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30 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown
Updated September 10th, 2018
Job Interviews     Companies     Business     Communication Services    

Question 1 of 30

How would your current or former supervisor describe your work ethic?

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Answer Examples

1.

How would your current or former supervisor describe your work ethic?

This is a chance to offer some real-world examples of when you've gone the extra mile or solved a tricky problem in a previous position.

Ryan's Answer #1

"My current/former boss would describe me as an employee who puts in the time and effort to make sure my work is something the company can be proud of. I pay attention to detail and never leave a task unfinished. I believe I would be described as dependable and committed and would be a tremendous asset to the TAL team."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I am the type of person who can identify a problem or workplace challenge and put a plan in place to solve it. [Provide your specific example(s) here.] I believe this is why I was promoted so quickly in my previous role, and why I would do well at TAL."

2.

TAL encourages continued education. Tell me about a time when you took on a new course to study in order to improve your own work performance.

Once you are in your career, it certainly doesn't mean that you need to stop learning. There are many job-related courses available. Talk to the interviewer about the last time you took advantage of these available courses. Discuss your interest in continuing your education even after joining TAL.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I am a huge proponent of professional development and continuing education. We have to stay current in our industry in order to keep up with the fast pace of change and innovation. Our company recently offered the Sandler Sales program to anyone in the company who was interested. I took this workshop and really enjoyed it - plus, my sales increased by 23 percent that year."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Last year, I worked toward my Project Manager certification while working full time. That experience alone greatly increased my multitasking skills, and I'm confident that the PM certification is a strong addition to my already existing management skill set. I believe strongly that it's important for employees to seek training and professional development opportunities in order to make sure they're not only competitive, but also adding the best possible value to their organizations."

3.

When a major problem arises, what is your first reaction?

The interviewer wants to know if your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. How you react will significantly determine how you fit with the existing team at TAL.

Perhaps your computer crashes and you realize you may have just lost all of your hard work. Or maybe you are limited on time and have a deadline rapidly approaching. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you take a methodical approach to problem-solving, rather than reacting in an impulsive way when a problem occurs.

Ryan's Answer #1

"When a major problem arises, my first instinct is to take a step back and absorb what just happened, define it and clearly articulate its consequences. I then go into 'brainstorm mode,' jotting down potential ways to resolve the issue. From there, I can generally use a pros and cons list to determine the best course of action for a fast and amicable resolution."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I have taught myself to be as calm as possible with my first reaction when problems arise. I take some deep breaths, step back and review my options for solving the problem rather than allowing myself to become frustrated or panicked. I often can confer with my team and/or peers on worst-case scenario repercussions, along with how to mitigate them. We typically explore several different scenarios in order to make a collaborative decision on which path forward is best for the company."

4.

We value communication at TAL. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.

On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?

Ryan's Answer #1

"My current supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team also lets me know if I need to clarify anything. Based on this feedback from my current co-workers, I would rate my communication skills as an 8 out of 10. I'm definitely strong in this area, but still have room for improvement as I continue to grow as a leader and become more familiar with the TAL communication values. "

Ryan's Answer #2

"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I believe in being clear, direct and up front with my co-workers. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator - to always be clear but kind - so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."

5.

Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?

Are you the individual who prefers to know what the routine will be, or do you thrive on the challenge and excitement of unpredictability? The interviewer would like to know if your work style will be a fit with TAL.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Actually, I thrive in both environments. I feel I perform well when I have routine, day-to-day tasks that can be fine-tuned and perfected over time, but I really shine when I get to solve problems while dealing with unexpected developments with a project or initiative. A healthy mix of both is the best environment for me."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I like to have a bit of both, honestly. I have a general schedule that I follow in the morning including a team huddle, setting objectives for the day, following up with clients, and then setting new meetings with prospects. That said, the in-between of that framework is always pretty unpredictable. In sales, you never know what might happen, especially when selling a product, as I do. More often than not, there is some challenge or drama throughout the day (or 20), so that variety keeps me on my toes, engaged and excited."

6.

Give me an example of a time when you had to troubleshoot to solve a problem.

Troubleshooting is like reverse engineering - it takes skill, effort, and patience. You have to understand the problem to know how to work backward from it to find a solution.

Knowing how to solve problems with technical equipment is always a solid skill, and a great way to demonstrate your example. Show that you are insightful in your approach.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Last week, while working in our new SAP system, I received a repeated error. I entered in a few different codes, but that didn't solve the issue. I then did a hard reset on my system. Then, I referred to the user guide for additional suggestions. It took a little time and patience, but I was able to resolve the issue without calling the support line and waiting on hold. It felt like a major accomplishment!"

Ryan's Answer #2

"We do not have an IT department in my current office, so whenever a technical issue arises, I am the person my team calls for help. Troubleshooting is fun for me - it's like a new challenge every time. Google and IT-related forums are often my best friend, and with some time and research, I've been able to solve the issues my team brings to me."

7.

At TAL, we value calculated risk. When have you taken an unusual risk in the workplace? What was the outcome?

The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of taking calculated risks in the workplace and that you understand the difference between a calculated risk and a risky choice.

Think of a work-related risk, like trying out a new idea to solve a problem. You may even take on a new responsibility that you're not trained in, which is a little bit of a risk. Give an example that shows you are thoughtful and strategic when taking risks.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Last month I took an unusual risk by accepting an outside sales call when I am an inside sales employee. An existing client asked me to meet him because he had some additional business he was thinking of awarding our company, but he wanted to make sure we had a strong rapport before he handed the business over. I met him in person, and we got along so well that he gave me an additional $1M in annual business. I knew it was a risk because my traditional area of expertise is inside sales accounts, but I knew the reward was greater than the potential risk, so I took it. It was well worth it!"

Michelle's Answer #2

"I certainly took a risk by leaving my strategic account management position to take an entry sales position in another organization. My family thought I was nuts. But, while it was risky, I wanted to get into sales and I wanted to experience a startup environment. It worked out great, as I got basic sales experience, and then have been steadily promoted since. My career has moved in an upward trajectory so much faster since I took that leap of faith."

8.

If TAL hired you today, what would you accomplish first?

When you start a new position, it is essential to set a goal on how you will make a positive impact quickly after being hired. Tell the interviewer what your impact goal is, should you be the successful candidate and hired at TAL.

Ryan's Answer #1

"My first priority would be soaking up as much information about culture, process and KPIs as possible. I'd embark on a 'listening tour' in order to engage in deep conversation with my team and with my colleagues to discover the greatest current needs and how to prioritize them based on company goals for the quarter. Overall, I would strive to meet or exceed all KPIs for the business quarter as efficiently as possible."

Ryan's Answer #2

"If hired today, I would start with analyzing all quantifiable data from the last month, quarter and year to identify any challenges and set a plan to address them. I'd also look for team and company strengths in order to capitalize on or expand them in order to increase the company's bottom line. Overall, I'd be looking for patterns that help me make an immediate contribution to the team and the organization."

9.

Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.

Possessing the skills to improve communication in the workplace is a very valuable asset. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to enhance communication in the workplace. Be sure to tie in how your skills will benefit TAL.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current position I have one particular client who is an exceptionally brief communicator. If I ask two questions, he tends to answer only one. I learned quickly that he would not acknowledge anything for which he did not have a direct answer, so I began to ask him questions in a different way. For example, I would say 'Do you have an answer for me on question X?' and he would say yes or no. We would then go from there. This method was an effective form of communication for that particular client. I have a few approaches that will be useful when working for TAL."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I once had a client who often missed email updates. It caused us to cross our wires a few times. I suggested that we book a quick call every week to review any outstanding areas that need to be addressed, and I followed each call with a status report so that the conversation was documented. This process worked well for us, and I believe it would work well for clients at TAL as well."

10.

We often present to a variety of groups at TAL. What is your comfort level here? Tell me about your experience 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 should it be required in your role with TAL.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my last two roles I have been responsible for regularly presenting to my team of 43 staff as well as to our entire warehouse team of more than 200. I have also been part of my local Toastmasters group, which helped a great deal. Overall, I feel that I am a confident public speaker."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I do not have a lot of experience in presenting to large groups, but I do present regularly to groups averaging around 4 to 6 people. I am a confident speaker in that setting and am sure that I could present in front of many people - I'd be happy to take on that challenge."

11.

At TAL, we greatly value collaboration, which hinges on exceptional communication. Tell me about a time when your communication skills greatly benefited your team.

Strong communication skills are required to be an effective leader. How have your communication skills helped your team in the past, and how will they help the team at TAL?

Ryan's Answer #1

"There's a lot of great research available showing that teams that communicate well are able to complete projects in a quicker and more efficient way than those who don't communicate well. They also are more accurate in their work. This is the kind of teamwork I try to encourage among my colleagues - I believe in regular touch-base appointments - both for the whole team and for individual members - plus regular written communication that can be archived and accessed at a later date for clarity."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Communication is so important within an organization, especially when it comes to implementing major initiatives. We recently rolled out a large organizational change at my company, and I took a transparent approach to communication throughout the process. I asked my team for feedback and buy-in early in the process. We discussed some challenges that could be expected and how to mitigate them, so the team felt well-prepared. When the time came to roll out the change, there were very few surprises and the transition was surprisingly smooth."

12.

When planning, how often do you create alternative scenarios to help you adjust to changing situations?

Being able to problem solve and think outside the box when it comes to changing situations is a very valuable skill set. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to create a variety of potential scenarios.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I feel that it is very important to create alternative scenarios in all situations. One cannot guess what will happen in the end, so it is smart to be prepared for all possible outcomes. I try always to create 'what-ifs' because I know that plans change and fail. Plan B - or C or D - is always ready to go."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I love having contingency plans. It's important for my team to understand that ideally we are going to do X, but if that fails, we need to be ready to make sure Y happens. It takes out the uncertainty at the moment and better prepares everyone to adapt if a problem should arise."

13.

What experience do you have using team-based messaging applications?

There are many options for communication software and messaging applications. Give the interviewer a brief overview of the applications you are experienced in and assure them that you can learn their internal system, should it be new to you.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I have used a variety of team-based messaging applications - they are powerful tools for encouraging and organizing team communication. I am most familiar with Slack, Apple Messenger and Google Hangouts Chat. Most of these programs are fairly user-friendly and intuitive, so I feel confident that no matter which system you use, I can pick it up very quickly."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I do not have a lot of experience with team-based messaging applications besides MSN Messenger years ago. I do pick up on technology quickly and have no concerns when it comes to my ability to learn. What team-based messaging applications do you use at TAL?"

14.

At TAL, we give everyone the opportunity to be a mentor. Have you had the opportunity to teach an important skill to a co-worker?

Interviewers want to hear that you have experience teaching or mentoring other employees one-on-one. You may have taught a new hire all of your department's standard processes. Perhaps you taught a long-standing employee how to use Excel. You may have mentored an employee who was struggling to hit monthly goals. All of these scenarios are great examples to draw on.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I have always enjoyed the opportunity to teach or mentor my colleagues. For example, last month our company introduced a new module in our SAP system, and I could see that one of our team members was having some trouble with the new module. I was familiar with it already, so I offered to help him. We spent his lunch hour for the next three days working on it. He eventually perfected his interaction with the module, and he's now teaching others."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Absolutely. In each of my two previous roles, I have been tasked with leading a small team. I have worked on everything from appointment-setting and overcoming objections to price negotiations with those respective teams. What's more, I always look for an opportunity to connect with new team members. I try to always invite them out for coffee so they not only have a friendly face in the office, but also know that I can be a resource for them. I was promoted from their role, so I am always happy to share how I did it on such a fast timeline and what I've found effective that can help them be a change-maker in the company, too."

15.

When have you shown a willingness to learn a new method or new approach to solving a problem?

It is a great skill to have when you can approach a problem in a new way. Discuss with the interviewer your ability to approach a problem using new methods.

Ryan's Answer #1

"When our company came under new management last year, many new methods and policies were implemented. As a result, I was able to learn many new approaches to our challenges in sales and customer management. Ultimately, they were very effective, and I enjoyed the process of taking a different approach and trying something innovative."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Our company switched to an SAP system last year that I was not familiar with. I enrolled myself in a 4-week evening course at our local community college so that I could quickly learn the system without it affecting my performance at work. It helped a great deal, and my employers were impressed with my willingness to learn. In addition, I was able to share with colleagues new ways to employ the system to solve some of their day-to-day business challenges."

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Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
Behavioral
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Leadership
All Interview Topics
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Interview Q&As
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Line Worker
30 TAL Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.

Interview Questions

  1. How would your current or former supervisor describe your work ethic?
  2. TAL encourages continued education. Tell me about a time when you took on a new course to study in order to improve your own work performance.
  3. When a major problem arises, what is your first reaction?
  4. We value communication at TAL. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
  5. Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?
  6. Give me an example of a time when you had to troubleshoot to solve a problem.
  7. At TAL, we value calculated risk. When have you taken an unusual risk in the workplace? What was the outcome?
  8. If TAL hired you today, what would you accomplish first?
  9. Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.
  10. We often present to a variety of groups at TAL. What is your comfort level here? Tell me about your experience giving presentations in front of large groups.
  11. At TAL, we greatly value collaboration, which hinges on exceptional communication. Tell me about a time when your communication skills greatly benefited your team.
  12. When planning, how often do you create alternative scenarios to help you adjust to changing situations?
  13. What experience do you have using team-based messaging applications?
  14. At TAL, we give everyone the opportunity to be a mentor. Have you had the opportunity to teach an important skill to a co-worker?
  15. When have you shown a willingness to learn a new method or new approach to solving a problem?
  16. How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?
  17. How can TAL motivate you, as a leader?
  18. How do you handle a situation where your supervisor does not properly communicate information to you?
  19. When entering a new job, describe how you build relationships with your new coworkers and supervisors.
  20. At TAL, we take great pride in how our team members present themselves in writing. How would you describe your written communication skills?
  21. We value effective communication at TAL. Would you say you are a better oral or written communicator?
  22. Tell me about an error or mistake you made because of a breakdown in communication from you or one of your team members.
  23. At your current or former place of employment, how important was communication and dealing with others?
  24. Work volumes can become very high at TAL. How do you handle a larger than average workload?
  25. How often do you discuss work with your colleagues, in order to think up new systems and styles of working?
  26. We appreciate innovative thinking at TAL. When have you created a new product or service?
  27. Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?
  28. If you were given a choice, which work related task would you leave for last? Why?
  29. How can TAL motivate you, as a leader?
  30. What excites you?
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