Interview tips beyond the usual

  • Stephanie Clark

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Leadership – 5 Traits That Might Just Say Enough

Posted by Stephanie on August 7, 2012

Leadership is difficult to prove. After all, you can’t just “claim” leadership traits. You must demonstrate these.

These five might just suffice to prove that you’re a minimum-risk new hire, and a capable leader.

1. You know your stuff. This is relatively easy to prove: identify the top five skills needed in your line of work (trouble-shooting? customer service? managing people?) and make sure you throw examples into as many responses as possible. Also, demonstrate that you keep learning by reading industry periodicals, participating in courses (online or in class), reading blogs or subscribing to newsletters, participating in professional groups … you can’t stay great if your skills or knowledge become outdated.

2. Demonstrate that you are well liked. Mention how your team celebrated your birthday, how they come to you to ask clarification, how they have even trusted you with personal issues. These show respect and trust – undeniable traits of effective leadership.

3. Your passion and ambition. One cannot succeed without a true love of the work one does. Show it, share it, voice it. Don’t hold back so much that your audience isn’t quite sure. Gush about it – apologize for going overboard, but don’t risk seeming blase. Ambition means you’ll work hard to get noticed and you’ll strive on the company’s behalf – and this will imply your potential.

4. That you “play nice.” This doesn’t mean that you’re always “nice”; it means that you are fair and friendly. That you respect your team members and don’t chastise anyone in public; that you give credit where it’s due and don’t hoard it for yourself; that you delegate with an eye to who has the best to offer in that role – it’s all about getting people working together for the company’s benefit.

5. That you have what it takes. Much of leadership is about making tough choices, evaluating data and situations quickly and purposefully. It’s about constantly assessing, analyzing, evaluating … and generally coming up with good decisions. Have examples of quick thinking, critical thinking, decisiveness and tough decisions ready to share. The examples with a good ending must outweigh those where the ending was unintended or not so great. For the endings that went haywire, be ready to explain what steps you took to fix it.

Keep in mind that a leader cannot simply prove competency; a leader must prove true leadership. Give these five a try in your next interview.


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