A strange question. Like many other questions you may face in your job interview. But leadership is a highly sought-after quality in all types of organizations, and you may face at least one or two questions related to leading others in an interview for any position.
Other people can perhaps better consider your leadership qualities. People you led in your last job, your former colleagues and bosses, or even your teachers and schoolmates–if you happen to be just starting your professional career. But hiring managers talk to you, not to your former colleagues or classmates. They have to rely on your own evaluation.
As a rule of a thumb, you should at least suggest that you have a leader inside. Of course, if you’ve already had a chance to demonstrate your leadership qualities, you can talk about that demonstration. One way or another, show confidence in your ability to lead others and help them grow. And avoid short answers. Regardless of what you say, you should always elaborate on your words–explaining why you consider yourself a leader (or contrariwise).
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. I tried to combine typical and unconventional answers on my list, and answers for both novices to the corporate world and seasoned professionals. Check them out and find one that resonates with the message you try to convey in your interviews.
7 sample answers to “Do you consider yourself a leader?” interview question
- I definitely consider myself a good leader. In my last job in marketing I managed to lead a team of four diverse personalities to completion of seven marketing campaigns. Each of them delivered the results clients expected, or even bettered them, and I believe that people from the team thrived under my leadership. Of course we had conflicts and things didn’t always go according to the plan. But such issues belong to every team, I managed to address them, and we eventually always delivered. In my opinion, the experience demonstrates my leadership qualities, at least to some point.
- I consider myself a leader, though I have not yet had a chance to prove it, since this is my first ever job application for any managerial role. But I learned in my other jobs, as well as at school, that I can make people interested in a vision, and motivate them to cooperate together. What’s more, I find it easy to connect with almost everyone, which is, I believe, an important quality for every leader. To sum it up, I have a leadership potential, and hope to get a chance to realize it in your company.
- I honestly believe it wouldn’t be fair to judge it from my perspective. I feel that people grew under my leadership in my last job, that they felt empowered and delivered their best. But you know how it goes in every business–what managers perceive and what their subordinates perceive isn’t necessarily the same thing. And I try to stay humble. To sum it up, regardless of what they would say, I still believe I have a lot of room for improvement.
- I’m not a leader, and I also do not dream of becoming one. I prefer taking orders to giving them, and it is one of the reasons why I apply for the job with your restaurant. I know you have processes in place for everything, and managers present on each shift. For my personality and preferences it is an ideal combination. I do not aspire to be someone I am not. And I believe my personality is a good fit for the position you advertise.
- I would call myself an aspiring leader. It is too early to judge my qualities in this department, since the scope of responsibilities I had in my only former job did not allow me to demonstrate my leadership. But I believe to have what it takes to attract others to my vision, to connect with them, to help them grow, and to lead them. And of course to go by an example, address conflicts and challenges, and simply do everything a good leader does. I hope to get a chance to prove my words in your company.
- No, I do not consider myself a leader yet, but I would love to become one Not just by some rank in the company, or some fancy job title. I want to be the leader of values, someone who inspires other people, their colleagues, simply someone who helps them to grow, while they work on achieving the goals of the business. I know it is a big vision, and not an easy one to attain. But I have confidence in my abilities, and my experience from activities outside of work makes me believe that I can become such a leader.
- I do, but so far only the leader of my own life. It isn’t an easy feat to achieve though, considering how everything around us tries to convince us of certain truth, how polarized the society is, and how hard it is for young people to earn a good salary, and live on their own. But I did not let the situation to discourage me. Working on my education and skills, I gave myself the best possible chance, and now I can say that I decide about my day, and what I dedicate myself to. It is not a bad feeling to be honest.
We know many levels of leadership
What some job applicants don’t understand is that leadership does not necessary mean spearheading a big team or an entire corporation. We have many levels and forms of leadership–and I do not speak about some formal classifications here.
You can be a leader for a single colleague you have, you can be a leader even for your boss, and you can be a leader even if you do not work anywhere. As long as you help your friends and family members to grow, and to achieve their full potential in their endeavors, you are leading them–often without realizing it.
And if you do not have a chance to lead anyone, you can at least aspire to do so. Tell the interviewers that you have the personality for becoming a great leader, and hope to realize your ambition in their company…
* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any leadership or managerial role. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Every employee cannot be a leader
In some cases a question about leadership can be a “catch question“. If you apply for a job in some place where you are expected to bent your head, listen to orders, and follow the work manual step by step, without thinking, it is better saying that you do not consider yourself a leader.
I honestly hope you do not apply for such type of a job. If you do, though, saying that you consider yourself a leader would not help you to get it. Keep it on your mind, and think about the job, and career growth opportunities. If it is manual work with no career growth opportunities, it is better to conceal your leadership skills (or ambitions)…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check sample answers to other tricky interview questions though:
- How would you describe your leadership style?
- Are you a leader, or a manager?
- What does leadership mean to you?