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Team Leader Interview Questions

Illustration of a team leader, an individual helping another individual up a step to show their leadership. Text reads:
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Team leaders manage groups of employees. As a mid- to senior-level role, team leader duties and responsibilities typically include setting team workloads, monitoring employee performance, motivating team members to perform their best and communicating goals and deadlines.

When hiring a team leader, look for ​​strong leadership skills, excellent communication skills, conflict management and resolution skills and approachability. Great candidates for your team leader role may also have integrity and humility and the ability to innovate and inspire.

Ask 5-10 of the following interview questions to get a better sense of a candidate’s leadership skills and experience.


  1. How do you determine if a task or project is at risk? See answer
  2. What do you do if there’s a disagreement within your team? See answer
  3. Are there similarities between being a team leader and a coach? See answer
  4. What metrics do you use to evaluate team performance? See answer
  5. How do you interview prospective team members? See answer
  6. Describe your leadership style. See answer
  7. Are you an extrovert?
  8. How do you go about building rapport with your team?
  9. Describe your past supervisory experience.
  10. Are you comfortable supervising a large team?
  11. How would past coworkers and team members describe you?
  12. What are your preferred methods of team communication?
  13. Can you describe a past experience in which you helped your team complete a successful project?
  14. How do you choose who gets which tasks on the team?
  15. Do you think competition within your team is good or bad?
  16. Describe your performance review process.
  17. Are you comfortable running an incentive program to motivate your team members?
  18. What is the best method for managing multiple tasks at once?
  19. How would you handle a team member who publicly disagreed with you?
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6 Team Leader Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How do you determine if a task or project is at risk?

A:

Team leaders have a responsibility to communicate team goals. They must ensure work is completed by the deadline and at the quality level that’s expected by upper management and customers. This question lets you see how applicants monitor tasks and projects, identify issues and make certain the team is helping the company achieve its main goals. What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s ability to communicate expectations and collaborate with team members
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Management style
Example:

“First, I communicate work expectations clearly to team members, being sure to highlight everything that’s been communicated to me from managers and executives. This reduces the chance of failure. Second, throughout a task or project, I monitor key performance indicators to see if the team is on schedule, within budget and producing quality work. I also ask that team members maintain constant communication with me throughout the project. This allows me to anticipate and identify problems before they arise and reduce any negative effects.”

Q:

What do you do if there’s a disagreement within your team?

A:

The success of a team often depends on the ability of its leaders to get everyone working together towards a common goal. A lack of unity can lead to failure. With this question, you can gain an understanding of how the applicant would handle the situation successfully and move the team in a positive direction. What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s decision-making and problem-solving approach
  • Conflict management and resolution skills
  • Opinion on the value of teamwork
Example:

“Disagreements can happen, especially when people have strong opinions over the way a task should be done. I would first ask the team members to take a step back. I would then lead a team discussion so that we can all understand each other’s point of view. If appropriate, I would negotiate a compromise that would put the team in the best position for success. If there is clearly a right way to handle the situation, I will explain why we’re choosing one solution over the other.”

Q:

Are there similarities between being a team leader and a coach?

A:

Great team leaders don’t simply dictate work be done from their office. They encourage team members, provide feedback and offer skills development. They’re similar to great sports coaches. This question can show you how applicants view leadership and implement their style. What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s leadership capability and style
  • Commitment to developing team members
  • Ability to provide constructive criticism
Example:

“I do not employ a top-down leadership style because I believe a leader should act like a supportive coach. I give my team members space to unleash their talent while providing constructive feedback, regular performance reviews and training sessions. I aim to run an open, transparent and honest operation. My goal is to know employees well so I can help them grow and improve. This is how the team wins.”

Q:

What metrics do you use to evaluate team performance?

A:

Team leaders are not just expected to generate and share detailed performance reports with the team and company management. They should also know how to use data-driven insights to boost team efficiency. Look for answers that show a team leader won’t rely on instinct to make decisions but rather will examine the numbers to determine the best solutions and changes to increase performance. What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s method for improving team performance
  • Knowledge of performance metrics
  • Opinion of data-driven approaches
Example:

“Given all the data we have today, it’s essential that team leaders analyze and extract insights from that data to increase effectiveness. My opinion is that the metrics a team focuses on should strongly link to a company’s strategic objectives. In a general sense, I always look at quantity, quality and time. For instance, to measure the quality of work, it’s important to look at the number of errors and customer satisfaction. Another thing I measure is employee morale and engagement because those can make or break a team.”

Q:

How do you interview prospective team members?

A:

Many companies ask team leaders to participate in the interview process for applicants to their team. Since team leaders are so close to the front line, management values their input. Look for answers that clearly illustrate what the applicant values in team members. What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s view on the skills and characteristics a team needs
  • Ability to interview and identify talented workers
  • Opinion on the importance of team culture
Example:

“As a team leader, I aim to build a superstar team, not just a team of superstars. I make sure applicants have the necessary hard skills but also look at important soft skills, such as written and oral communication, logical thinking, adaptability, attention to detail and reliability. In addition to questions to check experience and credentials, I would ask behavioral, competency and opinion questions during the interview, as well as a brain teaser or two.”

Q:

Describe your leadership style.

A:

When you hire a team leader for your business, you want to ensure they have a strategy in place for overseeing their employees. Many team leaders subscribe to a specific leadership style, while others create their own with clear and effective tenants of their own choosing. Regardless of what leadership style your potential candidates employ, the candidate should be able to clearly explain it to you. Look for an answer with these qualities:

  • Describes a specific leadership style or strategy
  • Provides evidence of success
  • Highlights values that align with your company
A quality answer from a candidate might resemble this example:
Example:

"I tend to lean towards a democratic leadership style when establishing a new team. After a few months, I become a bit more laissez-faire in my leadership style as my employees become more accomplished in their roles. I've found in my past experience that most employees do best when you get out of the way and give them the space they need to do their work independently. I'm always present, however, and implement regular check-ins, both formal and informal, to ensure my team has all the support and resources they need. Knowing a bit about your company culture, I think this approach will work well. The innovative and creativity driven culture fits well with my leadership style."

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