The Insider

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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The Interview: Are You A Potential Leader?

by Kevin T Buckley, CPC

You are faced with an attractive career opportunity which is a step forwards into management. The problem is that you have very little management experience. What can you say to convince the hiring manager that you are qualified for the position?

This is where you work on transforming potential weaknesses into strengths by looking at evidence of qualities of leadership in your experience.

Have you shown initiative in taking on large and complex projects that demanded an uncommon degree of commitment, energy and dedication to achieving a goal?

Do you have a developed degree of self-discipline and the proven ability to persevere in the step-by-step tasks required to reach an objective - despite setbacks, uncertainty and disappointments?

Can you prioritize and organize work projects so that yoiur progress is achieved in measurable ways with clear guidelines and clear results?

Have you been successful in presenting ideas, having senior management approve them and then implemented them to the benefit of the company's profits or reduction of costs or improved productivity?

Have you devised training manuals or been able to clarify confusing information for your peers or superiors and had these improvements adopted within the company?

Have you turned disgruntled customers into satisfied customers through going well beyond the call of duty, thinking outside the box?

Have you been successful in up-selling products or services to increase revenues or create new customers and been recognized for these achievements?

Are you adept at creating strong working relationships with decision-makers in and outside of your own firm and developed mutual trust and confidence with them?

Have you developed a network of useful contacts and sources of assistance that you can draw from to help you solve problems and expedite solutions?

Are you the person in the office considered to be the resident expert on a particular topic, and do people gravitate towards you for guidance in solving work-related problems?

Have people sought you out specifically to provide guidance in conflict-resolution situations that demand objectivity, empathy and rational thinking, thereby defusing emotionally tense events?

Do you enjoy teaching others and imparting your personal knowledge to help them become successful?

Have you been effective in training junior people and able to have them catch on quickly to learn new information and procedures?

Have these people then moved on to higher levels of responsibility in their own work?

Do your superiors seek out your opinions or advice when considering options in tackling important issues or problems?

Are you constantly thinking in terms of how to do things better, taking time after hours to work on plans, in addition to juggling your multiple priorities?

Do you think nothing of having to put in extra hours to ensure that projects are completed on time whereas others grumble at the imposition on their personal time?

Are you taking career oriented courses and see yourself in a position of leadership in the future and are working to make that vision a reality?

Do you find it second nature to be able to weigh and consider the merits of various options to make a decision without being confused by the choices available?

Are you effective at creating written reports, using various forms of media and have received positive feedback from superiors on the quality and clarity of your information?

Can you handle the stresses and uncertainties of business life while maintaining equanimity, self-motivation and an unswerving direction towards the attainment of goals and objectives?

Can you objectively critique your conduct, successes and failures and learn from those situations?

All of these qualities, skills and attributes are evidence of potential or actual leadership abilities. To gain the trust of those below and above you in responsibility is one of the marks of a leader.

Review your experience, your successes and achievements and develop talking points that will provide evidence of these leadership skills when sitting down with an employers to discuss your future and what you can bring to the company and the role you are being considered for.

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