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NSF International Interview
Questions

31 Questions and Answers by
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 31

At NSF International we seek to hire those who think outside the box. When was the last time you made a suggestion for workplace improvement? What was the outcome?

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NSF International Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    At NSF International we seek to hire those who think outside the box. When was the last time you made a suggestion for workplace improvement? What was the outcome?

      The interviewer would like to know if you are an engaged employee; offering suggestions and providing more profound thought when it comes to processing improvement in the workplace. Give an example of a time when you suggested an improvement in the workplace. It can be big or small! Did anything significant come out of your suggestion?

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Last year I made a recommendation for our office to incorporate a recycling program. We were going through a lot of single-use coffee pods. It bothered me how wasteful it all seemed. I presented a spreadsheet to my supervisor comparing the single-use pods vs. investing in a built-in coffee machine. The savings over two years were significant, and my boss has now presented my idea to our head office. It feels nice to be heard in the workplace, so I continue to keep my eyes out for opportunities for process improvements."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I made some recommendations for change in our CRM system. The suggestions were surrounding how items received documentation and how outstanding tasks became highlighted. Our head office made the changes and a lot of people in our office commented on how much they liked the changes."

  2. 2.

    Tell me about a time when you used good judgement and logic to solve a problem.

      The interviewer wants to hear about a particular situation where you used good judgment to solve a work-related problem. Be sure to showcase your logic and reasoning abilities. Share a brief overview of the problem, discuss the pro/cons of each decision you could have made, and tell the interviewer why the solution you chose was the best.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Just yesterday I had a customer who was upset because our sales associate would not refund a service that the customer had already used in full. She was outside of the 14 days return policy as well. I am the manager, so I stepped in to alleviate the situation. By showing the customer that I could meet her in the middle, she was able to calm down and reason with me. I did not refund her the full price; however, I offered her a $25 in service credit. I know this will cost my company mere dollars and, in the end, I had a happy customer again."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I had a customer who was unhappy with his purchase (the service in question cost over $20k). He then was unhappy with the way in which the arbitration process was heading, and although my team all said just to let him be and have him work with our Director of Operations to resolve the issue, I knew that I could lose a customer over a one time issue. I mediated the call, allowed him to air his grievances, and assured him that we would work together to solve the issue."

  3. 3.

    We value accountability at NSF International. If a customer sent a formal complaint about an interaction with you, how would you handle it?

      Assure the interviewer that you are a person of integrity who will take responsibility for any shortcomings in the workplace. Briefly explain to the interviewer that you will handle NSF International customers with great care.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I understand that NSF International has put a lot of work into building these long-term client relationships. If one of your clients complained about my communication with them, I would take full responsibility for my actions and issue an apology. I would also be open to feedback to avoid future incidences. Rest assured, in my 15 years of employment, I have not had any clients complain to my employer about my work ethic or delivery of service."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Constructive feedback is difficult to swallow at times, but it's helpful for me to remember that everyone receives constructive feedback from time to time. I will always do what is required of me to renew a client relationship."

  4. 4.

    NSF International values philanthropy and community giving. How do you choose to give back to others?

      The interviewer would like to know that you are socially responsible and a team player - even outside of the workplace. Your answer can be as simple as babysitting your grand-kids every Sunday, to a standing-volunteer gig, to charitable contributions.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I work a lot but, when I do have free time, I spend that with my grand-kids. It helps to give my son a bit of a break as he is a full-time single dad. In addition to this, I volunteer at the local drop-in center every Christmas to help feed the homeless. Giving back is very important to me."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Volunteering and charitable acts are important to me. I spend time volunteering at the local drop-in center every Sunday."

  5. 5.

    Outside of work, what type of creative activities do you like to pursue?

      A genuinely creative minded person will have outside activities aside from what's happening in the workplace. Tell the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you express your creativity.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Outside of work I like to attend dance classes and I also attend the odd paint and sip wine nights at a local wine shop. I also enjoy reading as a way of nurturing my creative side."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I think it's important to exercise creativity in a variety of ways. This reasoning is why I am involved in a variety of things such as team sports, reading, and art classes."

  6. 6.

    At NSF International we value continued education and training. Tell me about your education.

      The interviewer wants to know how your education has prepared you for this job. A few highlights you can focus on are some of the relevant topics you learned about while attending your courses. How will they help you in this new role? What were some of the most exciting things you learned?

      Some ideas for you:

      - If you have experience working on group projects, share how you improved your listening and communication skills when working on a challenging project.

      - If you learned a new type of software or how to work a kind of equipment you will need to know in this new job, talk about what you know and how you will apply this new knowledge.

      While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned in your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include:

      - Time Management
      - Creative Thinking
      - Proposal Writing
      - Public Speaking
      - Presentation Building
      - Independent Learning
      - Academic Research
      - Self-Motivation

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in Communication and Journalism. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger business relationships through professional correspondence. I also learned persuasive writing skills which have proven to be incredibly helpful when working on client proposals, and in negotiations."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have a B.A. in English and Spanish. I graduated with a 4.0 from ABC College, and I also worked full time while going to school, so I not only learned in my courses but also learned a lot of time management skills and how I work best under some degree of pressure. Academically, I refined my writing skills as well as gave a keynote presentation to several hundred attendees, thereby working on my public speaking and presentation skills."

  7. 7.

    We have a wide range of services at NSF International. Have you ever used any of our services?

      The interviewer wants to know that you are well aware of the services offered at NSF International. Have you used them previously? Discuss with the interviewer any exposure you have had to the company. Keep your response positive and lighthearted.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have not personally used your commercial services; however, I have friends who have used NSF International for their business needs and their reviews were always positive!"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have been a customer of NSF International before, yes! The services I used were A, B, and C. My experience here was very comfortable, and everyone was professional. This experience is one of the reasons why I applied for this role. I want to work for a company that has high standards, and I know first hand that you do!"

  8. 8.

    Customer service is our top priority at NSF International. What is your customer service philosophy?

      Because NSF International puts so much effort into their customer service reputation, the interviewer needs to be confident that your customer service values align with theirs. Be sure to research the NSF International website and take note of any keywords they use when it comes to their customers. Match your language with theirs.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I noticed on your website that you put a lot of value into your customers by actively listening to their needs. You also survey them regularly while staying on top of industry trends so that you can provide them with innovative new services. To me, customer service goes beyond friendliness and efficiency. You need to understand your customer's business needs and have the ability to analyze their future needs so that you can respond appropriately to their business landscape changes."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "As overused as this phrase may be, 'Service with a smile' has always been my customer service philosophy. Very few people can resist a great smile and a friendly interaction! Friendliness warms customers up, makes them more inclined to work with you, and also diffuses a conflict quickly."

  9. 9.

    At NSF International, we look to hire those who will be a long term fit. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

      It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but you need to assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for the position at NSF International.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Ideally, 5 years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within your organization. My career interests align very nicely with your company's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "5 years from now, I would like to supervise or manage a team of my own with NSF International. I feel like I am progressing in my career at a rate that will make this a possibility."

  10. 10.

    Looking at your resume, it seems there are certain skills necessary for this position that do not stand out. How do you think you will be able to compensate for these missing skills?

      Most job descriptions will have a long list of requirements. Hiring managers are aware that, to find a candidate that checks ALL of the boxes, can sometimes be impossible. If you are missing some of the "nice to have" or even the "must have" skills listed in the job description, do not fret! Be open about your shortcomings and discuss with the interviewer how you plan to compensate for those.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "nice to have"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I bring full dedication to learning, and mastering, any skills I do not currently have. I will compensate for any lacking skills through additional research. Also, I am happy to take any coursework that you feel would help."

  11. 11.

    What are your salary expectations?

      The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am currently making $100,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."

  12. 12.

    Considering your background is in an industry different from ours, what skills and characteristics do you have that qualify you for this position in this industry?

      There are many ways that you can be a fit for a position, even though you do not come with direct industry experience. Think about the variety of skills that you have and how those can benefit another employer, despite the industry. These are your transferable skills, and they can include sales abilities, customer service experience, and software capabilities.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Although my background is not in your precise industry, I have worked with many clients who have been in your industry. I bring excellent transferable skills that qualify me for this position. These skills include my advanced abilities in Excel, my outstanding cold-calling abilities as well as my proven background in team leadership."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I bring many transferable skills to this position and industry. My talents and skills revolve around helping people and making companies profitable. Customer service, problem-solving, and data analysis can cross any industry, and I am a pro at all three."

  13. 13.

    Due to the nature of NSF International business and services we may ask that you complete a full background check. Are you willing to comply?

      Many companies will ask for a background check before employing you. This due diligence could include a criminal record check, a credit check, a drivers' abstract, and education verification. The request will vary from company to company so you should always be prepared to comply with all requests. If there is a mark on your record, this is the best time to disclose that information.

      If you have a clean record: "I can fully understand why NSF International would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I have a squeaky clean record and am happy to comply with any of your requests."

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I can fully understand why NSF International would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I have a squeaky clean record and am happy to comply with any of your requests."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "If you have a mark on your record: "I can fully understand why NSF International would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I did have a charge against me approximately six years ago for a DUI. I have gained my drivers' license back since then, but I thought I should disclose that to you ahead of time."

  14. 14.

    At NSF International we provide services to a wide range of businesses. Which industry or business type do you have the most experience with?

      In the commercial services industry, your experience with clients may be widespread. Talk to the interviewer about any particular industry to which you may have more exposure. If you have a specialty - now is the time to discuss your expertise. Whether you have experience in the same industry as NSF International, or not, be sure to appear confident in your capabilities.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I understand that the majority of business that is coming to NSF International is related to XYZ. I have about four years of dedicated XYZ experience. The remainder of my work experience is with a wide range of clients and industries. I feel that these experiences have equipped me very well for a position such as this."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have the most experience in the manufacturing industry. Approximately 15 years, in fact. I believe this experience will benefit me in this role with NSF International because I am well versed in best practices and manufacturing protocols."

  15. 15.

    Many of the management and higher level roles with NSF International require a Degree in Business or similar. Please walk me through your post-secondary education.

      Your post-secondary background is on your resume; however, the interviewer is asking for you to go into further detail on your experience. This is a great time to brag a little bit about any scholarships, awards, or accolades you may have received during your post-secondary studies. Be sure to discuss how your education has prepared you for a position with NSF International.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I would be thrilled to be considered for a management level position with NSF International. Although I do not have many years' experience in this type of position, I do have a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Walden University online. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA. I am very proud of this grade because I worked full time during my studies and still graduated top of my class."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "If you do not have a formal post-secondary education: "I did not have the opportunity to attend University; however, everything that I have learned on the job has been incredibly valuable. I would be thrilled to join your management team down the road so if you feel there are gaps in my knowledge, I would be happy to consider attending any required classes or workshops."

  16. 16.

    At NSF International we have many local competitors. In your opinion, what makes us stand out from the crowd?

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  17. 17.

    At NSF International, our primary work is to cater to other businesses. What do you foresee as the biggest challenge working in the commercial services industry?

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  18. 18.

    Do you fully understand what we do at NSF International?

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  19. 19.

    When have you contributed to an effort to obtain a corporate goal?

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  20. 20.

    We value diversity at NSF International. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people?

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  21. 21.

    Sometimes the services and packages offered at NSF International can be confusing to new clients. How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?

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  22. 22.

    How did you maintain a good relationship with your most recent boss?

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  23. 23.

    Tell me why you are the right fit for NSF International, and this position.

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  24. 24.

    Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.

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  25. 25.

    How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?

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  26. 26.

    What kind of people do you enjoy working with?

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  27. 27.

    Tell me about a time when you took charge of a meeting. Was the outcome a positive one?

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  28. 28.

    As a manager, who has been your greatest influence? A person that has defined what type of leader you wish to be.

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  29. 29.

    If you had $50,000 to build your own business, what would you do?

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  30. 30.

    When a problem arises, what is your first reaction?

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  31. 31.

    Strong time management is important at NSF International. How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?

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