In today’s job market, leadership skills are an extremely valuable quality. Even if you are not applying for a management or supervisory position, hiring teams want to know that you can lead if and when you are called upon to do so. In a team environment, everyone must be able to take initiative and guide, persuade and assist other members of the group. So how can you, as a candidate, illustrate to the hiring team that you are a leader, rather than a follower?
When Have You Taken The Lead?
It’s not enough to simply tell your interviewer that you are a leader. You must come prepared to discuss specific situations in which you stepped up and took the lead in various situations. Leadership can take many forms, and it does not always equate to “being the boss.” Think about times when you:
- Acted as a mediator between colleagues who were having trouble communicating effectively.
- Helped one or more members of the team learn or improve on a process.
- Offered input and advice that improved a company process.
- Acted as the “point person” on a project.
As you consider these types of situations, make sure to think about the end result. If your leadership led to a quantifiable, positive outcome, be sure to share those results with specificity.
Remember, however, that nobody is perfect and your interviewer knows that mistakes and failure are inevitable. Don’t be afraid to talk about times when you stepped up and took the lead, but the end result wasn’t quite what you had hoped for. Explain what you learned from a failure and the adjustments you made to improve.
The best leaders are confident and collected. They are not brash or egotistical, nor are they shy and withdrawn. Hiring managers are evaluating more than just what you say. They also assess your tone, attitude and personality. If you want to be seen as a potential asset to the team, you must speak clearly, confidently and calmly. Nervousness is to be expected, but if you spend time preparing for each interview and practicing answering questions, your body language and voice will communicate confidence. The more you prepare, the less anxiety you will experience in the interview seat.
Let Your Passion Shine
If you don’t love what you do and where you do it, you won’t be effective on the job. Let your genuine enthusiasm for your field show through during the conversation. Effective leaders are passionate – they cannot persuade others to follow them if they take a half-hearted approach. Just make sure that your enthusiasm is genuine. Interviewers can easily spot fake or forced positivity.
If you are an information technology or finance professional in the Buffalo region and you are looking for new career opportunities, the expert recruiters at Systems Personnel are ready to hear from you. We top talent with top organizations in the region. Contact us today to learn more about the ways in which Systems Personnel can help you achieve your goals.
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