How to Present Your Leadership Skills During an Interview

Show up a few minutes early and dressed well to demonstrate leadership skills.
Show up a few minutes early and dressed well to demonstrate leadership skills. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Leadership skills are not always easy to demonstrate in an interview, because interviews are mostly question and answer format, and leadership skills are often best displayed through actions. However, it is possible to demonstrate leadership skills in a variety of ways. Leadership skills are important to employers, because they show you have the ability to take charge and get work done efficiently. Leadership skills are especially important for managers, executives or team leaders.

Act like a leader. Sit up straight, and answer questions confidently with little or no hesitation. Look the person interviewing you straight in the eye. However, do not treat the interviewer like a subordinate, or try to boss him around. This shows arrogance, not leadership.

Research the company you are interviewing for to find out the company philosophy and management style. Construct your answers with that information in mind. For example, you might be asked about a role model or someone you look up to. If you name a business leader as your role model with a completely different philosophy than the company you are interviewing for, it will hurt your chances of getting a job offer. Demonstrating knowledge about the company's culture and management style also shows you have done your research in preparing for the interview.

Provide several short stories or anecdotes as you answer your questions that demonstrate your leadership abilities. Use examples from previous work experience that indicate your ability to successfully lead in a business role. For example, you can talk about how you took charge of a team when a manager was out of the office, or how you stayed late for several weeks to finish a project on time.

Anticipate the questions and consider possible answers. For example, many interviews include a question about your professional short and long-term goals. Do not wait until you are asked to think about these answers. You must answer them and demonstrate that you have a clear vision for your career and objectives. Leaders know where they want to go in their careers.

Talk about other areas of your life where you show leadership skills in addition to work. For example, if you volunteer for various organizations in your community or sit on a neighborhood or school board, mention those activities in your interview. This shows that you are a leader in your daily life, not just in the office.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remain confident, attentive and polite at all times throughout the interview.

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