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In some interviews, especially panel interviews, you'll have an opportunity to meet and talk with people you might eventually work with. This is intended to help all parties determine if you'll be a good fit in the workplace. Consequently, some of the people interviewing you may eventually be staffers who report to you. This is a good opportunity for you to demonstrate the type of leader you'll be.
Address questions from potential employees frankly, honestly and with respect. Don't use a condescending tone or talk down to them. Respond to questions with phrases like, “That's a really good point,” or, “Great question,” or, “I'm glad you brought that up, because I think it's an important issue.” This approach shows potential staffers that you’d be the type of boss to solicit feedback, give credit and take employee input seriously.
Potential employees might ask you questions about your management or leadership style. Respond in a way that shows you’re open and inclusive. Describe how you tackle project planning, work assignments, brainstorming, and how you manage conflict and handle employee relations. The staffers on the interview panel need to see you as someone they could potentially like, respect and be happy working for. Invite them to ask you questions about your past work experiences, your professional philosophy, or even your hobbies and interests. This provides a well-rounded picture of you, both as a person and as a potential manager.
Respond to questions from a team-centered place, using words like, “we,” “us,” and, “together” when describing your management style. Let employees know you’re dedicated to helping them advance in their careers and professionally challenge themselves in a positive and collaborative environment. This approach simultaneously demonstrates to decision makers on the panel that you’re focused on your work product as well as staff development and morale.
Direct questions to your potential future employees and draw them into a back-and-forth conversation. For example, ask what they want to see in a manager, or what traits they feel are important for company leaders to possess. Say things like, “How can I help you meet your professional goals and objectives?” or, “How can I be an effective manager for you?” This sets you apart as someone professional, yet caring, who isn’t just looking for a job, but is interested in being part of a high-functioning and effective team.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.