28 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 28
What challenges do you anticipate in this new role with Company ABC?
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How to Answer
Interviewers at Company ABC want to hear that you understand the job description and are capable of navigating challenges at work. To build their confidence in your ability, talk about the challenges you expect based on your knowledge of the position and your experience. Then offer up an example of how you have dealt with problems in the past.
"I am looking forward to using my experience as a sales associate to help increase product visibility and exceed sales quotas at Company ABC. I am motivated by the challenge of meeting strict deadlines for client demands. When I was working for my previous company, I prioritized listening to customer needs and making sure I was clear on client expectations. I was so meticulous about details, checking my numbers at the end of every week and ensuring my clients were fully stocked with all of the products they needed."
"Because this is a new industry for me, I am expecting that the biggest challenge will be in learning the industry lingo, behaviors, and complex needs. I am excited to learn and have already started studying up on industry-related topics."
Think about your typical day-to-day in your current or most recent role. Reflect on how your work ethic helped you to stay organized and tackle challenging projects. Connect your past experiences to what you expect to experience while working for Company ABC.
"I like to take time to prepare for the week by organizing my schedule every Monday morning. I make sure all of my meetings are marked on my calendar and set reminders about important deadlines. I understand that changes can interrupt my daily flow, and I can adapt and stay calm when those shifts occur throughout the week. I am efficient, getting my work done within 40 hours each week. I have also proven myself to be flexible to stay late when I need to finish a project or if one of my co-workers needs assistance."
"My typical work week is always non-typical! My days range from making client phone calls, site visits, and answering questions and concerns via email. Client management is the key to what I do."
It is essential that you do your homework before an interview! Company ABC wants individuals who are reliable and also those who are willing to work hard to get the job done right. You want them to know that you fit the profile of the type of candidate for which they are looking.
But first, you want to impress them with your company knowledge. After a little research, you will learn about their mission to create new products and services to meet the needs of their customers.
Review the website and then consider checking out what people are saying about them on glassdoor.com. Company ABC wants to hear about the good things future employees are looking forward to experiencing! It will show them that you are not looking for just any job.
"I'm excited to work for a company who cares about their impact on the environment. I'm excited to join a team that shares the same values as me. Your mission stood out to me because I also value providing the best service to customers and creating innovative solutions to problems. Your reputation for meeting your customer's needs, by making changes to your products, and listening to them is impressive!"
"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 hospitality while giving me an opportunity to advance in my management skills."
What goals would you like to accomplish while working for Company ABC?
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If you are looking for opportunities to advance your career, Company ABC is a great place to start! They are interested in hearing about how you want to grow within the company. You may be taking the next step in your career or starting out fresh out of college. It's important to do your company research before interviewing and identify how they will help you reach your goals.
"After looking through your careers I was excited to find out that your mission is very much in line with my career goals. Your leadership development program is exactly what I need to improve my management and team building skills. I want to grow my career in merchandising, eventually moving into a management role. I feel confident that working for you will help me to cultivate my skills so that I can take my career to that next step."
"My primary career goal is to find a position where I can stay long term while making an impact on the company's profitability. Because Company ABC has such a strong reputation for workplace culture, it fits perfectly with my desires for a long-term fit."
Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our own weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
"I believe I could improve on some technical skills including Excel and PowerPoint. Currently I am at a beginner to intermediate level; however, I would be more comfortable at an advanced level. I have enrolled myself in an evening/weekend workshop for the next six weeks. We will see how stellar my skills are after that course!"
"Sometimes I have difficulty asking for help from co-workers. I like having control over my daily tasks and taking on new projects, but I'm not always willing to admit when I have taken on too much. When I made a mistake because I was juggling too many projects, I learned that it's okay to ask for help. I'm learning how to organize myself better and communicate what I need from my team. This skill has helped me be more effective at my job, and it's helped my team work together even better than before!"
6. What is your greatest strength? How will it help you make a difference at Company ABC? The interviewer at Company ABC would like to know your stand-out skills and where you put the most value when it comes to your offerings as a candidate. Think of the traits that have helped you succeed in the past. You can draw from your experiences in school or activities if you lack in work experience. Here is an answer example: "I have great people skills, and I make a point to be positive to help boost morale when other people on my team are struggling. I'm a good listener, and I work hard to manage conflict with grace and ease whenever an issue arises with a client or a co-worker. All of my skills will help increase productivity by keeping the work environment positive. I am focused on providing the best quality in my work, which rubs off on my co-workers because my work ethic motivates them." Here is an answer example: Some great strengths you may have:
- Person of Accountability
- Invested in Culture
- Positive Mindset
- Decisive7. The work environment at Company ABC can be fast-paced at times. How do you handle stress? The interviewer wants to hear that you can keep up in an ever-changing, fast-moving environment. They want to hear that you will be able to handle the pressure and that you have experience dealing with this type of work environment. Share a few tips that have helped you in the past. Here is an answer example: "I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress." Here is an answer example: "Stress is part of any demanding job, and I embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."8. At Company ABC we understand that conflict can arise when you're working closely with others on a team. Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with an issue while working with others. Responding to a conflict can be tough, especially in a team environment where you want to be sensitive not to step on any toes. Share an example of a conflict that occurred within your department or between you and a co-worker that you effectively resolved. Explain the situation and how your actions resulted in a resolution or a compromise. Here is an answer example: "My coworker was a great salesman but horrible at the administrative side. He made so many mistakes and didn't seem to care. It bothered me because I take such pride in the quality of my work. I decided to talk with him and found out that he wasn't very clear on expectations or how to do some of the basic aspects of the paperwork for each sale. He ended up getting some additional training to get on the same page as the rest of the team." Here is an answer example: "In my current position there has been a concern with workplace bullying, and there are a particular group of individuals who 'lead the pack,' so to speak. The situation became out of control a few months ago, and I had to involve human resources as well as conduct a few exit interviews. It is never easy having to terminate employees; however, if they are causing conflict, it is always the best choice in the end."9. Tell me about a time when your actions resulted in greater efficiencies of your team. Teamwork is essential when working in the food and beverage industry. To ensure that products meet quality standards at Company ABC, teams within every department must cooperate and communicate effectively. The goal is always to keep customers happy. Share a time when you made a difference on your team. Here is an answer example: "When I was working as a brand ambassador for a local snack company, I moved quickly to unload and organize the products. I noticed that by keeping products organized, we were able to save some time preparing and setting up for events. I made a point to keep all products to make the distribution process go much more smoothly." Here is an answer example: "I am a very organized individual so when I was asked to help with the team schedule; I was very excited to make a difference! I was able to reduce a significant amount of overtime, and eliminated split shifts all-together."10. What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Company ABC is looking for individuals who are motivated. Whether your accomplishment is related to school, work or volunteer experience, you can give an example that demonstrates your determination and ability to overcome obstacles. Often an achievement is honored through receiving high praise from a manager or an award. Numbers speak volumes! Whenever you are able, tangibly explain the results, offering up a concrete example of what your achievement looked like to help the interviewer at Company ABC get a much clearer picture of your success. Here is an answer example: "I was the top sales leader when at my most recent company. I think the reason I did so well was my consistency in following up with customers. I checked in with them daily, also checking to make sure I was meeting my own personal sales goals on a weekly basis. My contribution helped them increase sales that year by 25%!" Here is an answer example: "The greatest accomplishment in my career was graduating University as an honors student while still working full time in a related field. I was top of my class, and working full time. This achievement showed me that I could dedicate myself to my career, and reach the goals that I set for myself. It felt great to accomplish so much and be recognized for my dedication."11. Why are you leaving your current job? Be honest about your situation using discretion with what you share. If you are leaving because you had issues with your manager, talk about it professionally. Company ABC wants to hear that you are interested in growth opportunities or broadening your skills. Be specific about how this new position will help you take your career to the next level. Here is an answer example: "I decided to look for other jobs because I have already been promoted twice and there is no more room for growth. This position at Company ABC will give me more experience as a manager and help me to cultivate my leadership skills." Here is an answer example: "I am passively looking for a new opportunity that will offer continued education and growth opportunities. Also, I am looking for compensation advancement as I have hit the peak of my earnings in my current company."12. What do you think you will enjoy most about working in the food and beverage industry? In our consumer culture, the food and beverage industry continues to thrive on a national and a global level. There are endless opportunities for growth at Company ABC because business is thriving and the demand for their products is on the rise. Do your research on the company to find out how they compare to their competition. If you are new to the industry, you may want to take some time to learn more about how your position will relate to the bigger picture of manufacturing, sales or marketing of the products. Here is an answer example: "I am excited to work in the food and beverage industry because there is an opportunity for growth. When I worked at a food processing company, I started out working in the warehouse and was promoted within six months to a delivery driver. When I found out about the delivery supervisor position with Company ABC I was immediately interested. It is so motivating to work within an industry that recognizes my potential and my abilities, giving me ample opportunity to grow my career." Here is an answer example: "When it comes to the food and beverage industry I love that it is so innovative and ever-changing! There are always new products being introduced which keep things interesting. I enjoy learning, so this is certainly the industry for me to be in."13. How would your co-workers describe you? This question gives you an opportunity to show off your best qualities. Take a moment to reflect on your relationships with your co-workers. Company ABC is looking for individuals who are strong communicators and innovative leaders. Think about how your work ethic had a positive effect on everyone on your team. Here is an answer example: "My co-workers respect me for my ability to navigate obstacles and solve problems. When I am working on ABC project, I always pay close attention to detail, double checking my work for any mistakes. My co-workers appreciate that I think about the big picture, being considerate of how my work will affect their jobs. I am highly collaborative with a great attitude." Here is an answer example: "All of the colleagues I have worked with have shared a very respectful relationship with me. We have shared the goals and knowledge required to accomplish our projects the best we can. I believe that my current co-workers would best describe me as collaborative and creative."14. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? This question can trip some people up because it is open-ended. Open-ended questions like this give you the chance to tell a story. When you talk about yourself, you want to share information that the interviewer at Company ABC will find exciting and relevant to the position. Engage the interviewer by telling your story with enthusiasm! Consider sharing a skill you developed that will be useful for this position. Here is an answer example: " Here is an answer example: "I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communications and Marketing from UBC in 2009. Since then, I have been actively making my way to a leadership role in social media marketing within the hotel and hospitality industry. I am an energetic and positive person, ready to make a difference in a growing organization."15. What are some of the challenges that the food and beverage industry face today? With the increase in food allergies and the increase in knowledge of things like hydrogenated oils are bad for your health, the food and beverage industry faces the pressures of keeping the public happy while staying true to their products. Do your research before the interview to make sure you are aware of some of the challenges within the industry. You may want to review press releases or news articles about Company ABC to learn about any recent events or challenging situations they are facing. Here is an answer example: "I am impressed by the way your company has adapted ABC product for individuals with gluten intolerance. I know that the increasing awareness of these types of allergies and auto-immune diseases is taking a toll on the sales for some companies because people are becoming so health conscious. It's great to hear that you are so competitive within the industry, always taking an innovative approach to making changes to ABC product." Here is an answer example: "I believe that the biggest challenge that the food and beverage industry faces today is the fast-changing trends in food and beverage. Everyone is working so hard to come up with the latest and greatest thing that it's very challenging to remain a trailblazer in the market."16. Tell me about an idea you implemented in the past that made an impact. Coming up with ideas to increase productivity, efficiency and save time and energy is a great way to make an impact on your coworkers and the company. Having the ability to see problems as opportunities is a skill that can make you an essential asset to Company ABC. Think of a time you had a chance to make a difference by making a change in a process or procedure. Here is an answer example: "Since customers are so much more concerned about their long-term health, I helped my current company come up with a marketing campaign for ABC product to appeal to the health concerns of the public. I conducted market research, using surveys to identify the specific health concerns of individuals who buy our products. By promoting our new health-conscious recipe, we were able to increase sales by 15% that year!" Here is an answer example: "In my previous role I was fortunate enough to introduce my company to the idea of a gold level service where, in addition to our general customer service, we added additional options. Our customer base responded very positively, and we kept the program running for a few years."17. Do you have experience training others? Because Company ABC is growing at such a rapid pace, as they hire new staff, your manager may ask you to train new employees. If you have experience, talk about how you used your strengths and skills to teach others. If you don't have experience with training, you can share how you will demonstrate, listen and observe others throughout the training process. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I trained two individuals on XYZ skill in my previous job. First I had them shadow me so that they could see what I was doing. I made myself very approachable by making sure they felt comfortable asking questions, speaking slowly and demonstrating. I asked them if they wanted to try while I shadowed them. This was a very effective way to train, and I enjoyed it very much!" Here is an answer example: "I have not been in a role senior enough to train others in the past, but I believe that I will be a strong trainer and mentor in the future. I care about the progress of my colleagues and am a patient teacher."18. How do you handle customer complaints? If you are interviewing for a customer facing role at Company ABC, you want to show off your ability to deal with conflict and nurture those professional 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 a problem with a shipment. 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." Here is an answer example: "If I have a customer complaint, I have been trained to actively listen, do not interrupt, and repeat back to the client in their own words. This technique prevents further misunderstanding and helps the client to feel they are listened to and cared for."19. How do you handle situations that could cause you to be tardy or absent? The food and beverage industry requires people and processes to operate promptly. Remember, you are a part of a much larger operation. If you are running behind, you could slow down production. Give an example that will show Company ABC that you plan and take a proactive approach to these types of situations. Here is an answer example: "I always arrive to work at least 15 minutes before I am expected to be there, to give me extra time in case something happens. I also make sure I have the numbers of my co-workers and boss so that I can call to let them know if I'm stuck or might be running late." Here is an answer example: "I was raised to be early, at all times. I am well-scheduled and understand the negative impact that my tardiness can cause. If I am to be late, I am sure to call my manager, or whoever will be affected by the situation. I will also put in extra hours when necessary."20. It's important for shift changes to go smoothly at Company ABC to maintain productivity. How do you make sure transitions are seamless? Shift work can be tricky in the food and beverage industry. If someone leaves a mess or if they leave their work half finished and you don't know where to begin, you can waste valuable time scrambling to pick up the pieces. Company ABC doesn't want to waste any time during shift changes, because time is money. Give an example that demonstrates that you are mindful of the transitions. Here is an answer example: "When I worked as a merchandiser, I was part-time and shared the responsibilities with a team of four people. I took time to explain what I was working on to my co-workers whenever I had to end my shift in the middle of a project. I also left notes that were easy to understand and kept my workspace tidy." Here is an answer example: "Strong scheduling is the most important factor in ensuring transitions are seamless. In addition to solid scheduling, is everyone's willingness to jump in and help when volumes are higher than average or when staff is shorter than expected."21. At Company ABC we value individuals who take initiative. Can you give me an example of a time you did something without being asked? Taking the initiative demonstrates leadership ability. Even if you are working as a delivery driver, there is always an opportunity to be proactive in the way you approach your work. Company ABC wants to hire individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities, because they invest in their employees and often promote from within. Impress the interviewer by showing how you manage your workload and take action before anyone has the chance to ask you first. Here is an answer example: "I noticed the numbers were off on a shipment I was delivering to a customer. They had ordered 30 cases, and we were only delivering 25. When I made the delivery, I let the customer know we would deliver the additional cases the next day and I called my manager to find out what went wrong. My manager and the client appreciated my sense of urgency and my ability to take action after making that observation." Here is an answer example: "I often find myself taking the initiative without being asked. This will include situations like training staff members on a new procedure, calling customers to follow up on their orders, or taking random inventory counts."22. There may be times when you are asked to stay late, work weekends or overtime, due to fluctuations in the schedule and shift changes at Company ABC. What is your availability? The hours you would be expected to work at Company ABC largely depends on which department you will be working in. If you're working in production or delivery, you will most likely be required to do shift work, possibly working on weekends. If you work in the corporate office, you may be salary, which often means working long hours. If you're not sure what to expect from the schedule, now is the time to ask! Here is an answer example: "I am excited about the opportunity to work for Company ABC and I am available to work whatever hours are required to get the job done. Can you tell me more about what I can expect from the schedule? I am flexible, and I am comfortable with working long hours." Here is an answer example: "The only restriction that I currently have on my schedule is Thursday evenings as I take my son to tutoring those evenings. Other than this, I am flexible with my availability. Having a family, I do ask for reasonable notice to schedule changes."23. How would you handle an issue with a policy or procedure? Being adaptable to the food and beverage industry is essential. Company ABC strives to keep up with their customers by improving their products, making changes in policies or procedures inevitable. This means policies can change quickly and you will be expected to adapt. The interviewer wants to hear how you will respond when you disagree with the way something is handled or executed. Here is an answer example: "I would first talk with my manager to make sure I understood the expectation correctly. It could be that I was interpreting it wrong or that there was some miscommunication. If I still had an issue, I would take some time to think about how I can deal with it. I've learned to pick my battles and to be adaptable as much as I can." Here is an answer example: "I know well enough at this point in my career that policies and procedures are in place for a reason. If I truly don't understand the reasoning behind the policy, I will ask for further clarification in a respectful and open-minded way."24. We strive to help our employees create a healthy work/life balance at Company ABC. How do you balance life and work? Company ABC cares about their employees working hard to build connections with their customers and create a sense of community within the workplace. Even in healthy work culture, it can be challenging to balance your work with the rest of your life. Explain how you balance your life in your current or past roles. Here is an answer example: "I am methodical about my work and my schedule. I set reminders on my calendar to stay organized and on-time, relying on my google calendar and my to-do list. I make sure I can make it to soccer practice each week so that I can play in the games on the weekends." Here is an answer example: "I find that with the right company, it's pretty simple to balance life and work. When I enjoy what I do, the work doesn't feel like a chore. I am always sure that when at home, my family gets my attention first. I take time on the weekends to do things for myself and ensure that I regenerate before the work week begins."25. 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." 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."26. How do you believe your coworkers would describe you? You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. As you prepare for this question, picture a few scenarios that have occurred in your current or previous position. Maybe you are encouraging and motivating to your coworkers when they are having a bad day.
If you have proven yourself reliable, and people can depend on you to be on time, share it! Think about some of the qualities you enjoy in a coworker and share how you think you embodied some of those qualities. Here is an answer example: "I believe that my coworkers would describe me as curious, confident, and creative! I put a lot of effort into my work and always want my clients to be happy with their end product. I conduct a great deal of research into new marketing trends to ensure that I am delivering the best, most up-to-date solutions to my client projects." Here is an answer example: "I believe my coworkers would describe me as dedicated, trustworthy and kind. When you call my references, I strongly believe that they will say the same things about me. I am a proud employee and promise to be a great brand ambassador for your company."27. When have you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem? Talk to the interviewer about a time that you solved a problem, creatively. Were you happy with the outcome? What were the steps that you took to ensure your success? Here is an answer example: "In my current position we saw a decrease in clients due to a local economic downturn. I recommended to our head office that we begin to generate business outside of our region for the first time in many years. They agreed, and the idea turned things around for us that fiscal year." Here is an answer example: "I once had to deal with a space issue in our warehouse. We arranged and re-arranged several times and could not make it work. I thought outside the box and rented some outside pod storage until we were back to normal inventory levels."28. Company ABC is asking for 8 years of industry experience and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position? To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This question is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years! Here is an answer example: "Although I have five years' experience vs. eight years' experience I can do this job well. In my previous role, I was outperforming colleagues who had 12 years of experience. To me, it's all about drive and ability to be a quick study. I have all of these qualities and more." Here is an answer example: "Along with my five years working in this industry, I have worked in related industries my entire career. Also, I hope that my graduate degree gives me a little boost in experience over the required undergraduate degree."
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