Top 10 Interview Tips for Landing Leadership Roles
Applying for leadership roles at all levels can be a challenging and nerve-wracking experience. You’re expected to showcase your ability to inspire, manage, and guide a team effectively so it’s crucial to make a lasting impression during the interview. To help you succeed, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 interview tips for leadership roles.
A survey of hiring managers found that 33% claim to know whether or not they would hire someone within just 90 seconds of meeting them. So it is important to make the right impression.
1. Do your homework
Research the company, its culture, values, and recent developments. Familiarise yourself with the organisation’s mission, its products, and its target audience. This knowledge will help you demonstrate your genuine interest in the company and align your answers with its objectives. Also, check for any recent changes and consider the potential challenges this may have presented.
2. Know your leadership style
Be prepared to discuss your leadership style and how it aligns with the company’s values. Reflect on your experiences and successes, and provide examples of how you’ve motivated, coached, and mentored others. Think of some actual examples of when you have used your skills and experience when dealing with issues, driving performance or motivating the team.
3. Showcase your problem-solving skills
Leaders are often tasked with tackling complex issues. Share specific examples of problems you’ve encountered and how you addressed them. Be sure to highlight your ability to analyse situations, make data-driven decisions, and collaborate with others.
4. Demonstrate effective communication
As a leader, you need to be an excellent communicator. Practise speaking clearly and concisely, and be mindful of your body language. Show that you can listen actively and empathetically, and engage in open, respectful dialogue.
5. Highlight your adaptability
Change is inevitable in any organisation. Emphasise your ability to adapt to new situations, learn from your experiences, and help your team navigate through change. Bring some examples of the types of roles you have played through transformation or change.
6. Prepare for competency-based questions
Interviewers may use competency-based questions to assess your skills and experiences depending on the role’s seniority. Anticipate questions related to leadership, teamwork, communication, and decision-making, and prepare examples that demonstrate your capabilities in these areas.
7. Ask insightful questions
Asking thoughtful questions demonstrates your engagement and curiosity about the role and the company. Prepare questions about the organisation’s goals, challenges, and strategies, as well as the team you’ll be leading and the expectations for the role.
Top tip: interviews are a two-way process, so always try to ask at least one question!
8. Be authentic
Showcase your genuine personality and don’t try to be someone you’re not. Interviewers can sense when a candidate is being insincere, so be true to yourself and let your unique qualities shine. A leadership role will likely be accompanied by an Occupational Personality Profile, so trying to present a different picture than your genuine personality is likely to be revealed at this stage.
9. Display confidence
A leader should exude confidence, so maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and speak with conviction. Remember to balance this with humility and self-awareness, as arrogance can be off-putting and potentially raise a red flag for the interviewer.
10. Follow up with a thank you email
After the interview, send a personalised thank you email to each interviewer or the executive search consultant. Express your appreciation for their time, reiterate your interest in the role, and mention key points from the discussion that resonated with you.
Final Thoughts: Interview Tips
Remember when reading these interview tips that the interview process is a two-way street. Your preparation, authenticity, and ability to connect with the company’s vision will not only help you make a compelling case for your candidacy but also enable you to evaluate whether the organisation aligns with your professional aspirations. You should always ask questions to gain comfort around your values and aspirations. In our experience, any company or interviewer will not only be receptive to this but expect it.
The importance of doing your homework, understanding your leadership style, and showcasing problem-solving skills cannot be overstated – being candid about your strengths and weaknesses and how you adapt these in daily life will be helpful. Many leadership roles are accompanied by a comprehensive personality profile which is likely to reveal any potential strengths and weaknesses in any event, so being conscious of them is unlikely to be seen as a negative.
Effective communication, adaptability, and the ability to handle interview questions confidently are the threads that weave the fabric of a leader approach. Demonstrating your genuine self, balancing confidence with humility, and following up with a thoughtful thank-you email underscore your commitment and professionalism.
As you step into the interview room, envision it as an opportunity not just to showcase your skills but to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the future—yours and the company’s. The interview isn’t merely a transaction; it’s the start of a potential partnership, where both parties contribute to each other’s growth and success. Being nervous is okay too, this shows you care about the opportunity and in our experience, most leaders swiftly settle into an interview process.
So, we hope these interview tips help and best of luck!
Chris is the Founder & Managing Director of CJPI and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership.
Who Are CJPI?
CJPI is an executive search and consulting firm who work with businesses and organisations in the UK and internationally to deliver solutions which help them to thrive.