The interviewer would like to know more about the level of responsibility you are accustomed to having. Start with the most amount of people you have managed, even if it is not from your current or most recent position. If you are unsure, ask the interviewer how many people you would be handling in this role. If there is a significant uptick in this role, from what you are used to, then you need to overcome that future objection of not having enough leadership experience.
"Currently, I am supervising 12 employees with an overall portfolio responsibility of $24MM. In my role, before this one, I managed 23 employees but with a smaller portfolio of $6MM. I can handle a large range of employees. Could you share with me the team size in this particular role?"
"As an executive assistant to the president, I look after the EA to the VP as well as the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable person. I also lead large teams of volunteers on the weekends, as I am the volunteer coordinator for the local soup kitchen. I know how to distribute tasks very well while playing to the strengths of others."
"In previous roles, I have managed up to 60 direct reports. In my current role I have under 60; however, I also manage other teams who do not directly report to me. You mentioned earlier that this team consists of 40 direct reports and 20 temporary associates. I am more than capable of managing that volume, and more- as your company grows."
"I have worked as a marketing freelancer, juggling many clients, and vendors; however with very few direct reports. For six years before starting my agency, I ran an entire marketing department. My team leadership experience spans all personalities and creative types. I am not shy to take the reigns and lead your team to deliver very successful campaigns."
"Currently, I have six full-time employees and five part-time associates and am the only manager in the department. In a previous role, I have had as many as 18 employees, but had another manager with which I shared responsibilities. How many staff members do you have in this department, currently?"
"Currently, I oversee a team of 5 direct reports, each of them has one direct report. So, ultimately, I oversee a team of 10. In the past, I've managed teams from 1 to 5 direct reports, and 10 being the greatest number of employees to date. I understand your team here is larger; however, with smaller territories. I come here with utmost confidence that I can manage this team efficiently."
"Currently, I have a class of 26 students! This class is the largest that I have led, but certainly not the most rambunctious! How many students do you expect to be in this class?"
"Currently, I am supervising 12 employees with an overall portfolio responsibility of $24MM. In my role, prior to this one, I managed 23 employees but with a smaller portfolio of $6MM. I am able to handle a large range of employees."