What are Common Leadership Interview Questions?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 January 2019
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Common leadership interview questions relate to the applicant's past work experience in supervising or managing other people. Interviewers want to gain an understanding of how the job applicant for a leadership position met his or her previous job duties by leading and coaching others. Typically, questions about leadership style, principles and values are asked during an employment interview held to hire a supervisor or manager. Other leadership interview questions commonly asked include what the applicant would do in certain real life situations.

For example, the interviewer of a busy retail company may ask a leadership applicant how he or she would handle several employees not showing up for a shift which would likely result in customers not being served in a timely manner. Asking leadership interview questions that also involve solving a problem on the spot can give the interviewer an idea of the thinking process of each job applicant. In this way, the hiring manager can compare the answers, along with the resumes and other criteria, of his or her group of applicants to help find the best person for the job.


Leadership style questions commonly involve the job candidate having to explain how he or she deals with subordinates in order to accomplish required tasks. Hiring managers tend to ask leadership interview questions concerning how the applicant prefers to give instructions to workers. Questions about how the person reprimands or corrects unsatisfactory behavior on the job may also be asked by the hiring manager in order to find a leader who seems like a good fit with the company's leadership philosophy.

The interviewer may first outline the firm's leadership values and main principles and ask the applicant how his or her ideals that relate to leading others fit in with them. Some hiring managers for supervisory or managerial positions ask the job candidate to define his or her leadership principles or values close to the beginning of the interview. Leadership interview questions about values or principles may help the hiring manager get a sense of what motivates each particular job applicant.

While looking at the applicants' resumes during interviews, many hiring managers will ask a series of questions that relate to their past jobs. For example, if the leadership job applicant's resume lists experience as a foreman at a fish packing plant, the interviewer may ask him or her how many employees he or she was responsible for and what exact outcomes were expected by upper management. Other common leadership questions that often result from the information on an applicant's resume include how the candidate solved problems in a particular job and what style of supervision or management he or she used in each case.



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