Interview Techniques for Motivation, Leadership, and Presentation Questions

What's on this Page?

  • Interview techniques for questions about motivation, loyalty, and presentation
  • Possible interview questions on those topics
  • My comments for each question
  • Two possible answers for each question

Interview Techniques for Motivation, Leadership, and Presentation Questions

These three categories of questions are important for different kinds of jobs. Some jobs won't require leadership or presentation, but many will. It's a good idea to take a look at the questions even if you are applying for a job that doesn't necessarily call for those kinds of skills.

Describe a time when you had to persuade or motivate someone to do something they did not want to do?

My Comments: This doesn't have to be related to working, although it might be better to use an example from work if you have one. If not, think of something from your personal life when you've persuaded someone else. More interview techniques below.

My Example #1: At my last job I was working with a man who was very logical and unemotional. Not that he wasn't a nice man, or pleasant to work with, but I tend to be so social and I rely a lot on my intuition. Anyway, I really wanted to have some music playing in our open office area but he was flat out against it. At first I tried telling him how fun it would be to have music, and how much everyone would enjoy it and how it would lighten the atmosphere, but he was having none of it. Then I realized I was approaching it from the wrong point of view. I was giving him all the reasons I personally wanted music. So I compiled a bunch of research proving how certain types of music stimulate brain function and heighten productivity in an office environment. I also created a tentative music "schedule" with different styles of music rotating through based on everyone's personal preference. After seeing my research, and making a few minor modifications to my schedule he approved my music plan.

My Example #2: Last year my old high school received a very generous donation from a former student with no specifications for how the money was to be spent. Of course, every teacher wanted a slice of it for their own pet department, and some of the alumni, like myself, had their own ideas for how it should be spent. I wanted to replace all the old textbooks with kindle-like technology that would allow students to access all their textbooks as well as submit assignments each with their own device. Each student would be assigned a device when they entered the school their freshmen year, and then could keep it upon graduation their senior year. This encouraged the students to keep their devices in top shape, and ensure that, so long as the student had his device with him, he would be able to access all his textbooks and homework at all times. There were many objections to my proposal, which I won't get into now, but after showing the school how much more convenient these devices are, and how they might actually save money from not buying paper copies of textbooks, and how not using so much paper, both from textbooks and assignments, would reduce the cost to the environment, they eventually adopted my proposal. Now every student at my old school carries, not a heavy backpack full of books and assignments, but a neat kindle-like device to and from school.

What motivates you to succeed?

My Comments: It's ok to have more than one thing that motivates you. It's ok to be honest and say that you are motivated by money, but at least have some other things that motivate you as well, so you don't come off as greedy. More interview techniques below.

My Example #1: Many things motivate me to succeed. Of course, I like getting paid more. Who isn't motivated, at least partially, by money, after all? But I also seek the approval of my superiors, as well as my co-workers. And I am motivated by my own quest for excellence. I love to see a job done and done well!

My Example #2: I make lists to motivate myself. Nothing gets me more motivated than a list only partially checked off. I accomplish enormous tasks when I am organized.

What approach do you take in getting departments or individuals to accept your ideas or department goals?

My Comments: Simple leadership question. How do you get people to follow you? More interview techniques below.

My Example #1: I try to think about what they are looking for rather than what I am looking for. Maybe I want this proposal to succeed because it will benefit me or my career or it will help further one of my ongoing projects, but my boss will be seeing how it will benefit him or his employees or his work. Once I've established what he wants, I start building my proposal from there.

My Example #2: I always dress up my proposals as fancy as I can get them. I create handouts which I enclose in individual binders with a professional looking cover page. I don't just make a Power-Point presentation, I design a presentation and make it concise but also emphasizing the points that will benefit those hearing it. When I go make the proposal I take special care in my appearance. I dress more professionally than I normally might. I also usually bring some kind of snack food and drink to the presentation. You might be surprised how much the appearance of professionalism, and, well... food, will sway a committee.

Do you feel you work more effectively on a one-to-one basis or in a group situation?

My Comments: Either one is probably fine, but emphasize that you can do both. Also, refrain from saying why you don't like the other one. Just say the reasons why you prefer the one you chose. More interview techniques below.

My Example #1: I work well either way, but if I had to choose I would probably prefer to work one-on-one. I like how when two people are working together things tend to move quickly. You can get an idea about a person's motivations and their reservations and thus work more effectively with them.

My Example #2: Although I work well in either situation, I would probably prefer working in a group. In a group there are so many ideas and fresh perspectives. A group discussion helps refine an idea and come up with fresh ways to implement the idea. I find group discussions help me think things all the way through better than I might do on my own.

Would you rather write a report or give a verbal report?

My Comments: Whichever you prefer is usually alright, just be sure to emphasize that although you prefer one or the other, you are capable of both. Also, refrain from telling why you don't prefer the other. Simply say why you like the one you chose. Links to more interview techniques below.

My Example #1: Although I am capable of both, I prefer giving verbal reports. I like being able to gage how my "audience" is receiving my message. Also being in front of people inspires me and I can get a better feel for which parts I need to emphasize more.

My Example #2: Although I am capable of both, I prefer written reports. I prefer to be able to pause and think about what I'm going to say, or have the time to revise as much as necessary before the final product is put into the hands of those receiving it.

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