How to identify what the interviewing team lead is really looking for?

After your HR round, if you make a good impression on the HR, you shall be having an interview with the future Team Lead. This is the most critical interview in the whole process - your team lead will be the final decision-maker!

Therefore it is important that you make the best of these 30-45 mins and leave such an impact, that he goes back saying that he wants you and no one else!

For this, you need to understand him and his motivation, and background and understand what he is saying and asking for. Not just listen, but understand.

A team lead always will prefer a candidate with the following qualities. Accordingly, you need to be able to present yourself along these points well. This is a basic prerequisite, to demonstrate and convince him on these points!

  • Competent

  • Independent & Responsible

  • Enthusiastic

  • Professional

In addition, he has some strategic needs he needs to fulfill, which is why he is hiring you. Once the conversation has crossed the point where the basic introductions are over, he will start diving into the questions where he is trying to verify if you are the right candidate to help him meet his strategic objectives! For this, he can ask you technical and problem-oriented questions and will evaluate your solution hypothesis and decision-making style. Here, it is important to pay attention to the keywords being used by him and the kind of information he shares about the role. Accordingly, you need to adapt your answers to his questions.

As an example, in my most recent interview with my current manager - I sensed that he was trying to determine the three following things in various ways -

  1. What type of customer contact had I had

  2. If I was ready to do tasks which do not always limit to those within the job contract

  3. Do I have the Do what it takes attitude?

Since I could decode this from his communication, I realized that my answers should be actually answering these questions of his. And therefore, even though I might not have been the best-suited candidate from the applicant pool since I came from another sector and was applying for a Sales role in a foreign language in a conservative industry - I still got past 100 other candidates and cracked the interview!

So, to summarize - think of your lead as someone trying to fulfill his professional goals and targets by employing you - and ask yourself how can you project yourself to be the right person to help him meet his objectives. Easy as that!

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