1. Top 10 Team Leader Interview Questions
    1. Could you elaborate on your leadership experiences?
    2. What leadership style do you follow?
    Leadership styles followed by team leads
    3. In your opinion, what are the top 3 qualities a team leader must possess?
    4. How do you handle deadlines?
    5. What do you do when your team does not agree with your ideas?
    6. Would you want your team to fear you? Or respect you?
    7. Could you tell us about a time when you failed?
    8. How do you appreciate your team members?
    9. How would you describe yourself as a team leader?
    10. What makes you unique from other candidates?
  2. Team lead skills

Team leaders have the power to influence the people around them, and change their lives.

They are like a ship’s captain, responsible to steer the company in the right direction.

No wonder acing an interview for a leadership role takes extra oomph, making preparation a crucial step.

If you are interviewing for a team leader role, and are brushing up to show off your skills, this blog is for you.

Go the extra mile and prepare with the top 10 team leader interview questions and sample answers to make an impression and ace your interview like a pro.

Top 10 Team Leader Interview Questions

Here are the 10 interview questions that will prepare you well before your next big interview.

1. Could you elaborate on your leadership experiences?

The first and the most crucial team leader interview question you need to prepare for is this.

Recruiters ask questions about your leadership experiences to get an understanding of the situations you have dealt with, your strengths, weaknesses, and ability to handle a team.

To answer this, talk about your team size, the number of years you led them for, the relation you shared with your team both in and out of professional capacity, etc.

Here are some other things you can do:

  1. Practice talking about an example relevant to the job posting
  2. Answer with a recent experience
  3. Choose a project where you led to high impact results
  4. Research the company and job profile to answer with relevant information

In case this is your first attempt at becoming a team lead, and you lack leadership experiences, talk about experiences from school/college.

You can talk about any incident where identified an issue and resolved it.

It could be a school/college project you led, the time you were the president of your college's dance society, or any experience you may have volunteered.

Sample answer

I have been associated with my firm in the capacity of an assistant manager of the Human resources department for 3 years.

During this time, I have led many talent acquisition programs and have hired over 58 employees for the company.

In addition to this, I was also responsible for campus recruitments.

About 3 months ago, we led a campus recruitment drive in XYZ university and the 3-day drive, we hired 18 fresh talents, all of whom are performing well so far in our company.

3 of them were even lauded by our founders for their exemplary work.

With the news of recent funding and expansion around the corner, I’m sure you too are planning on hiring as many capable, skilled people as possible.

If given a chance, I would be happy to use my skills for the betterment of your company, just like I did for my former employers.

2. What leadership style do you follow?

Some of the most important team leader interview questions are about leadership or management style.

With questions like these, recruiters get an insight into the process of the candidate's management style, making it easier for them to shortlist the right fit.

It is also important to remember that a good leader does not follow the same style rigidly, but chooses the leadership style according to the team and nature of work.

One of the best tricks to impress recruiters with your answer is to do some extensive research about the company.

Find out the team structure, size, and nature of projects before you describe your leadership style.

To answer well,

  1. Make a list of all your experiences
  2. Talk about recent and relevant situations
  3. Explore the different leadership styles and choose the appropriate one

Wondering which leadership style to choose from? Here’s something that can help you.

Leadership styles followed by team leads

Here are the 7 commonly used leadership style that helps team leaders work effectively.

  1. Autocratic style- When a manager makes all the decisions with little to no inputs from the team member.
  2. Authoritative style- It is a "Follow-me" approach where the managers are confident people who get people to agree to their ideas. Unlike Autocratic leaders, they take time to explain their decisions with all parameters in place.
  3. Coaching style- Managers who follow this approach focus their energy on developing their teammates' skills. They help their team get direction to achieve their goals.
  4. Democratic style- Democratic managers consider everyone's opinions and ask people what they think about big decisions before making them.
  5. Pacesetting style- Managers who follow this are leaders that are self-driven and have a bar set so high, that their team members focus on achieving the goal in the little time
  6. Affiliative style- Under this leadership style, the managers put people first and gets close with them to connect with them on a closer not
  7. Laissez-faire style- It is the exact opposite of the autocratic style. Unlike rigid rules, there is a trust amongst people to call all shots.

Sample answer

In my 3 years of experience in a leadership role, I have learned that working in a team takes effort and understanding.

This is why I avoid micromanaging and follow the Democratic style of leadership.

For instance, 5 months ago, we were working on BTD’s marketing campaign.

We had to build the projection plan from the scratch and strategize a social media campaign, along with the one offline.

So we had several meetings where all of us brainstormed ideas and some of my juniors ended up giving some great ideas.

The ideas that were selected were brought to life by those who pitched them with help from their team.

Practicing this style of leadership helped us juggle between several tasks and reduced the scope of error.

It also made everyone in the team feel involved and brought about a sense of ownership, which led to the campaign being a huge success.

3. In your opinion, what are the top 3 qualities a team leader must possess?

This is one of the most crucial team leader interview questions.

Interviewers ask this question to assess your qualities as a team leader by gauging what is important to you to fill in the position.

The qualities you choose to answer with define you as a team leader and tell the interviewer what kind of leadership they can expect.

If you are confused about what qualities to answer with, here are some of the qualities of a good leader:

  • Dynamic
  • Patience
  • Sociable
  • Decision maker
  • Analytical
  • Good communication skills
  • Influential
  • Humility
  • Honesty
  • Accountability

Sample answer

I think that the three most important qualities a team leader must have are strong decision making, patience, and humility.

Without these three, a team leader will fail to call the shots and can have a really hard time working in a group of people, let alone leading them.

4. How do you handle deadlines?

One of the things the team leaders are responsible for is to communicate goals to the team and ensure that they are completed before the deadline.

Recruiters often ask this team leader interview questions to understand how you get the work done.

You can use this question to talk about your efficiency, organization, and time-management skills.

How you answer this question helps the interviewers assess if your working style suits their company and how good you are at handling the pressure of meeting deadlines.

To answer well,

  1. Research the company and if possible, study their recent projects
  2. Talk about how you establish expectations and goals, followed by your method to track progress
  3. Choose a recent event where you met a steep deadline
  4. Discuss how you delegate work and boost your team’s morale

Sample answer

I understand meeting deadlines is crucial, especially in our field of work. This is why I try to keep my work as organized as possible.

I follow a 3 step process to get things done in time. I start by dividing the project into smaller, achievable tasks, followed by step 2, where I assign a timeline to complete all these tasks.

Once that is done, I move to Step 3, where I note the progress, find error gaps, and rectify the possible mistakes.

Recently, our team was assigned the task to analyze the recent growth trends, and identify the areas that needed more improvement within a week.

Since we have several clients and many projects, one week didn’t seem like enough time.

So, I divided the task into 6 sub-tasks and delegated it to 6 teams.

Four days into it, I felt the teams didn’t feel too motivated to get the work done. So, I got a little creative and announced a prize for the first 3 teams to finish their task with no error.

I made sure I was available to them throughout the week in case they needed help and made sure they were motivated to get the work done.

5. What do you do when your team does not agree with your ideas?

Coming up with ideas is not an easy task, and the entire process of brainstorming can be taxing, especially for team leaders.

This is such a common workplace scenario that situations like these have found their way into the list of top team leader interview questions.

Interviewers ask this question to make sense of what you would do if your team does not support your ideas.

After all, no company wants to hire someone who wants his word to be the final one.

So, answer to reflect an openness to criticism, ease of handling rejection, and the ability to consider the best possible option without any bias.

Sample answer

When working with a team, it is all about teamwork, and that includes making decisions together too.

If my team does not agree with my ideas, I ask them to point out the problems.

Once the shortcomings are identified, I try to suggest alternatives wherever possible.

If the team agrees with the idea, then we execute it.

But if that does not happen, then we continue brainstorming until we find the one that best meets our needs.

A few months ago, we were working to boost revenues with a sales drive, and we wanted to create brand awareness.

I suggested we made the experience with our products personal by handing out collaterals and BTL promotion.

The team thought otherwise and wanted to emphasize social media promotions.

They pointed out that with social media, we would save time, money, and the reach would be much wider comparatively.

We weighed the pros and cons and decided that the latter idea was much better.

So, we focused our efforts to strategize for it and ensure great results.

6. Would you want your team to fear you? Or respect you?

If you are a fan of the TV show The Office, I'm sure you are tempted to answer “Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

Even though this seems like a perfect opportunity to be your version of Michael Scott, we suggest you choose one of the two and justify your choice.

A popular belief is that when people are scared of their leader, they end up doing their job with half the interest.

They constantly focus on keeping themselves safe and focus on fear more than productivity, which also affects their ability to think and create.

Many argue with logic and believe that fear is a great tool to help people achieve their goals.

Choose to answer with the one you relate to the most.

Since everyone has a different leadership style, there is no right or wrong answer, as long as you can justify it.

Sample answer

If I have to choose between being feared or respected, I think I would want to be respected.

I don’t want to be unapproachable, and someone everyone is scared of. It is important to build an environment where people can trust their leaders.

I believe being approachable makes it easier for my teammates to reach out to me, helping them get the work done quicker.

Another reason is that when people fear their leaders instead of respecting them, they find shortcuts to do their job and find themselves dissociated from the work.

It would be great if I could choose being feared a little, but mostly, I want to be respected.

7. Could you tell us about a time when you failed?

Nobody wins every time. Interviewers know this and ask this team leader interview questions to assess how you deal with setbacks.

The answer to this question can be a deal-breaker, so answer to reflect quick thinking, ability to control the damage, and deal with challenges in high-pressure situations.

Answers like I have never failed, or I make sure I always succeed, can hamper your chances of getting hired and may even come off as arrogant and dishonest.

To answer this question,

  1. Choose a relatively old incident
  2. List the immediate steps taken to handle the situation
  3. Discuss how you learned from the failure

Sample answer

About a year ago, when I was working as an associate, I got an opportunity to lead one of the campaigns.

Since it was my first time handling a team and calling the shots, I was exhilarated and beyond curious.

I made sure I double-checked all aspects and got in touch with all stakeholders to make sure that the campaign could run smoothly.

Unfortunately, due to my confidence and excitement, it didn’t occur to me to run a sample test, and I directly gave the instructions to set the campaign live.

Soon, I realized that there were a couple of escalations that could backfire.

We then focused on damage control, and the saving grace was that we resolved the discrepancies before anyone could see them.

I consider that to be one of my failures as I could have avoided all the trouble, but I got blindsided and overwhelmed.

I have come a long way since and have not faced any such situation.

8. How do you appreciate your team members?

For a team leader, a major aspect of the job is to make sure that their team members are motivated to work and that they feel appreciated in their job.

The interviewers ask this team leader interview question to learn what methods you use to keep the spirits of your teammates high.

Talk about how you keep the sense of camaraderie alive in your teammates and how you appreciate them for doing a good job.

Sample answer

Over years, my team and I have established the tradition of a monthly huddle where we highlight our achievements, shortcomings, and discuss them in detail.

We take half an hour on Fridays to talk about the team and how we are dealing with things.

It is in this meeting that we announce a star performer of the month.

At the end of the month, the rest of us throw a small get-together in honor of our star performer where we bond and appreciate their inputs.

It keeps everyone motivated to do great work, and because it happens every month, I get a chance to take turns and appreciate everyone in front of the team.

9. How would you describe yourself as a team leader?

This question works as a self-review for interviewers, making it a popular team leader interview question.

With this question, the interviewers try to understand the approach you follow to lead a team.

Discuss your team leader skills to give them a general idea. You can also talk about your relationship with your team and how it helps you in leading a team.

Sample answer

I try my best to become a team leader who knows how to establish authority without exuding fear or pressure, and it has worked for me so far.

My team members and I share a close bond that helps us get work done together.

I try to separate our relations from work so that efficiency stays unaffected.

We have heated discussions, and I think I can be strict with them sometimes, but it is a relief that they understand that it's purely professional.

So, I guess you can say I’m a good team leader, and if you asked any of my team members, I’m sure you would get similar responses.

10. What makes you unique from other candidates?

This team leader interview question is your window to tell the recruiters why you are the perfect person for the job.

Answer with your top team leadership skills that make you a success with your team.

If you do not have the experience, talk about the strengths that make you a good team leader.

You can also use the requirements listed in the job description to make your case.

We will discuss some of the important team leadership skills that can help you stand out in the next segment.

Sample answer

I have three years of experience as a team leader and possess all the skills needed for the position. I’m a people’s person and have a proven track record of effective communication amongst peers.

Apart from that, I’m analytical, and adept at decision-making in tough situations.

I’m compassionate and approachable to my team members, both the qualities that complement the flat hierarchy structure of your company.

Team lead skills

Answering team leader interview questions is tricky as the emphasis is on your experience and skills.

To help you out, here are some team leadership skills to help you ace your interviews.

  • Organization skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Ability to inspire and influence
  • Innovative and dynamic
  • Delegation of work
  • Conflict resolution
  • Good at negotiating
  • Persuasive

Now that you have prepared with the top 10 team leader interview questions, it is time to bag your dream job.

You can also read some commonly asked interview questions to be better prepared.

All the best!

Interview Questions