52 Team Leader Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 15 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Companies hire team leaders in many departments to oversee the team's functions and efficiency. In interviews for these positions, hiring managers may ask certain questions to learn more about your personality, experience and goals as a team leader. If you're preparing to interview for a team leader role, reviewing common interview questions can help you feel confident when speaking with an interviewer. In this article, we list 52 examples of general, background and in-depth team leader interview questions, and we provide some sample answers you can use to craft your own responses.
General team leader interview questions
The hiring manager may begin the interview by asking general team leader interview questions about you and your interest in the position. Common introductory questions include:
Can you tell me about yourself?
What interests you about this position?
What do you know about this company?
What would you say is your greatest strength?
Where do you think you could use the most improvement?
How do you define success?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
How long do you plan to stay at your next job?
What is your ultimate career goal?
What type of work environment do you like?
Do you prefer to work individually or as part of your team?
What are some qualities you have that make you a good team leader?
What is your ideal company culture like?
Are there any famous leaders you admire?
Can you tell me about a challenge you faced and how you overcame it?
Interview questions about experience and background as a team leader
After learning more about you, the interviewer may ask questions about your work history and experience as a team leader. These questions may include:
Did you take any management courses at university?
Have you completed any management certification or training programmes?
Can you tell me about a time you showed leadership skills outside of a leadership position?
What size teams are you comfortable leading?
What type of leader are you?
How do you resolve conflicts between two team members?
What steps do you take to ensure team members are satisfied with their roles?
Do you use a reward or incentive program to encourage productivity?
How do you measure your team's productivity?
What qualities do you look for in a team member?
Can you tell me about a successful project your team completed?
Can you tell me about an unsuccessful project your team completed and how you overcame it?
If you could take part in any professional development programme, which would you choose?
Are there specific training resources or programmes you use to help your team learn new skills?
Are you familiar with using team management software to lead your team?
What do you find most rewarding about being a team leader?
In-depth interview questions for team leaders
In-depth interview questions tell the hiring manager about your proficiency as a team leader to help them determine if you might be suitable for the position. In-depth questions the interviewer may ask you include:
How would you tell a team member they're underperforming?
How do you help your team manage stress?
How would you handle negative feedback from management?
Can you tell me about a time you collaborated with other team leaders to work towards a shared goal?
What's the most difficult situation you've handled as a team member?
Can you tell me about a time you ended a team member's employment and what led to the decision?
Have you ever apologised to your team about a mistake you made?
What's your typical procedure for team meetings?
What are the pros and cons of managing teams remotely?
What are the pros and cons of managing teams in an office setting?
What are some methods you've used to gather feedback from team members?
How do you incorporate your team's feedback into your decision-making process?
Can you describe a time you had to guide your team through a significant change on short notice?
How do you find ways to improve as a team leader?
How do you resolve communication issues among team members?
What skills and credentials do you consider when assigning tasks to team members?
Interview questions with sample answers
Reviewing examples of how an interviewer may answer interview questions can help you create and practise your own responses. Here are some team leader questions and sample answers to help you prepare for your interview:
1. How often do you think an effective team leader should meet with their team?
Part of being an effective team leader is knowing how and when to meet with your team to address concerns, upcoming changes, company news and progress towards goals. It's important to give team members an opportunity to provide their feedback during these meetings, as it can help you make decisions that benefit the team and the company. Hiring managers may ask you this question to learn more about how you interact with your team in meetings.
Example: "I think the frequency of meetings should align with your current projects and goals. It's also helpful to have different types of meetings depending on the situation. For example, if my team is working on a complex project, we have team meetings multiple times per week or even daily, while we may have a meeting once per week otherwise. I also like to plan individual meetings with team members once per month, which gives us the opportunity to provide each other with feedback privately. I also make sure I'm available to meet with team members upon request."
2. How do you help team members adjust to changes in project plans and company processes?
Most business processes are dynamic, and some companies experience frequent changes that can affect teams at all levels. Although these changes can present a challenge, team leaders can help minimise negative effects by preparing team members when possible, considering their ideas and concerns, and taking steps to ensure a smooth transition. Interviewers may ask you about how you help your team adjust because it tells them whether you provide them with an adequate level of support, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
Example: "The first step I take, even before any changes occur, is to communicate consistently with my team. I want them to know that I'm always accessible and am providing as much information when I can. That way, if something changes, they trust that I'll support them through the adjustment period. I also listen to their concerns and address them as quickly and efficiently as possible. I want my team to know I'm there to work with them, not just supervise them."
3. What methods do you use to motivate your team?
Teams sometimes face discouragement or stress, especially during urgent situations like the completion of a project. As a leader, you can motivate team members by communicating with them about their needs, providing them with resources and working alongside them to help them achieve their goals. The methods you use to motivate your team tell a hiring manager about whether you value and support them, which is an important quality for an effective team leader.
Example: "I believe in praise, recognition, rewards and having fun at work. Even when my team works remotely, I think the ability to enjoy yourself at work can make you feel more confident about your strengths, encourage you to improve in other areas and help you understand your value to your team. My team works hard and achieves goals consistently, and I've received feedback about how much a simple email thanking a team member for extra work meant to someone or how a virtual happy hour at the end of a long week helped them relax."
4. Can you tell me about your process for developing team goals?
As a team leader, you have the important role of establishing goals for your team. These may include helping individual team members with personal goals, setting short- and long-term goals for your entire team or working towards goals that contribute to a larger company objective. Your approach to developing team goals tells interviewers about your level of organisation and how you involve your team in creating and achieving important objectives.
Example: "I set four types of goals with my team. We have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals, and we work together to create them. Daily goals typically consist of completing individual tasks, weekly goals involve meeting production requests for our clients, monthly goals involve completing a project stage and yearly goals contribute to the overall mission of the company. We set an annual goal at the beginning of each year, and then we have meetings once per month specifically for setting and monitoring daily, weekly and monthly goals."
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