Student Leadership Interview Questions

Dr. Matthew Arau • Leadership TipsMay 2024 • May 5, 2024

The end of this school year is near, and it’s the perfect time for the selection of next year’s student leadership team. During the application or audition process, I encourage educators to include a peer-teaching component, an essay application, a performance element, and an interview. If you have already completed your auditions, you can still use these questions to engage in meaningful conversation and decision-making with your current leadership team. 

Here are five student leadership interview questions to spark thoughtful discussion.

1. Why do you want to be a student leader? – Discovering what is driving a student to apply to be a leader is essential. Be cautious when a student’s motivations revolve around the benefits to themselves such as a resume builder or the “power” to tell other students what to do. Look for students who want to serve, uplift, and elevate their peers through role-modeling and encouragement.
2. How do you hope to positively impact your section and the music ensemble? – This is a leading question that guides the students toward thinking about being a positive influence. Students get to share how they can make a significant difference through their leadership. Look for students who recognize leadership comes from within and their attitude, what they say, how they say it, and what they do makes a difference.

3. What are the habits, qualities, and attributes of a leader that you admire or look up to? How do you hope to emulate these same qualities as a leader? – This is an enlightening question as what the students see as admirable qualities in others are often reflections of their own characteristics and potential. Observe how a student lights up when they talk about another student leader, an adult in their life, or historical figure. The follow up question allows the student to visualize themselves as a leader who will make a positive impact.

4. How do you motivate students who are not as motivated or excited as you are? – This is an important question because not everyone in the group will be as driven as students who are applying to be student leaders. Students are often more motivated by their peers than the teacher or another adult so their responses to this question will be key. Look for students who emphasize the importance of building connections, trust, and friendships with the students, noting the leadership adage, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

5. How will you build connections, trust, and strengthen community as a student leader? – Creating a safe place for students to thrive and grow is a primary responsibility of a student leader. For some students, taking the first step to reach out and connect with another student is outside of their comfort zone. Nevertheless, building trust and strengthening community are essential for a successful musical organization.

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