5 Ways to Show Leadership Skills in a Job Interview

leadership skillsLeadership is a major buzzword these days among employers. Leadership skills, therefore, are in high demand.

So when applying for positions with top companies and organizations, what is one of the most important things you can do as a candidate? That’s right…

Show the interviewer that you are able to lead a group of people to success.

Here are the five most important things to keep in mind to show your interviewer you have leadership skills:

Discuss Leadership Skills in Terms of Past Accomplishments

The best way to convince your interviewer that you have the capacity to lead others is to tell him directly about a time that you did just that. It sounds obvious, but people often neglect to do this. When talking about your accomplishments, make sure to highlight times when you actually led people in some way. Maybe you were a mediator between two people who were having trouble communicating. Maybe you took the active lead on a project with classmates or coworkers.

While the fact that you took on the leadership role might not seem so important to you, the interviewer’s ears will perk up when they hears this. If you can talk about why and how your leadership led to a positive outcome, all the better.

State Everything Quantitatively

I find that most people are very good at using numbers and details to explain accomplishments on their resumes. But they fail to do so in the interview itself. When preparing for an interview, make sure you know the numbers behind your achievements. Let’s say that, as an intern at a company, you led a team project that was ultimately presented to a Partner at the firm.

Instead of discussing what the project was about, tell the interviewer how many people you led and how much money was at stake. If you can tell him that you led a team of 8 to complete a 25-page analysis of a potential $2 million acquisition by your company, you’ve impressed them.

Act Decisively

It is common for an interviewer to ask about a challenge you faced and how you overcame it. In addition to talking about the goal itself and explaining it quantitatively, as mentioned above, you need to explain how you took initiative and acted decisively. Leaderships skills involve evaluating situations effectively and act quickly. If you were part of a team at a job and a coworker got fired, did you step up and present to your manager a short-term solution to her absence? How quickly were you able to put that into place and what was the result?

The best leaders have boatloads of these kinds of stories. Make sure you have one for your interview.

Speak Calmly and Confidently

It’s one thing to tell your interviewer that you are a leader, it’s quite another to display leadership skills through your interaction with them. Part of your goal is to get the interviewer to want to hire you. They don’t  have to like you, but they have to believe you would be an asset to their team. Staying calm and confident throughout the conversation will help convince them to get behind your candidacy. Practicing anticipated interview questions and conducting research on the company and industry allow you to communicate most effectively.

The more you practice, the calmer you will be and the more you will smile. The more research you do about the company and the industry, the more confident you will be and the more knowledgeable you will appear.

Show Passion

“Why do you want to work for this company?” This is one of the toughest questions to answer, especially if you’ve been on the job hunt for months and have applied to dozens of companies already. Know exactly why that company would be a good fit for you. Why is this important? Because you’ll have to do it when you have the job. The best leaders are able to bring people onto their side because those people want to be there.

Showing passion for the company and the position will make the interviewer attracted to you as a candidate. It may even make him put his neck out there for you when final hiring decisions are being made. They believe in their company, and want to hire people who can portray the company in a positive light.

Companies look for leaders who can take their fellow employees to the next level.

Demonstrate leadership skills during the interview, and you’re sure to impress.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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