You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. As you prepare for this question, picture a few scenarios that have occurred in your current or previous position. Maybe you are encouraging and motivating to your co-workers when they are having a bad day. Think about some of the qualities you enjoy in a co-worker, like their flexibility, positive attitude or their ability to lead by example!
"My last manager and I had a close relationship. She appreciated all of my efforts when it came to working overtime and taking my work home when required. I believe she would describe me as unique, reliable and energetic."
Making decisions under pressure will always be tough, especially when you have a team under you. As a leader, you are expected to make wise choices for the good of the team and the company. Express your thought process by explaining the factors you consider when making an important decision. Think about how you weigh the pros and cons. If you need to do further research or talk to a manager for a second opinion, explain why. The interviewer wants to understand your thought process to see if you would be a good fit for the team. List three different factors you consider when making the decision.
"When making difficult decisions, I first figure out who this affects, and what the possible repercussions are. Then, I research to see if this problem has been solved successfully, within the company before. Leaning on previous cases from other leaders can be very helpful as a leader."
This question is similar to "Why should I hire you," and gives you a chance to toot your horn. The most important thing you can express at this point in the interview is that you are unique and have the qualities that will enhance any team you work on. How will you do this? Share your past accomplishments related to what you will be doing in this new role. Talk about how you took a more innovative approach to problem-solving and how you supported your team under pressure. Think of qualities that make you an asset, someone they cannot live without!
"Why should I hire you,"
You may be full of great ideas, but making them happen is a whole other ballgame. You may have come up with a plan to save the company money or noticed a problem and came up with a solution. Give an example and be specific about what you did and how it impacted the company. It doesn't need to be dramatic! Think about the little things you have done that have helped boost employee morale or made a difference on your team!
"I noticed that the company was throwing away glass bottles and paper products, so I suggested they start recycling. I talked with the CEO and announced the plastic bins I put out in the copy room and cubicles. Everyone was happy that I made the suggestion and took action to make it happen!"
If you are interviewing for a call center type of role, chances are you will need to be open to working a variety of shifts. When you start a new job, you need to be upfront when it comes to the schedule you're willing to work. Don't let this question catch you off guard! Ask discovery questions, or ask to see a sample schedule if appropriate. Interviews are an excellent time to uncover what is truly expected of you. If you're not sure what type of schedule they will want you to work, then you need to ask! Or make a note to ask about it at the end of the interviewer. Use your best judgment!
"If you need me to work extra hours or be flexible to work different shifts, I am willing to do it! I'm comfortable working longer hours as needed. Do you have a sample schedule that I could see?"
Even some of the best managers have that one annoying thing they do that drives you up the wall. Whether they speak condescendingly when giving you feedback or they just don't wash their dishes in the break room, managers can be challenging to deal with at times. By merely being relaxed and flexible, you don't let anything get you down. Talk about how you can brush off people's quirks and stay focused on the task at hand.
"I'm pretty relaxed about the little things and wouldn't let it get to me. I try to stay focused on my work and pay little attention to those type of annoyances."
American Express wants individuals who strive for success and also those who are motivated and goal-oriented. They also want people who are impressed with what the company has to offer. American Express is recognized as one of the best multinational places to work, which means you have a fantastic opportunity in front of you! We cannot stress enough the importance of doing your homework on the company. Researching them online will help you uncover what employees are saying and help you learn about their reputation. Talk about how you were impressed to find out how much they care about their employees by helping them achieve their goals. It always helps to talk about how much you want to grow personally and professionally and to identify precisely how the company will help you achieve your goals. You may not know exactly how it will happen, but through finding out the values of the company, you have a much better picture. Integrity, respect, and quality are among a list of values you can find on their website's careers page. Do your research, and you will find out how amazing the company indeed is!
"I want to work for American Express because you are the undeniable giant and leader in the financial world. Amex is a billion-dollar business, and there are endless skills that I will gain from a career here, not to mention the notable reputation you have for building your staff to be the best of the best in the multinational financial services industry."
When it's crunch time, your to-do list seems never-ending and your boss lets you know he needs another report done by the end of the day, it may be tempting to throw in the towel. It's important to remember what will keep you motivated in those overwhelming times. Here's a list of some ways to stay positive and keep going under pressure: 1) Read inspirational quotes - Keep them on your desk or search words of wisdom from inspiring people! 2) Console a co-worker - Friends at work can be a source of encouragement and sometimes they can even help you carry the load when you're feeling overwhelmed. 3) Set goals - staying focused on reaching a specific purpose or completing a project will help you keep going. And it shows how ambitious you are!
"What motivates me is the idea that my work makes a difference in the lives of others. I am inspired by stories of how people change the course of their life by participating in physical activity and training harder."
Regardless of how reasonable or accurate the observation may be, think before you speak. Be humble and don't take it personally. Depending on who the criticism is coming from, you will want to approach it differently. If it's coming from your boss, you will want to respond respectfully, saying something like, "I appreciate the feedback. Now I know how I can improve next time." If it's coming from a customer, you may want to tell them, "I am so glad you noticed! I'll make the changes right away." You may have a similar response to anyone's critical comments, but the key is to stay calm and never express frustration towards the person. Give an example where you stayed professional when someone gave you negative feedback. If there was something you needed to change, you responded promptly: "I completely understand where you're coming from. I'll care of it right away!"
"I appreciate the feedback. Now I know how I can improve next time."
Now is a time to show off how your skills and traits will make a difference on your new team. Consider answering this question by demonstrating how you have proven yourself in your past roles. For example, you could say, "My communication skills always help me get along with my team, no matter the challenge. I am a good listener, staying positive under pressure." You may also have mad organizational skills to keep confidential information secure and accurate, a beneficial quality to support any team. Keep your strengths and examples relevant to what you may be expected to accomplish in this new role. Remember, you have so much to offer!
"My communication skills always help me get along with my team, no matter the challenge. I am a good listener, staying positive under pressure."
Even if you were the top performer at your last job, you still have something to prove when you start working with a new team. It takes time to establish new co-working relationships and even more time to show you have what it takes. However, there are a few things you can do to help facilitate the process. First, make an effort! Not just in your new role, but in your relationships with co-workers. Ask the guy in the cubicle next to you to have lunch with you. Ask people questions about how things work and what they like about the company so far.
"I plan to get to know those on my team and prove to them, through my actions, that they can trust me to have their interests, and the interest of the company, top of mind. All of the colleagues I have worked with have shared a very respectful relationship with me. We have similar goals, and we exchange knowledge to accomplish those things to the best we can. Each of us has a part in the company's success, and we utilize communication to make it happen."
As a general rule of thumb, when an interviewer asks you about how you deal with conflict, focus your example on the solution rather than the problem. Let's say you were working on a group project and you had a disagreement with someone on your team. Explain the steps you took to work through it. Taking a thoughtful approach by listening to the opinions of others first is always a good place to start! Show that you took the initiative and stayed calm to resolve the situation!
"After much discussion with the group over a controversial topic, I suggested we come to a compromise. I wrote down on a whiteboard the pros and cons of some of our ideas to help us see what our options were to solve the problem."
Overcoming challenges show you have perseverance and determination. It shows you can accomplish goals even in the midst of trying circumstances. Think about the obstacles and challenges you have gotten through to make it to where you are! Maybe you took on a severe course load your first year in college. Or perhaps you were asked to give your first presentation with little time to prepare. Once you identify the challenge, talk about what you did to overcome it. Focus on the lengths you took to make sure you finished your semester strong or how you researched and practiced to make sure you nailed the presentation. Remember, there's no right or wrong answer. Just give an example that shows off your skills and instills confidence that you will continue to overcome obstacles in the future!
"One of the biggest challenges that I have faced, and one of my proudest accomplishments, was working my way through University and graduating with my Bachelor's Degree in Finance with zero debt. I did well in school and tried so hard - something that I am incredibly proud of."
Before answering this question, take a look at the American Express "career" page to discover the qualities they are looking for in individuals. By using some of these traits as a guideline, think of some of the people who have inspired you, embodying some of these very same characteristics. Inspirational people motivate us to keep going when we feel like giving up. They are passionate and driven, accomplishing goals that seem impossible, starting new ventures with new ideas that change the way we view the world. You can talk about a mentor, family member or even a celebrity who has inspired you in your career.
American Express values individuals who are willing to take risks. You can't grow if you're not willing to risk getting outside of your comfort zone! A risk for you may have been changing careers after working in the same job for ten years. Or maybe you interviewed for a promotion even though you knew it was going to be highly competitive. Sometimes you have to take a risk by trusting your judgment when a supervisor is not available and solving the problem in the way you know best. Talk about the results, what you learned and how you have grown from your experience. Give an example that shows you use your best judgment and take calculated risks, even when you have to think on your feet!
"One of the greatest risks I have taken in my career was to jump from staffing into the finance world. I wanted to be in a role that included more strategic numbers but still had a sales component. I made that leap about five years ago and had never looked back!"
Integrity is one of the values of American Express. Integrity is defined as being honest with moral principals. You can prove your trustworthiness in an example that shows a manager entrusted you with the responsibility of value, like managing money or an important client. Often a person will be given specific procedures to follow when they begin a new job, and there can be the temptation to get lazy and do things 'the easy way' as they get more comfortable. A person with integrity will continue to follow procedures as expected, even when no one is looking. Give an example that speaks from your experience.
"Integrity is fundamental to me. I was once given credit for a report that I did not create. I did present the report, but one of my staff members had put it together for me. I made sure to show thanks for the compliment and alert everyone to its creator. I took my subordinate out to lunch later for making me look good."
Working in a busy environment, you can anticipate a fair share of stress. Try not to worry about it. Taking action and learning to prevent it whenever possible helps! Can you prevent stress, you ask? Well, yes! You can learn how to adapt to a changing environment, angry customers by controlling your response to stress. Sometimes you can't plan out your week entirely, but you can at least learn how to predict some of the changes that occur after being in a job for a little while. You can also practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, take short walks during your breaks and use tools like meditation to help you stay calm throughout the day. All of these are preventative actions that will help you to keep calm and carry on!
"At my last job I use to get stressed out on Mondays because our morning meetings would last so long it cut into my work day, and I set me back for the rest of the week. I started preparing on Sundays, checking my emails and arranging my schedule so that I could fit everything in without having to work overtime."
Some customers take going above and beyond to a whole new level! Picture shopping in a retail store with the sales associate running around trying everything they can to help a customer who can't make up their mind. Or maybe a customer called you with a complaint about their credit card, and you did everything you could to resolve the issue, even offering them additional perks, but they still weren't happy. These are the types of situations that will test your patience and your sanity! Show you can think outside of the box. Talk about your problem-solving skills to show that you are committed to satisfying the customer whatever the situation.
"I always take time to listen to the customer's needs. When I offer a service, and the customer turns it down, I get creative. I might talk to a co-worker or a manager to come up with another solution if I have tried everything I can think of. I have also been able to negotiate at times to give them something that I generally couldn't offer others."
After so many hours on hold with the cell phone company and no resolution, it can be challenging to think of an example of excellent customer service. However, with all of the services you use and shopping you do, the opportunities are plentiful! Excellent customer service means merely keeping a positive attitude and taking care of your customer's needs by going a little bit above and beyond expectation. Define what customer service means to you and think of some examples before your interview.
"I was at the bank recently, and the line was incredibly long. Customers were beginning to get impatient. Right before the bank teller helped me they had assisted several unhappy customers who were all in a hurry. The teller was extremely kind, patient and even asked me about my day. I was impressed that they maintained such a great attitude!"
American Express has changed drastically over the years to adapt to the evolving needs of their customers. They value individuals on their team who can handle change to keep up with their customers and their latest innovations. Think of when there was a change in management, policy, responsibilities or your schedule. Focus on how you responded to the change. No matter how messy or complicated, the only thing you could control in the situation was you, so talk about how you grew and how you stayed calm during the shifting of your environment.
"I was working on a project with a strict deadline and just a week before it was due I was asked to help out with a presentation since one of my co-workers had fallen ill. At first, I was nervous about getting everything done. After I made adjustments to my schedule to fit everything in and gave myself some pep talks to get motivated, I was able to make it all work!"
As a company that provides travel rewards to their card members, American Express values travel. They also are curious about you, what you like and how you will fit with the team. Take a moment to dream about where you would go if money were not an option. There is no wrong answer!
"I would go to Greece because I have always been interested in the culture, history and the food. I haven't traveled as much as I would like to, but I love learning about new people and experiencing another culture."
The American Express Company, also known as Amex, is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan's Three World Financial Center in New York City, United States. Founded in 1850, it is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is best known for its credit card, charge card, and traveler's cheque businesses. Amex cards account for approximately 24% of the total dollar volume of credit card transactions in the US.
BusinessWeek and Interbrand ranked American Express as the 22nd most valuable brand in the world, estimating the brand to be worth US$14.97 billion. Fortune listed Amex as one of the top 20 Most Admired Companies in the World.
The company's logo, adopted in 1958, is a Centurion whose image appears on the company's travelers' cheques, charge cards and credit cards.