Updated on August 22nd, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
How do you handle stress?
How to Answer
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How to Answer
Any situation can be stressful when it's crunch time, and you have customers or even a manager breathing down your neck. Think of a time where you produced your best work under pressure. You can also consider a particular job that was high-stress. You can share tips that helped you navigate a specific situation to give the interviewer a concrete example. Don't worry! You got this!
"When I was working my first sales job, I was under a lot of pressure to meet monthly and quarterly goals. I made the most of every customer transaction and referral to make sure I met my goals. When I felt stressed, I just made a list of what I could do in that situation and talked to coworkers for encouragement."
Let's face it. We all have things that we need to do but don't want to do. Interviewers want to know that you will still get the job done even when you aren't excited about it. Some find it helpful to start the day with affirmations or to read motivational quotes. Using a specific example will help paint a picture for the interviewer, much more evident than merely listing helpful tools.
"I have a healthy competitive edge, even if its a personal competition. For me, I am excited and motivated by winning; whether that be winning over a new client, exceeding my KPI's or being recognized for a job well done. I am also motivated and energized by great teamwork."
BMO wants to hear that you don't hide or ignore your mistakes. They are a company that knows how to improve and grow based on learning from past failures. How do you think they have been so successful?! Of course, it's difficult to come up with a good example, but you can do it if you plan! This question is where interview preparation is essential!
Just remember, the interviewer isn't worried about whether you will fail again. They're not looking for faults. The interviewer just wants to find out how you will handle failure since it is sometimes unavoidable! Think about a situation that occurred, at work, school or when volunteering that you regret. What do you wish you could have done differently? Think about what you learned.
Another way to think about this question is to reflect on your most significant learning experience. Sometimes lousy planning can get us into emergency situations, like not looking at a map and getting lost in the middle of nowhere, or not studying for a test that we thought would be much easier than expected! Keep it simple, and focus on how you grew from the experience!
"I failed a statistics exam in my first year of University. I was embarrassed and felt like a huge failure. However, rather than give up, I hired a tutor and asked for a re-do of the exam. Luckily my professor agreed, and I passed with a very respectable grade. Sometimes, when it doesn't come naturally, we need to take some extra steps and try harder than normal to succeed."
Speak with confidence! After all of your research and introspection, you are finally ready to tackle one of the toughest questions of all! Now is a time to make that final push to remind the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the position. You can touch on topics you brought up before, like strengths and examples of your dependability or accuracy. You have the qualities and experience for which BMO is looking. You are a customer service expert who is a fast learner and a joy to work with! Relax. You got this!
"I am reliable, motivated and focused. I have proven that I work well with others, collaborating with teams and staying positive in times of challenge. I am flexible and a fast learner. You can depend on me to get the job done!"
Now the interviewer wants to see if you have done your research! We strongly encourage you to review the Bank of Montreal website. They want to attract the right candidates, and they want them to be prepared! BMO is so thorough; they even provided a guide for candidates to help them prepare for their interview! We highly encourage you to spend some time on their "Careers" page, but we'll also share a little bit of insight to help you get started.
First, they are a global company, which comes with its perks like a structured work environment with insurance benefits and paid time off. Second, they are a growing company. There is always room for advancement when you work for a company so large! Lastly, they are innovators in their industry. This means they are considered the best bank for the Canadian dollar for the past six years in a row! All arrows point to a bright future if you work for them. So dig up the details to find out the other positive perks of working there!
Community Answers with Professional Feedback
"Bank of Montreal is one of the largest banks in Canada. It offers a wide range of products and services ranging from commercial and personal banking to investment services."
Rachelle Enns' Professional Opinion:
This information is pretty basic, and will be the 'typical' candidate answer. If you want to stand out, add in some details on new BMO products. This way, the interviewer will see that you did more than read their home page, but that you actually dug for some solid information.
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6. Describe a time when your work was criticised. Negative feedback will never be easy to hear. Just follow these simple steps to help you keep your head on your shoulders and think constructively!
1) Don't take anything personally
3) Humbly respond
Give an example of a time you received criticism from a co-worker, boss or a customer. Talk about how you listened and responded by taking action without letting your emotions get in the way. Focus on how your response marked a significant improvement in your performance, your work, or the customer experience. Your positive reaction to criticism will show the interviewer that you learn from your mistakes and move forward with this new knowledge. Here is an answer example: "My supervisor pulled me aside one day to tell me he was concerned because I hadn't been smiling as much as usual. He told me he needed to step up my game and show a little more enthusiasm. I'm glad he told me! I want customers to have the best experience when they come into our branch, and I didn't realize how I was coming across. I made an extra effort to have a positive attitude towards customers. After just a week we received feedback from two customers who praised me for my excellent customer service!"7. What was your most rewarding experience working with a team? You can use an example from a group project or a sports team you played on if you have little experience in the professional world. Think about how you collaborated, whether you shared ideas and motivated each other, or maybe you critiqued each other's work to help spur each other forward. It's nice to work on teams where you feel accepted and appreciated. Share how you contributed to the team and what you got out of the experience. Think of the ways it was positive for you and why. Here is an answer example: "I was captain of my soccer team in high school, and I learned a lot about the responsibility of a leader. My teammates were responsive to my feedback and coaching because they respected me and especially because they knew I cared about them. It wasn't just about me! They felt appreciated because I listened and we all worked together to achieve the same goal."8. What is your availability? The hours you would be expected to work at BMO largely depends on which department in which you will be working. If you're working in a call center, you will most likely be required to do shift work, possibly working on weekends. If you work for a local branch or a business group, you may need to work overtime on occasion. Some jobs may have more flexible hours. If you're not sure what to expect, now is the time to ask! Be sure to express that you are excited about the opportunity and that you are available to work whatever hours are required. Here is an answer example: "Could you please clarify for me the hours' expectations for this role? I do have a reasonably flexible schedule; however, I want to ensure that I can meet your needs before I commit."9. What is your personal mission statement? The interviewer would like to know if you have a personal motto or mantra. Not everyone has a mission statement or personal mantra just off the cuff. In business, especially when entering leadership, this is an important question to ponder. Do you have a quote that inspires you or a saying that you grew up with that resonates with you? Here is an answer example: "My mantra is that 'people who shine from within do not need the spotlight.' I feel that it is incredibly necessary to be a humble leader and I take this mission statement very seriously. I want my team to be in the spotlight rather than being the kind of leader that takes the credit for good work."10. Tell me about a time when your listening skills helped you solve a problem. Listening is a skill that takes time and effort to improve. Listening means giving the speaker your full attention and asking clarifying questions afterward to check understanding. Give an example that demonstrates how you avoided miscommunication and wasting time by using your listening skills.
An example could be that your boss asked you to do something you have never done before, like running a report or resolving a severe problem for a customer. After they told you what they wanted, did you repeat back to them, "So what you're asking is...?" or "Do you mean that you want me to do (X)?" "What do you think about (X) approach?" Clarifying questions can save your butt! Be sure to check for understanding when you are navigating new territory! Here is an answer example: "So what you're asking is...?"11. Think about a difficult boss, professor or other person. What made him or her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person? You want to show the interviewer that you work well with every person even though you recognize there are some folks out there who are quite difficult to please. This question can be challenging to answer, but it can be answered tactfully. Think about the person who is seen as hard to satisfy or the person who people are intimidated by. Tell the interviewer what made this person challenging as well as their relationship to you. Be sure to mention a few positive things about the person as well while still making your point. You may say, "I once worked at a store where some of the employees had headsets, and the company owner was very demanding. When the owner would walk into the store, employees would announce over the headset system that the owner was in the building so that they could be prepared for his entrance into their department. The owner had great intentions of having a fabulous store; his people skills were just a little rough around the edges which resulted in him intimidating a lot of our staff."
Next, share how you feel your responsibility is to work well with your team and help out however you can, so you chose to adapt to work with this challenging person. Here is an answer example: "I once worked at a store where some of the employees had headsets, and the company owner was very demanding. When the owner would walk into the store, employees would announce over the headset system that the owner was in the building so that they could be prepared for his entrance into their department. The owner had great intentions of having a fabulous store; his people skills were just a little rough around the edges which resulted in him intimidating a lot of our staff."12. Tell us how you keep your job knowledge current with ongoing changes in the industry. The Bank of Montreal is continually adapting their products and services to keep up with the ever-changing needs of their customers! Staying on top of industry trends is as simple as a click of a button these days. You can review financial blogs, read news articles and join discussion groups online to stay up to date.
Let the interviewer know that it's important to stay current on the latest news within the financial services industry. You can talk about the emails you receive from professional organizations, conferences or seminars you have attended, or organizations you are a part of. You don't have to be a know-it-all to show that you are genuinely interested in the field. Just make a list before your interview and maybe take a moment to review some of the latest financial trends. Here is an answer example: 13. Give me an example of a time you demonstrated your integrity. Integrity is standing up for what you believe. It's the way you behave when no one is watching. Honesty is a quality that BMO firmly believes in. Be sure to have an example of how you have demonstrated integrity either in the workplace or school. In your case, share the context of the situation, the action you took and the results! Here is an answer example: "When I was working on a group paper, some of my teammates were feeling unmotivated and decided to plagiarize their contribution. I was reviewing the paper when I realized it and decided to confront them. I was not comfortable turning in the paper, and I also didn't want to be ratting out my friends. I had to explain why plagiarism was such a big deal, even if this was only a junior level English paper. It was difficult to change their minds, but when they learned about the consequences, my peers finally decided to update their portion of the paper."14. Tell me about your education. Are you a student or a recent graduate? BMO wants to hire you! They even have a designated careers page for students and graduates on their website! One of their mottos is "Pursue your best self with BMO." They are dedicated to helping you explore the possibilities of what you are capable of and how you can contribute your skills towards a higher goal. Reflect on some of the significant moments from your education. Think about what you learned and how it impacted you. You can also share some of your accomplishments. The most important thing you want to express is that you are eager to learn and that you are capable of navigating challenges as they arise. Here is an answer example: "Pursue your best self with BMO."15. Tell me about a time when you had to learn a new skill in a short period of time. If you enjoy working in a challenging environment where you are learning and growing, BMO could be the perfect fit! They are invested in the learning and development of their employees, which means you could have significant opportunities for growth in your career! Use this question as a chance to show off your ability to quickly learn something new. You can use an example from work, school, or one of your activities. Here is an answer example: "When I was going through University, and working at a restaurant, I had to memorize the menu in three days! I had no experience, and I was nervous about interacting with customers. After I learned the menu, I felt much more confident talking to people and discovered within a few weeks that I was an excellent server."16. How would you deal with a conflict with your coworker? The tension between co-workers can be draining, primarily if you work in a high-stress work environment. When asked a question about dealing with conflict or overcoming a challenge, think of an example first. Having a concrete situation to draw from will help you to think through the steps you take to deal with conflict. Keep in mind that sometimes it is better to be kind than to be right. Use an example that demonstrates your care and compassion when a dispute arises. Here is an answer example: "My coworker and I disagreed with whether or not a policy was important or not. We worked in a very conservative corporate environment, and I felt like the policy was affecting some of our peers negatively. Rather than letting it become a heated discussion, I took a breath and recognized that we might be interpreting the situation differently. Even though I felt strongly about my point, I felt like it was more important to back down in this situation. You have to pick your battles, and my relationships with my coworkers are more important than being right."17. Describe a major change that occurred in a job that you held. How did you adapt to this change? At the Bank of Montreal, staying up to date with the latest technology is top priority! They have taken online banking to a whole new level, allowing customers to manage every aspect of their portfolio online to stay competitive. It's important to be able to embrace change so that you too can keep up in the workplace! Think about times when there was a significant process change or a new manager took over your department. Start off by telling the interviewer a brief description of the situation and what you did to adjust to the change. Here is an answer example: "I am always ready to learn new ways of doing things. When I was working for a construction company, we were acquired by a larger company and experienced some major growing pains! There were new policies, and my role changed as well. I worked closely with my team to adapt to these changes, making sure we were all in close communication. I asked a lot of clarifying questions and did my best to adapt to the changes in my daily tasks and our work culture."18. How do you stay up to date in the banking industry? You don't have to be a financial guru to stay up to date on the industry happenings! You may be interviewing for a customer service position, but it's still important to be knowledgeable about the industry.
While BMO will train you on everything you need to know, do a little bit of reading about their competitors. See if you can identify precisely how BMO stands out and pay attention to trends. What are other banks offering? How has the industry changed? Make some of these observations that you can share in the interview. Staying relevant in your industry is essential, especially when it's continually evolving. Show that you are invested by talking about the efforts you make to stay up to date! Here is an answer example: "I stay up to date on the finance and banking industry by reading various blogs, and also listening to the news. I also appreciated resources such a free podcasts like the Financial Times Banking Weekly show. Do you have any favorite resources that you would like to share with me?"19. In your opinion, what are the benefits of banking with the Bank of Montreal? Now the interviewer really wants to see if you have done your research! We strongly encourage you to review the Bank of Montreal website. You want to be able to sell the interviewer on their own company. This means you know enough about the business and the products to educate the interviewer. Take time to review their website! You could probably spend hours clicking through all of their services and their careers page! Be sure to take some notes as you scroll through and jot down anything that catches your attention, from awards to the ways they give back to the community. Here is an answer example: "The benefits of banking at BMO range from mobile friendly banking to providing customer service that is knowledgeable about all of your financial needs. I also greatly appreciate that you spend so much time giving back to the communities with which you are established. Being the longest standing bank in Canada, your reputation and tenure are unmatched."20. Out of all of our products, which one would you be most likely to use? Why? Whether you are looking for personal or corporate banking services or you need financial advice, BMO is there for you! Learn as much as you can about what makes them stand out from other financial institutions. Their reputation is their customer service, which may be an option you know you will benefit from. They offer a comprehensive spectrum of commercial products, so if you are interested in investments, find out more about what they offer. Knowledge is power! It will impress your interviewer and give you an advantage in the interviewer process! Here is an answer example: "I would be interested in learning about getting a mortgage through BMO. I want to buy a house in the next two years, and I would greatly benefit from talking to one of your financial advisors about it. It's nice to know that I can do my banking, investing and get a loan in the same place that offers the support I will need to make those big decisions!"21. How do you build relationships when you join a new team? Making new friends at work can feel just as intimidating as the first day of school! It's important to start out on the right foot by making yourself available and open to conversation. Being approachable is the first step! Smiling, dressing professionally and initiating spending time with coworkers is a great way to make a solid first impression. To maintain those relationships, all you need to do is be consistent! Express to the interviewer that you continue to make an effort to keep relationships at work. Here is an answer example: "I always ask a lot of questions when I start a new job. I make an effort to get to know the people on my team by being friendly and eating lunch with them. I make myself approachable by smiling and introducing myself to everyone. I'm outgoing and personable, so that helps too!"22. What is your greatest accomplishment so far? Depending on your level of education, your most significant accomplishment could be anything from graduating with honors from college to being promoted to sales director within four years of working at a company. When you talk about your accomplishment, explain why it was so important. Maybe you have plans to manage a call center one day. When you were promoted to shift supervisor you were honored and excited because you knew it would help you reach your end goal. Keep in mind; your accomplishment doesn't need to be flashy! It can be getting a rave review from a customer or winning a sales trip to Vegas because your team exceeded their goals. Here is an answer example: "My greatest accomplishment so far was graduating on the Dean's list, with a full scholarship. Obtaining my MBA was the best investment I ever made in myself, and I am thrilled to have succeeded to strongly, academically."23. How do you respond to a customer complaint? If you are interviewing for a customer or client facing role, you want to show off your ability to deal with conflict and nurture client relationships. Give an example of a time you helped resolve a customer's issue. Here is an answer example: "A customer called me very frustrated about an issue with their bank account. I listened and told them I would be happy to help. I asked more questions to understand the problem and then suggested once I had a better idea of what might solve it. The customer was very relieved and grateful that I took the time to listen and make sense of the issue."24. Tell me about a goal you achieved. What steps did you take to get there? The Bank of Montreal cares about the success of their employees. They care enough to invest in training and development, coaching their staff to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Take a moment to think about a goal you set and completed in the past five years. If you haven't been goal-oriented up to this point, you may want to consider something you accomplished through hard work and dedication (even if it wasn't a specific goal). An example of this might be graduating from high school or choosing a major in college and sticking with it. A goal typically motivates you to get from point A to point B. It's important enough that it will drive you to make sacrifices with your social life and your time. They are like a roadmap for your life. The interviewer wants to hear that you are dedicated enough to stick with something, even when challenges present themselves. Whether your goal is related to your education, a sport you played or your volunteer experience, take a moment to write down the answers to these three questions:
1)What was your motivation?
2) What challenges did you overcome along the way?
3) How did you feel after you accomplished this goal?
If you can answer these questions, you are ready to face the interviewer! Be confident in your ability to handle any obstacle that comes in your way! Here is an answer example: 25. How well do you work under pressure? You can use an example from work or your education to address this question. The interviewer is most interested in your response to the pressure rather than the conditions. Any situation can be stressful when its crunch time or you're dealing with an intense customer situation. Think of a time where you produced your best work under pressure. Share tools that have helped you navigate external pressures. You got this! Here is an answer example: "When I was working in a busy retail store, I stayed positive even though I was expected to move quickly through every customer transaction. Even though I dealt with angry customers and a stressed-out manager from time to time, I stayed calm and paid attention to detail to avoid mistakes."
Writers for Bank of Montreal Answers and Questions
Elisabeth Walter has over five years of experience in the corporate recruiting world. More recently, she has been freelance writing for the past two years. You can reach out to Elisabeth by visiting her LinkedIn profile, at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethwalter/
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 11/15/2010 Last modified on: 08/22/2018
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