Tips for Interviewing for Management and Leadership Roles

Seeking leadership positions means taking a different approach with your interviews. Here’s how to show both experience and vision when looking to move up into management and leadership.

Professional woman on her way to an interview for a leadership position.

You’re ready to make the leap to leadership and management positions. To interview for these higher level roles, you have to rethink how you approach job interviews from your previous positions. Here are tips for interviewing to help demonstrate that you are ready for increased responsibility. 
Identify your vision for the company
Outside of management, job interviews are often about your concrete skills, such as what you can accomplish during a workday, that you bring to fit within a team. When you start to look at leadership roles, skills become oriented toward more long term and visionary skills. For your interview, be prepared to share how you will shape your department or company not just day-to-day, but what you hope to accomplish in the 30-, 60- or 90-day time ranges and beyond. 
Distill lessons from your key projects 
Making a leap to management means that you have learned how to shepherd projects to completion despite personality clashes, not enough resources, or other unforeseen obstacles. Showing the lessons you learned from adversity will demonstrate how you are ready to troubleshoot the inevitable obstacles that become the responsibility of the person in charge. 
Define your decision-making process
The essence of leadership and management is making hard decisions. What kind of decision maker are you? Are you a long thoughtful analytical decider? Or do you trust your instincts and make quick turnaround decisions? Do you prefer to delegate and trust others for the majority of decisions? Are you a micromanager or a big picture thinker? You’re not looking for the right answer, but rather to be open about what you bring to the process. Know your tendency so you can have an honest discussion. 
Share your leadership heroes
Defining who you are as a leader can become very abstract and devolve into clichés. To paint a clearer picture, you can get a better sense of who you aspire to be by identifying your heroes and their leadership traits you admire. Do you want to push people like Steve Jobs, or empower and trust people like Tina Fey? How do you get the most out of your team? Your idols will say a lot about your management and leadership style. 
Related Articles to Help Your Professional Development: 
4 Books from CEOs to Help Boost Your Professional Development
6 Ways to Get People Management Experience
How to Develop Leadership Skills Through Mentoring