our company acquired a small competitor, and our team size grew by 35% overnight. (Task) As the Production Manager, I gained about 40 new staff members who I had never met. (Action) I spent many hours shuffling responsibilities, assessing the schedule, and then meeting one-on-one with each new team member to gauge their strengths and enthusiasm for the job. (Result) It was a challenge to manage all of these moving parts, but it was a success in the end. My department saw growth in production, and we had the lowest percentage of employee turnover in all six departments."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "(Situation) The most difficult team project I've led was when we migrated my current company's website from Shopify to Wordpress. (Task) It was a big undertaking since I created the entire sitemap and then passed our ideas onto the web development company that we hired. (Action) I ensured collaboration between myself and the web company by holding a standing meeting every morning from 10-11 am daily until the new website went live. I took control of the project timeline and held everyone accountable for their tasks and deadlines. (Result) In the end, the new website took three weeks of planning, coordination, and collaboration, but the outcome was a robust site that has increased our sales conversions by 15%, which is incredible."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "(Situation) The most difficult project I led recently was our location's annual inventory count, which our head office enforces every January 2nd. (Task) It's a long day with a lot of moving parts, but as the retail manager, I am expected to participate for the entire day. (Action) Since I was aware ahead of time what day the inventory count would be, I was sure to create the schedule ahead of time with back-up staff if people did not show up for their scheduled shift. I made sure the store was clean and organized, which made the count go much smoother. (Result) In the end, we were able to complete an accurate count in under 6 hours, a record time for our location."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "(Situation & Task) I recently restructured our sales reporting tool in our internal CRM, which was a huge undertaking. This restructuring was not a well-received idea by the sales team; however, as the Business Development Manager, I saw a lot of opportunities for further optimizing our CRMs capabilities. (Action) Identifying the best way to structure the new sales reports was one challenge, but getting buy-in from the teams was even trickier. Once the CRM was restrucutured, the IT team and I held a 'lunch and learn' meeting to show the sales team how to optimize the new set-up. (Result) In the end, most of the sales associates loved the latest tracking and reporting capabilities that they could utilize to increase their sales and reduce research time. I also incorporated sales contests to encourage the use of the new system, and in the end, I got the entire sales team on board."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "(Situation) Last month, I organized a school-wide science fair. (Task) As the senior science teacher, I felt it was important that our school kept the science fair tradition going. (Action) To make the science fair successful and grow attendance, I invited the community to participate and vote on their favorite projects. (Result) This event marked the first time our school opened the science fair to the public. It was well worth the change as our students were able to network with local business owners and even meet some media personalities."

      5+ Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "I led a streamlining initiative to reduce procedure request wait-times in the prostate biopsy request process. I worked out a plan to cut wait times from two to three weeks to less than one week."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This answer is a good start! With 'Tell me about a time...' questions, I encourage you to craft more robust responses using the STAR framework. Here is a guide if you'd like further review: Behavioral-Based Interviews Using The Star Method/

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      Anonymous Answer

      "When I was getting chat capability on REPesk, there was a misunderstanding about training on the chat was included in the contract. It turns out it was not, so we had to provide our own training internally, and we did."

      Marcie's Answer

      This is a good example to use in answering this question! It's great that you explain the situation, what your role was, what you did, and what the result was. You might consider adding some more details just to strengthen your answer. For example, were you the one who discovered that the training wasn't included in the contract? Did you conduct the internal training? Think through other aspects of this example and emphasize the ways in which you acted as a leader.

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