Six interview questions that reveal true leadership potential

Dianna Howell proposes a few odd interview questions that might glean more truth than you think.

During the hiring process, most candidates are so nervous that they lose their focus and forget to emphasise emotional intelligence. This is just as important as any other skill. In jobs where employees interact with a wide range of people, emotional intelligence is critical.

Not only the IQ and their professional skills matter when interviewing new candidates. EQ (emotional intelligence) may be even more valuable than IQ.

While attending a job interview, you will be asked different questions meant to test your focus, abilities, and imagination. However, there are some which will reveal whether you have leadership potential. Here’s a list of this type of question to help to prepare for your next interview. 

What is your spirit animal?

Even if this may sound like a weird question, it’s one to test your imagination. It is possible to have never thought about this before and you would certainly need some time to think. However, you may be in doubt about what a suitable answer may look like.

Should you say that your spirit animal is one that you love, like dog or cat, or one that has similar skills as you do? That is why the question is pretty tricky. To be an ideal candidate, your spirit animal should have the same character traits as the job you have applied for requires. 

Reveal your competitive spirit and your managing abilities, leading your team towards success.

What is your favorite restaurant?

You may think this question makes no sense since you are not there to get to know each other better personally. Well, you may be wrong. Food is a very important part of culture. Therefore, when they learn about your preferred food, they actually want to find out whether you respect culture or not.

In this way, the interviewer assesses if you will be able to obey their company’s culture. You have to connect with the rest of the employees in the company at a personal level. Some of your personal experiences and choices define who you are and how you will be like if you become an employee of the company.

Tell me a joke

Another eccentric question that some interviewer prefers to ask. How will a joke determine whether you are a suitable candidate or not. Even if you may find this useless and even panic because you are so nervous that you can’t remember one, the interviewer will be curious about your reaction.

Furthermore, this question is also meant to help you relax, feeling comfortable and being able to refocus. This is the interviewer’s way to break the ice and help you shake all your worries. Every interviewer would hire a spontaneous person who knows how to be authentic.

What is your story?

At this point, you do not really know what to say. Is the interviewer referring to your personal story, your life story or your professional one? This is an open-ended question and it may seem intimidating for a candidate.


The key is not to worry about which is the right answer. Try to introduce some details about yourself that were not stated in the resume. In this way, the interviewer will be surprised by your creativity and imagination since the answer to this question tells a lot about yourself.

Tell me about a day when everything went wrong

This question is not meant to discourage you, even if may sound like it. The interviewer may ask you this question to test your emotional intelligence. In doing this, they will learn how you managed to solve all the problems and end the day.

If proving that you are a tempered, calm person, carefully analysing every problem and taking it one step at the time, they will really appreciate this. This will show them that you work well under stressful situations and you are able to cope with challenges.

How would you help your team function if priorities change?

Through this question, the interviewer will be able to test your teamwork skills and emotional intelligence. It will also help to show how you cope with stressful situations and whether you have management skills or not.

Helping the whole team change their business priorities may not be easy. You have to be flexible and empathic. Furthermore, you need to be able to adapt to those changes first in order to serve as a model for them.


You will be able to ace any job interview, proving that you have leadership potential. The interviewer will try to test whether you are able to work both alone and in a team. Reveal your competitive spirit and your managing abilities, leading your team towards success. Make sure to be honest and try to be as imaginative and honest as you can when answering this type of questions.


About the author

Dianna Howell is a freelance writer for


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