Learn About a Candidate’s Leadership Potential?

Learn About a Candidate’s Leadership Potential?

"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things."  

These are the words of the late President Ronald Reagan – and a solid summary of what you’re looking for as you assess job candidates for leadership potential. As you plan your interview strategy to determine how to spot a leader, the questions you ask are among your most valuable tools. You need to be direct with questions, to determine if a person has the passion and interest to lead – and then reveal their true character when it comes to such qualities as integrity, motivation, communication strengths, positivity and creativity.

Here are three interview questions to get you started:


  1. Describe a time when you were a member of a successful team. What role did you play on the team and in its success?

Regardless of the job, every employee needs to exhibit some ability to work as part of a team. Even in technical roles, the capability to communicate and interact with coworkers is essential.

  • Learn how an individual works as a member of both departmental and cross-functional teams.
  • Listen for use of the word “we” in response to this question. Teamwork supporters tend to naturally speak in terms of their group.
  • Discover what a person believes about why teams succeed and fail, and what needs to be present in the work environment for them to optimize their leadership potential.


  1. Have you ever had to build support for goals on a project from people who didn’t report to you and over whom you had no authority? How did you make that happen?

Leadership comes from influence, not a person’s position or title. You know this, and you need to discern whether or not your job candidate does as well.  Leadership without authority is not an oxymoron, but rather, desirable workplace strength. Today’s most effective leaders exercise a new style that blends personal and interpersonal skills. This enables them to impact, influence and inspire others, even though they’re not their boss. Ask your candidate responds to this question, be alert for :

  • Empathetic listening skills: The ability to see things from another person’s point of view.
  • Warm body language: Positive eye contact, a genuine smile and open postures. If a person shows this during their interview, chances are they will mirror it on the job.
  • Emotional intelligence: A leader without authority motivates their team by understanding that emotions, both positive and negative, drive performance.


  1. Tell us about a time when you failed. How did you handle it?

How a person overcame and learned from a setback speaks volumes about their character, personality and work ethic. This also is an excellent question to gauge honesty and maturity in a candidate. Their response could reveal:

  • How they handle criticism and how self-aware they are.
  • Whether they are someone who values learning and finds benefit in challenging themselves, despite occasional losses and adversity.

Looking to add leaders to your team? 

Knowing how to spot a leader can be challenging – and yet, your ability to do so is critical to the future of your business. Let the talent management experts at Frontline Source Group help you attract, develop and retain people with the leadership potential your company needs. Looking for a staffing agency in Fort Worth, TX? Contact us today to learn more. To find the branch closest to you, click here.

Category(ies): Blog
Published on: Jan 10, 2019