You’re interviewing for a new job!
You’re doing great so far, but the interviewer asks a question that makes you freeze: “What leadership positions have you had?”
You may be thinking, “But, I’ve never held a leadership title!”
Think again! Your title has absolutely nothing to do with your capability to be a leader within your workplace!
Why are they asking me this question?
There is a misconception that if you’re not a manager, you’re not a leader.
— Emily Moyer, career coach
Leadership skills are important to any employer. You can have leadership skills even if you’ve never actually been a so-called “leader.”
Your future employer is looking for a candidate who will add value to their company and help them achieve their goals.
Make sure that candidate is you!
Identify your skills!
Past work experiences can give you a good place to start, but it's not the only place where leadership skills are practiced! Think about a time when you acted as a leader in school, while volunteering, or even in your own personal life.
It's likely you have one or more of the following leadership skills:
Providing and accepting feedback
Attention to detail
Delegating tasks to others
Open to new ideas
Curiosity and continuous learning
Working well with others
Acted as a role model
Making quick, informed decisions
Remaining calm under pressure
Creating a solution to a problem
Considering other perspectives
Learn from mistakes
Reflect on past experiences
Before any job interview, jot down the skills you learned in the past, when (and how) you succeeded, and times when you have exhibited leadership skills.
Volunteering at a local charity drive
Organizing an event with friends
Leading a project at school
Training a new employee
Providing coaching to a teammate
Tutoring a peer
Offering constructive feedback
Celebrating achievements of others
Watch the video below to learn how one person successfully used a past experience to demonstrate her leadership skills in their interview.
Keep it relevant
After applying for a specific job, you'll want to narrow down your list of leadership experiences to those that are specific to the job.
Try to choose an experience that relates to the role you’re applying for.
Social media coordinator
Have a look at the example mock interview below of a candidate demonstrating their organizational skills:
The candidate describes how, as an intern, they managed a social event for other interns to get to know each other. The candidate highlights:
Being in charge of the event budget
Delegating tasks to other interns
The event's success
Learn more about the STAR method used in the TikTok video above. 👈
Quiz: Halley's Interview
Halley is applying for a role as an environmental specialist and has been asked what leadership positions she has had. Which of the following experiences should she focus on?
A. Calling her local water department to inform them about an obstruction by a storm drain.
B. Helping her group finish a project in school.
C. Organizing and leading a group to help clean up trash around a local pond.
D. Researched issues related to her local watershed and brainstormed solutions on how she could help.
Select the experience Halley should use in the interview:
You never know when this question might come up in an interview, so start preparing yourself to answer it now!