One of the things you learn when you get older is that high school doesn’t matter. It seems like a huge deal at the time – and certainly you learn a lot about life – but in the end, most people completely forget high school, completely change their personality, and completely could not give a damn if they were a jock, a nerd, a goth, etc.
So whether or not you were a leader or a follower in high school is not applicable here. Your answer should not be about what you were. Your answer shouldn’t even be about what you are. Your answer should be about what you will be.
How to Answer
Both options have negative connotations:
- Follower – Someone that can’t think for themselves or take charge when needed.
- Leader – Someone that can’t take orders.
So, as usual when both options sound negative, you need to combine a little of both. Lean your answer towards what the position expects. If it is an entry level job, don’t focus too heavily on being a leader. If it is a management job prepare to answer the most common management questions and focus less on being a follower.
“I am a leader. I take charge of whatever room I am in, and I command attention and do a great job delegating tasks.”
“I adapt my style to the position I am in. When a group needs a leader, I gladly take on that role, but at the entry level, I know that there is a lot I need to learn, and I am happy to take direction from those with more knowledge and a better sense of the overall picture.”
You can see how that answer is better, especially for entry level jobs. Anyone can say they are a leader or a follower, and both have their benefits and weaknesses. The best answers are going to combine a little bit of both, with a logical justification.
Take Away Interview Tips
- You are a leader.
- You are a follower.
- You are more of whichever one is necessary for the job.