Updated on August 21st, 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 30
Describe a time when you motivated yourself to complete an assignment or task that you did not feel like doing.
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Show the interviewer that you will still get the job done even when you aren't excited about the task at hand. Think about a time when there was a work-related task that you did not want to do. Perhaps the dreaded file room needed to be purged of outdated files to make room for new files.
Tell the interviewer what your task was, and explain why you were not excited about it. Be sure to tell the interviewer that even though you were not enthusiastic about the work, you made it happen promptly knowing that it would help the organization as a whole.
"I like to set rewards for myself when there are undesirable tasks at hand. For instance, a large part of what I do is review all of the resumes that come into our job portal on a weekly basis. Sometimes there will be up to 200 resumes to review. They all begin to look the same after awhile, so I have set a goal to look at 20 at a time, give myself a quick break, then return to the task."
Second Answer Example
"I do not particularly like filling out a CRM. I don't think any salesperson does. It's just not how we are built! We like the call, the chase, the close. Taking time to pause and write out the details of our conversation, projections, and all that jazz is not something we like. It slows us down. However, it's a necessary step in the sales process. Not only does it ultimately help that sale go better when the CRM is filled out in full detail, but also it helps inform the next sales' close rate. It's an important tool in the sale, and even if it takes slowing down and doing a seemingly monotonous task, it's a task that will help me as a salesperson and the organization as a whole."
If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.
Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This answer could include any industry accolades, extraordinary achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.
"You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started with my current company, I was the youngest salesperson they had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the #1 sales person in the company within six months. I am dedicated to my craft and engaged in the energy industry to the point where I commit myself to taking at least one business development or leadership related workshop every business quarter. I am a competitive achiever who will show full appreciation for your professional development opportunities. You won't be disappointed when you hire me."
Second Answer Example
"When I read the job description, I smiled because it was truly as though you had written it with me in mind. I know that I am the best candidate for this role because I consistently exceed goals and I know the energy industry. Also, I was the fastest promoted in my previous position and have led the rollout of new markets in my current position, making me ideally positioned for helping you continue to build your sales organization, markets, and exceed financial metrics. Not to mention, I am looking for a company that I can stay with for the long haul, something that you mentioned you value."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me?
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
Looking at your resume, I see multiple gaps between employments, what were you doing during those gaps?
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There are many reasons for having a gap in your resume, and it's best, to be honest about the reasons.
"I had a gap from 2009-2010 while I was on maternity leave and then another for six months in 2015 while I cared for an ailing parent. During that time I was vigilant in keeping up to date on the market so that my knowledge did not become redundant."
Second Answer Example
"Any gaps in my employment are for a good reason. I was laid off during the recession in 2011 and then again in 2016 when my temporary contract came to an end. I am looking for a position now with long-term security."
When faced with a problem, are you more likely to jump into solving it, or are you the type to carefully assess the issue first?
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Second Answer Example
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The interviewer would like to know more about your problem-solving skills, and your personality. Discuss how you tackle problems when they arise, and keep your answer work-related if you can. Whether you are the type to jump right into solving a problem or you are more methodical in your approach, highlight to the interviewer that you are capable of handling issues professionally while using sound judgment.
"When faced with a problem, I am more likely to jump right into solving it. I believe that you cannot leave a problem to fester or become bigger than it already is. You have to take ownership of the issue, and involve yourself in the resolution right away. With that said, I am responsible for my decision making and certainly don't jump in blind. If I am unsure of what action to take, I will ask my leader for advice."
Second Answer Example
"I'm a 'roll up my sleeves' kind of person. I see a problem, envision a solution, and begin to tackle it, figuring it out as I go and asking for help along the way."
6. Do you feel performance should be rewarded over experience? Do you feel that you should be paid based on tenure, or results? Discuss this with the interviewer and back your answer with an example, if possible. Here is an answer example: "I feel that employees should be paid, and rewarded, based on their performance. A new employee would be greatly motivated through being rewarded for performance, and it encourages a healthy competition with tenured employees." Here is an answer example: "I feel both performance and experience should be equally rewarded and weighted."7. 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. Here is an answer example: "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. I am also willing to offer some flexibility seeing as Suncor offers so many benefits programs related to tuition reimbursement, grants, and more. All of this holds value for me." Here is an answer example: "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."8. What do you see as the most difficult task in being a manager? Being in a management role is always a significant challenge. Share with the interviewer what you feel is the most challenging part of being a manager, and why. Also, discuss what you are currently doing to make this task less complicated in the future. Here is an answer example: "As a manager, the most difficult task for me is to delegate the work evenly. You will always have team members who are absolute rockstars, then some who are a bit less enthusiastic or are lower producers. I have to remind myself to distribute the work and responsibilities evenly despite my natural inclination to give more work to the high performers. I am currently working with my underperforming team members to prepare them for a larger workload." Here is an answer example: "I would say the most difficult part of managing people is being both their friend and earning their respect while being new on the team. To balance all of these roles, you have to make sure to be approachable and genuinely interested in them as humans, but also make sure they know that it's a place of business and that meeting or exceeding expectations is the name of the game, above all else."9. Tell me when you have delegated tasks effectively. Delegating tasks to employees is always a requirement when you are in a management type of role. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to delegate and empower your employees. Here is an answer example: "I find that to delegate tasks effectively you first need to understand each employee's strengths. I will always delegate to someone's strength so that they will organically know how to complete the task. This method eliminates a lot of resistance and promotes effective and productive work." Here is an answer example: "In my current position, prioritization of our workload is critical to our success. I tap into the resources of my team by finding out their strengths and career aspirations, then assigning them work that will compliment them."10. Tell me about a time when you received criticism from your manager. How did you react to that criticism? How did you make improvements based on that criticism? When you are thinking about examples of criticism, it's best to show that you want to grow as an employee and that you can handle constructive criticism because it helps you learn and improve the quality of your work. Here is an answer example: "I was instructed to create some presentations for our events. After my manager reviewed my work, some of the slides required an additional copy, and he had different design concepts in mind. He had a background in graphic design, and since I do not, I listened to his ideas and incorporated them. I thought they looked very professional and in the following presentations, I tried to include those design concepts." Here is an answer example: "I was very eager to climb the ranks in my most recent position. My manager, and the VP of Sales, really appreciated this hunger and grit. However, I did receive the feedback that I needed to slow down. As frustrating as it was, I listened. I dedicated my time to learning as much as I could in my current position and paced myself much better post-feedback."11. How can we motivate you on the job? Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job. Here is an answer example: "I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are being noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard, and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well. I also believe that Suncor's many programs, including your SunCares Rewards, Post-Secondary Grants, Humanitarian Grants, and Together We Care campaign will be huge motivators for me." Here is an answer example: "I am motivated by knowing something about the end customer and being able to relate to them as a person. A personal touch is always helpful for me."12. Do people see you as a trustworthy and honest individual? It is easy to say that you are trustworthy and honest, but it's best if you can back it up with a review or words from a previous supervisor. Here is an answer example: "I am told quite often that I am an honest and trustworthy individual and you will be able to hear that directly from my supervisor when you call for a reference. I hold honesty and trustworthiness as fundamental virtues." Here is an answer example: "My friends and family rely on me heavily because I am trustworthy and honest. They can count on me to be straightforward with them and depend on me to be there when it matters least or most."13. How many days were you absent from work last year? A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance. Here is an answer example: "I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift." Here is an answer example: "I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."14. How do you deal with uncomfortable situations? Often, our work environment holds the possibility for awkward or tense situations. It can be challenging to know how to respond when you have a coworker who is moody, or when your coworker lacks social skills and continually asks inappropriate questions. The interviewer wants to know that you can keep your cool in situations like these. Here is an answer example: "I have had my share of awkward situations and having raised two kids, I am no stranger to them! In the workplace, if an uncomfortable situation arises I tend to face the issue head-on, but tactfully. Sweeping things under the rug rarely helps. I have no problem being open with my team or colleagues if I am not feeling comfortable in a particular situation." Here is an answer example: "I have learned over the years that if something makes me uncomfortable, I better dive right in. Change and growth happen outside of your comfort zone. I embrace this!"15. What type of work environment do you dislike working in? Are you pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments? Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Be sure to know the type of environment that is offered in this position before the interview. Here is an answer example: "I can be productive in most work environments, so long as the mentality is positive and teamwork is encouraged. I cannot work in an environment that feels negative or toxic. This is not a concern for me with Suncor as I have read many great employee reviews on Glassdoor and your commitment to your workplace culture is evident." Here is an answer example: "I tend to find slow paced or red tape environments challenging to maintain my excitement levels. With that said, even if I can experience a small win along the way, it is enough to keep me going."16. There are a lot of red tape and regulations in energy related projects. Are you accustomed to waiting on logistics and policy during your projects? Assure the interviewer that you have the fortitude to outlast any policy restrictions that may hold your projects back. Discuss the ways that you are accustomed to changes in regulations and policy mid-project. Here is an answer example: "I understand that the energy industry is privy to many policy changes and I am accustomed to setbacks coming my way. I have also experienced setbacks from early-stage funding falling through. Over the years I have gained a lot of patience when it comes to the advancements of my projects and can step away from a project that may be falling behind, look at the situation critically, and reassess my approach when needed." Here is an answer example: "I am no stranger to policy changes. I am well aware that setbacks happen during projects, regardless of the industry. Changes and setbacks can be disheartening at times but it all balances out when I can enjoy the success of a well-done project."17. Tell me about your experiences giving presentations in front of large groups. Public speaking can be intimidating so assure the interviewer that you are capable of communicating well in front of large groups. Have you taken any courses or training in public speaking? Perhaps you have so much experience that it comes second nature. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of giving presentations. Here is an answer example: "In my past two roles I have been responsible for regularly presenting to my team of 43 staff as well as to our entire warehouse team of over 200. I have taken a couple of Toastmasters sessions which helped a great deal. I am a confident public speaker." Here is an answer example: "Presenting to large groups is a big part of successfully rolling out great communications to teams organization-wide. I have experience preparing the deck to be presented to ensure it is simple and thorough. I utilize different communication techniques to make a presentation fun, interesting, and engaging."18. How do you handle a situation where your supervisor does not properly communicate information to you? You cannot force others to communicate with you in a way that you would always prefer. Talk to the interviewer about a time that you have handled a supervisor who does not interact with you in a way that you like. Here is an answer example: "Whenever I have had a supervisor who does not properly communicate with me, I try to learn their style of communication and emulate it. Sometimes you simply have to relate to others in their style to be understood." Here is an answer example: "I have worked for a previous supervisor who was incredibly brief in his communication. Many times, I would have to put the pieces together for myself. I managed through it, and it taught me independent thought."19. When have you been asked to perform a function or complete a task in which you had little or no experience in doing? Have you ever had to take on a task or a role that you felt was over your experience level? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have dealt with this type of situation. What was the outcome, and what did you learn? Here is an answer example: "When my manager went on unexpected medical leave for three months last year I was asked to step into her position in the interim. I knew the basics but was certainly not trained on the specifics of the role. I was able to take it on successfully by leaning on my team, reading a lot of company manuals, and asking many questions. Once my manager returned she was very pleased with the progress that I made, and I was awarded a promotion." Here is an answer example: "I am often asked to perform tasks outside of my wheelhouse. This includes customer dispute resolution and interviewing potential new employees. I am a diverse employee and am happy to take on additional functions."20. What accomplishment do you believe was the most difficult for you to achieve, in your most recent position? Being able to face a challenging or stressful situation, and still gain some accomplishment, in the end, is very satisfying. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to come out on top despite being faced with an obstacle. Here is an answer example: "In my career, so far, I feel that the most difficult accomplishment for me to achieve were the three back-to-back promotions in my current company. Because promotions are granted based on results, I had to put in a lot of overtime hours, and hustle, to get there." Here is an answer example: "My most challenging accomplishment was to boost employee morale, lower turnover and increase productivity. After the year they had, it was not easy to take over, gain their trust, and put a smile back on their faces."21. Tell me about yourself. When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This question is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring. Here is an answer example: "I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful sales career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community. One thing that jumps out at me with Suncor is that you have The SunCares program which encourages employees to contribute to causes in their community. I love that you help your employees to give their time to causes close to their hearts." Here is an answer example: "I am a passionate, excited team player who loves to learn on the fly, take the lead when possible, and I have a proven track record of success. I'm loyal and have shown that through my decade-long career at one employer. I have risen through their ranks, and am ready to take on the next challenge. Outside of work, I love to travel and do DIY projects in my home."22. At Suncor Energy we use a variety of robust internal software programs. Do you consider yourself tech savvy and a fast learner? Many energy companies will use robust software programs that you may not have even heard of. Because of this, you may not have the exact experience that Suncor Energy is looking for. Do not fret! All you need to do is display to the interviewer that you have a general understanding of how their technology works. Display that you are tech savvy and a fast learner. If Suncor has their programs listed in the job posting, be sure to research those programs a bit before your interview. Here is an answer example: "I am an advanced level user in all of the programs used in my current company. From your job posting, I see that you use X, Y, and Z at Suncor Energy. I am familiar with how these programs work. I pick up on new technology quickly, and I am willing to get a head start through some helpful online tutorials so that I am a touch more up to speed on my first day with Suncor." Here is an answer example: "I had taken some courses in computer programming and also worked part-time evenings as an IT support person when I was attending University. I consider myself to be technically inclined. Could you share with me the primary programs you use at Suncor Energy Inc.?"23. Do you have any experience in SAP? Many energy companies will use robust software, including SAP. Because there are endless choices in SAP based programs, you will likely not have the exact experience in the SAP module that Suncor is looking for. Do not fret! All you need to do is display to the interviewer that you have a general understanding of how their technology works. Display that you are tech savvy and a fast learner. If Suncor has their software programs listed in the job posting, be sure to research those programs a bit before your interview. Here is an answer example: "I have approximately two years' experience in Fieldglass which is an internal SAP used at Company ABC. From your job posting, I see that you use X, Y, and Z at Suncor Energy. I am familiar with how these programs work. Technology is very interesting to me and I am a quick study." Here is an answer example: "I have not been lucky enough to have exposure to SAP as of yet; however, I have watched a few tutorials on the program and am confident in my ability to pick it up very quickly."24. The energy sector has many competitors. Why do you want to work for Suncor Energy? Discuss with the interviewer the ways that Suncor stands out from their competitors. What caught your eye when applying here? Perhaps it was the information you came across on their website. Maybe you liked how their job posting was worded. Or - maybe you have a strong referral from a friend or acquaintance. With enthusiasm, discuss why you want to work for Suncor Energy. Here is an answer example: "I understand there are many options when seeking a career in the energy industry; however, I am most interested in working for Suncor Energy because you value continued education and put a strong emphasis on being environmentally responsible. You are an industry leader and on your website, state that you encourage ongoing training and leadership development opportunities. I also see that you have the 'Our Educational Assistance Plan' which helps pay for the cost of tuition, up to $4500 per year. That is incredible!" Here is an answer example: "I have been passively seeking a new position for quite some time and haven't jumped on anything yet because I want to make sure it's the right fit. I feel that this job is right for me, at this point in my career, because it offers an opportunity for me to utilize my recent education in GIS while giving me an opportunity to advance in my management skills."25. At Suncor Energy we put a strong focus on health and safety. What is your experience with health and safety in the energy industry? Health and safety efforts are incredibly important when it comes to any industry. Show the interviewer that you also emphasize workplace safety. If you have any related training, this is a great time to discuss. Here is an answer example: "Last year I attended a health and safety course directed at upstream oil and gas. It was an eye-opening experience, and I understand even more so, how important workplace safety is. I appreciate hearing that Suncor Energy puts such a strong emphasis here. I was reading up on your 'Journey to Zero' program and would like to compliment Suncor on your commitment to the fact that all incidents can be prevented. You only hire those who are committed to working safely and you hold your leaders accountable for performance related to health, safety, and the environment." Here is an answer example: "As I am new to the industry, I have not taken many energy industry related health and safety courses. I do have CPR and First Aid training. If you could tell me the type of training that you are looking for in your next hire, I would be happy to get a head start on those courses."26. What are your thoughts on the stance environmentalists take against some of our practices in the energy industry? The energy industry is rarely free of criticism. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on a recent hot topic. You can show the interviewer that you keep up to date on industry news and that you have a well researched, and valuable, opinion. Here is an answer example: "There are many hot topics when it comes to the energy industry. We are no stranger to controversy which is why I seek to work for a reputable organization such as Suncor. One recent topic has caught my attention, and that is the oil drilling activity in West Africa. I've been following many environmentalist blogs to get a well-rounded view of the controversy. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if I am confident in our ethics, then that's all I need." Here is an answer example: "I respect what environmentalists are attempting to achieve, and I agree with much of it. What I do not agree with is how some of the extremists are portraying our industry. Our industry is vital, and sometimes the extreme environmentalists do not appear to understand that or care to learn."27. In which ways do you feel that Suncor Energy stands out from industry competitors? It is essential that you research Suncor, and the competitive space, before your interview. Discuss with the interviewer how you feel that they stand out from other energy-focused organizations. Keep your answer positive and to the point. Here is an answer example: "I have researched Suncor Energy as well as Company ABC and XYZ as I believe those to be the strongest competitors in this industry. One thing that stands out to me is that Suncor seems to put a stronger and more positive emphasis on environmental concerns. Your involvement with community concerns and innovative technology is also inspiring. I am primarily talking about Suncor being a co-founder of Evok Innovations. This initiative with yourself and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance is quite remarkable." Here is an answer example: "Suncor Energy Inc. has been around a lot longer than many competitors, and your name is often mentioned in the news as well as other industry leading publications. I feel this sets you apart in your industry and sets you up as an industry expert and influencer."28. At Suncor Energy we put a lot of emphasis on attention to detail which some people mistake for micromanagement. How do you feel about this? Many companies will closely control the details of each project. This close control can often be mistaken as micromanagement which not everyone enjoys. Assure the interviewer that you are comfortable working in a role where the details are valued. Here is an answer example: "I naturally pay close attention to details so to be asked about the finer details of a project is of no concern to me. I am happy to comply with any project checklists." Here is an answer example: "I work very well on an independent basis; however, it is nice to be checked in on every now and then! I don't mind having my work double checked or proofed."29. At Suncor Energy we seek to hire individuals with related post-secondary education. Walk me through your formal education. Your post-secondary details will likely be on your resume; however, the interviewer would like for you to go into further detail. Discuss your degree, the areas where you excelled, and any awards or recognition you received. Here is an answer example: "I have a Master's degree in Energy Systems Management from the University of San Francisco. I graduated with honors which is something that I am proud of." Here is an answer example: "My Bachelor's degree is in Business Administration which is not directly related to what you do at Suncor Energy. With that said, I did learn a lot about organizational development, behavior, and project management. These skills will certainly help me in this role."30. The energy sector often sees changes in regulation and policy. How do you keep up to date on changes in our industry? Show the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the energy sector by staying up to date on industry news and changes. Perhaps you regularly read a publication that was of great interest. Maybe you follow a certain energy blogger or news channel? Ensure that your answer is enthusiastic and, if you use Suncor Energy as an information resource, be sure to mention that as well. Here is an answer example: "To stay up to date on industry changes, I read the Breaking Energy publication on a daily basis. Also, I follow a blog on remediation law. I am very interested in the changes in the energy sector and find the " Here is an answer example: "I have google alerts set up, using keywords related directly to my niche. These help me to stay on top of any industry or regulatory changes, and they save me the time of having to comb through countless publications to keep up. I also follow Suncor's posts on sustainability and environmental concerns, on a regular basis."
Author of Suncor Energy Inc. Answers and Questions
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: 05/22/2018 Last modified on: 08/21/2018
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