Best Leadership Interview Questions To Ask A Candidate

June 30, 2023

best leadership interview questions to ask a candidate

Hiring the right leader for your business can have a significant impact on your workforce's productivity, engagement, and overall success.

It's a critical process that requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it comes to formulating the right leadership interview questions.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best leadership interview questions that you should consider asking during your next interview.

1. Can you provide an example of a situation where you lead a team to success?

This question gives candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to lead a team toward achieving a specific goal.

It helps the interviewer assess the candidate's problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and how they inspire and guide others.

Real-world examples can reveal a lot about how a candidate works under pressure and how they handle success.

2. What is your approach to managing conflicts that arise within your team?

Conflict is a natural part of any team-based work, and how one manages such situations is a critical element of leadership.

This question gives insight into the candidate's interpersonal skills and conflict resolution abilities.

It can also reveal their capacity to maintain harmony and productivity within a team while addressing personal conflicts or disagreements.

3. Describe a time when you had to make a tough decision. How did you handle it?

This question is designed to assess the candidate's decision-making skills under pressure or during challenging times.

Their answer can provide insights into their judgment, critical thinking, and resilience.

It also gives the candidate a chance to demonstrate their capacity to take responsibility and the ability to take potentially unpopular decisions when necessary.

4. How do you encourage creative thinking within your team?

Creativity and innovation are key to organizational growth and problem-solving.

This question allows the interviewer to understand the candidate's approach to fostering an environment of creativity and innovation.

It can demonstrate their ability to inspire others, their attitudes towards risk-taking, and their strategies for nurturing and implementing new ideas.

5. What does leadership mean to you?

best leadership interview questions to ask a candidate

This is a more abstract and philosophical question that gives the candidate an opportunity to describe their personal philosophy of leadership.

It can reveal a lot about their values, what they prioritize in their role as a leader, and how they see their responsibilities.

It can also help you determine whether the candidate's leadership style aligns with the company's culture and values.

6. How do you delegate tasks and responsibilities?

Delegation is a crucial skill for effective leadership.

This question helps you understand how the candidate assigns tasks to their team members.

It provides insights into the candidate's ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team, how they manage workload distribution, and whether they are comfortable entrusting tasks to others.

7. How do you develop the skills and abilities of team members?

This question is designed to assess the candidate's mentoring and coaching skills.

Leaders play a significant role in the professional development of their team members. Therefore, it's important to understand how the candidate helps their team grow and improve.

Their response can also reflect how invested they are in their team's success and progression.

8. How do you handle underperforming members within your team?

Not all team members perform at the same level, and leaders must be able to manage these variances effectively.

This question gives insight into the candidate's skills in dealing with underperformance, providing constructive feedback, and creating a plan to improve performance.

It also can reveal their compassion and understanding when dealing with difficult situations.

9. Describe a situation when you had to motivate a demotivated employee.

Motivation is key to employee performance and productivity.

This question is designed to assess how the candidate motivates their team members, especially in difficult times.

It can demonstrate the candidate's empathy, interpersonal skills, and ability to inspire and boost morale.

10. What metrics do you most rely on to evaluate performance?

best leadership interview questions to ask a candidate

This question is about how the candidate measures success, both for individual team members and the team as a whole.

Their response can provide insight into their focus areas and how they align individual performance with overall business goals.

It also gives an idea of how data-driven the candidate's leadership style is, and how they ensure accountability within their team.

11. What is one mistake you made as a leader, and what did you learn from it?

This question allows the interviewer to understand the candidate's capacity for self-reflection and their ability to learn from mistakes. It's a way to evaluate their humility, resilience, and capacity for growth.

Leaders who can admit their mistakes and take steps to learn from them often create a culture of openness and continuous learning.

12. How do you handle change and guide your team through it?

Change is inevitable in any business environment, and the ability to adapt and guide others through change is a vital leadership quality.

This question helps the interviewer understand how the candidate handles change management, how they communicate changes, and how they support their team during times of transition.

It can also reveal their skills in strategic planning and problem-solving.

13. How do you build relationships with team members?

Building strong, meaningful relationships is crucial for team cohesion and morale.

This question provides insights into the candidate's interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

Their answer can shed light on their communication style, how they foster trust, and their ability to empathize with others.

14. What strategies do you use to drive the vision of the company?

Leaders play a pivotal role in driving the company's vision and aligning team members with that vision.

This question helps to understand how the candidate translates the company's strategic objectives into actionable plans, how they communicate this vision, and how they inspire others to work towards these goals.

15. How do you balance short-term pressures with long-term goals?

This question tests the candidate's strategic thinking and planning abilities.

Leaders often need to balance immediate operational requirements with the long-term strategic vision.

Their response can reveal how they prioritize tasks, their decision-making process, and their ability to maintain focus on long-term objectives while dealing with immediate challenges.

Is there another way to assess leadership skills?

Interview questions can provide valuable qualitative information about a candidate's leadership potential.

However, interviews alone may have limitations in terms of objectivity and consistency. They rely heavily on subjective impressions and interpretations of the interviewers, which can be influenced by personal biases and perceptions.

To complement the interview process, use a leadership test. This test involves scenarios that require candidates to demonstrate their leadership abilities in practical contexts.

Leadership tests provide a standardized evaluation method, allowing for fair and unbiased comparisons between candidates.

Read our leadership test page to find out how it works.

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