Leadership is often viewed as solely the domain of management. Yet increasingly, leadership qualities are in demand throughout an organization. It begins with the job interview. Demonstrating those qualities during the interview can give you the edge you need.
That was the message from Paul Decker during this week’s Professional Opportunities Networking Group of Greater Milwaukee (PONG) meeting. Decker is an instructor at Waukesha County Technical College and consults business leaders through his firm, Renegade Thinking Group.
A desire to be a good leader is commendable Decker says, but selling it is tough. Set your goals, and sell them with confidence. “Who knows you better than you?” he asks. “Who can sell you better than you?” People will recognize your leadership skills if you display them.
One valued skill is listening. Be receptive to “buying” signals as they occur during the job interview. Employers seek self-motivated problem-solvers who can think on their feet. Emphasize how you can help the organization and fulfill the employer’s needs. Will your referral sources vouch for you? That’s even better.
Be prepared to offer examples of situations you have encountered and resolved. (Sometimes called CAR stories, for Challenge, Action, Result.)
Another quality of a leader, Decker says, is to ask questions. Turn the tables, and do some interviewing yourself. Good questions to ask include: How do you view the competition? What are the challenges in your environment? Where are you in the marketplace – up and coming? In your follow-up comments, explain how you will help the organization overcome challenges or meet objectives.
According to Decker, leadership is not a position at all. Instead, it is action and example. Leaders are team players who build consensus among employees. During your interview, discuss how you will be that person.
Understand that you may not be the ideal candidate, but you could be what the employer needs. Establish that during the interview. Augmenting you should be a “robust” LinkedIn profile and networking skills. Indeed, it’s the networking that could land you an interview ahead of a more qualified candidate, Decker says.
After the interview, further showcase your leadership skills by following up. (Remember to send thank-you notes! Incidentally, they’re a good opportunity to revisit key points.) Stay in touch, and remind the employer why you are the best choice for the position.
For additional reading, see “When to say ‘no’ to a new opportunity” and “Effective communication skills are critical in today’s economy.”
In what other ways can an job candidate (or employee) demonstrate leadership qualities? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you found value in this post, please share it so others may benefit from what you and I have written. You may use any of the following buttons. To contact me, send an email.