When you get asked about your leadership experiences, a hiring manager is trying to figure out what you find important. The way you answer this question will show them the qualities in leaders that you deem most vital. They probably also genuinely want to hear about some leadership experiences you have to better understand your qualifications for the job.
As with most interview questions, this is supposed to give the interviewer some insight into you as an employee. They want to figure out if you would be a good fit for their company.
Points to Emphasize
When you answer this question, make sure to talk about experiences that highlight your positive traits and attributes. Talking about positive leadership experiences you had will show the interviewer that you are a capable leader.
- Discuss your abilities that make you a leader like communication skills, ability to motivate and dedication to goals.
- Demonstrate how you are a good team builder. This will show the hiring manager that you can build a team rapport with a group of people.
- Talk about experiences in which you developed and learned new ways to inspire people.
- Mention why you think you are a good leader.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
When you are talking about your leadership experiences, you want to avoid certain topics.
- Don't talk poorly about others whether they were your peers, underlings or managers.
- Beware of telling negative stories.
- Avoid telling stories where leadership was thrust upon you because of someone else's incompetency.
- Try to not talk about managerial qualities since they are different than leadership qualities.
Understand that the interviewer is trying to get a sense of you, so you should keep the answer positive.
Here is an example of a good answer:
I've always found myself in leadership roles. I'm good at helping people find what they're best at. One time there was this crisis at work. A shipment had gone awry and we were about to be swamped with angry customers. We had about five minutes to prepare. Everyone was nervous and didn't know what to do to get ready. It was chaos. There wasn't a real leader because we were all at the same level, so I just took the reins. I put our best communicators at the front line, and then a few of us stayed in back to try to mitigate the problem. It was a long day, but we were all dedicated to figuring out the problem. It was a rush.
Bringing up experiences that highlight positive traits makes it easy for the interviewer to see that you're a good fit for the company.