These Three Interview Questions Can Help You Learn About a Candidate’s Leadership Skills

The most successful organizations are those that foster leadership at every level. To determine whether a candidate has leadership potential, you need to go beyond their surface qualities and discern traits such as personal confidence, problem-solving, communications and integrity. It all boils down to asking the right questions and actively listening to get the answers.

Here are three questions to start with. Hint: As candidates reply, pay attention to whether they talk about themselves (“I did this”) or share credit with their teammates (“We did this”). This speaks volumes about their leadership abilities.

  1. Have you ever been a member of a successful team? Describe the role you played.

Team leadership and successful participation means having the ability to organize people with different backgrounds, ideas and plans into a cohesive unit.

  • From introducing and implementing appropriate steps and methods to collaboration and effective communication, has this individual been able to contribute to a goal-oriented, winning team?
  1. Have you ever had to build support for a project from people over whom you had no authority? Tell us about a time you showed you could build the needed support.

Goals are the objectives, targets and purposes that a person or team intends to achieve. Does this candidate understand and embrace SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based – goals? Among an increasing number of experts, SMART qualities have been expanded so that:

  • S means “synergistic” and “significant.”
  • M stands for “meaningful, memorable, motivating” and maybe even “magical.”
  • A stands for “action, accountability, acumen” and “agreed-upon.”
  • R is for “realistic, reasonable, resonating, rewarding” and “remarkable.”
  • T means “tangible” and “thoughtful.”
  1. What are the most important leadership values a person can demonstrate?

Ask your candidate to tell a story describing a situation where they used what they felt are their most essential leadership values. Whether these include trust, ethical behavior, honesty or others, check their alignment with your company’s values, mission and vision. This will help ensure a solid, lasting cultural fit – a must for any successful hire.

  • Find out what experiences and driving factors have shaped them into the person they are. Make your interview more of a dialogue than an intense grilling session, as you deep dive and hopefully, lay the foundation for a strong working relationship.

Your business and its talent management needs are unique.

But at every turn, you’re looking for leaders who will contribute to ensure your future growth and success. Let the pros at Lyons HR help as you source, assess, interview, hire and retain tomorrow’s leaders today. Contact us today to learn more.

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