Is Your Candidate a Leader? Put Them to the Test With These Interview Questions

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on September 7, 2018

Leadership is an important quality to spot and nurture in your staff. But if candidates for a position tend not to have leadership experience, how can hiring managers spot their potential?

Here, we cover several interview questions that can encourage potential leaders to reveal their latent abilities and guide employers in the search for the right candidate.

3 Interview Questions to Assess if a Candidate is a Leader

1. Tell me about a time something went wrong at work. What did you do?

Here, you’re looking for two things: a candidate who stepped up when things went wrong, and a candidate who shows enthusiasm and passion for doing so. When candidates can ardently describe how they took the lead to address a problem and find a solution, they have leader traits – especially if their response focuses on how they supported others to reach the goal.

2. When did you last disagree with a co-worker or a customer? What happened?

A leader must walk a fine line when it comes to conflict. They can’t shy away from it, but neither can they afford to instigate or inflame it. This question explores a candidate’s willingness to acknowledge when conflicts occur, and it provides a window into their behavior in a real-life conflict situation. Potential leaders will be honest about the conflict, objective in discussing the issue, and willing to take ownership of their response – whether or not it was constructive in the moment.

3. Describe a time you had to do a task you’d never done before. How did you go about it and what were the results?

Good leaders know how to adapt. They understand how to use the skills they have available to address new and unexpected challenges. In this question, hiring managers can explore a candidate’s ability to adapt their own skill sets in order to face the unknown. This question also opens the door to exploring a candidate’s willingness to tackle the unknown; candidates who shirk extra responsibilities or are “stuck in their ways” are unlikely to become good leaders.

Need to fill an open position?

If you have a vacancy on the horizon, talk to your recruiting partner. Not only is your recruiter an expert at sourcing top candidates, they can help you identify individuals who possess the leadership skills you might be looking for.

At TERRA Staffing, our recruiters specialize in connecting our clients to outstanding candidates who offer strong skills today and leadership potential for the future. Contact us today to learn more.

Categories: HR and Management Advice

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