Questions You Should Ask Candidates for Your Leadership Program

The truth is, not everyone will be well-suited for your leadership programs. And the more challenging your leadership program is, the better each candidate on your roster needs to be. So, how do you know if a candidate is ideal for one of your leadership programs? Start by asking them the questions below.

How would you deal with working with someone who doesn’t agree with you?

This question will let you weed out candidates who don’t deal well with conflict. Candidates who belittle others, don’t care about getting along with others, or who lack the confidence to handle conflict when it arises, will not make effective leaders. Leaders must constantly work with bosses, teams, and employees whom they don’t necessarily always agree with on every little detail. But they still must get the job done and lead a team to help them get the job done, too. All effective leaders can resolve conflicts and differences with others (whether it’s their superior, equal, or subordinate) quickly, fairly, and efficiently, so that everyone can get the job done.

Have you ever had to complete a task you didn’t know how to do before, and how did you deal with the situation?

Great leaders know how to be adaptable when faced with assignments or tasks that they aren’t necessarily familiar with or know how to do. They’ll be ready to seek out answers, try out new things, learn along the way, and recruit others with the right skills to help them. Candidates for leadership programs should be eager and willing to take on new responsibilities at regular intervals and should not shy away from challenges or unfamiliar territory.

What is the most challenging decision you’ve had to make recently, and how did you make that decision?

Leaders can easily make rational decisions and then stick by them. This question lets you get inside each candidate’s decision-making process, to see if they have the necessary skills. When they provide you with an example, look for a structured decision-making process that has solid reasoning behind it. Candidates who take too many risks and fly by the seat of their pants when making decisions that influence other employees or your organization could be catastrophic. And someone who has never had to make a challenging decision may not be ready yet.

How would you persuade others to do what you need or want them to do?

When asking this question, be on the lookout for candidates who seek to intimidate or threaten others to make them comply with rules or to take a desired course of action. Effective leaders are also very effective persuaders. They get others to agree with them and their desired course of action because they’re able to focus on the benefits for everyone involved, and can exemplify their reasoning to others and why they want them to do something.

Overall, leadership candidates should be ready to learn, make decisions, and get along well with others.