The interviewer would like to know that you take an interest in the overall goals of the company. Engaged employees are always the most productive. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of being an involved team member by assisting, in some way, to the end goal of the corporation.
"My most recent employer had a solid interest in giving back to the community. So much so that we, as a group, logged our volunteer hours and it was treated as another KPI. We would review our community contributions on a quarterly basis. Our goal was always to hit a minimum 500 volunteer hours per quarter which meant that everyone would volunteer one day per month. It was a great initiative and one that I happily participated in."
"Every quarter, I commit to working overtime to complete our quarterly inventory counts. Our goal is to be the store with the most accurate inventory count, and we have been able to achieve that for the past two years."
"I once challenged and pushed my team to a 15% increase in productivity on the last day of the month, to meet our production goal. It was a tough challenge, but we all felt great about the accomplishment in the end."
"In my current role, all of our client projects are handled collaboratively, through cross-functioning teams. We all contribute in our own way to the final project. My biggest contribution has been in guiding and mentoring the apprentices who come to our department. I encourage them to participate in brainstorm meetings, and to whiteboard with us. By actively participating in open workplace culture, we have seen great ideas come from even the most junior marketers."
"Every holiday season our company sets a goal to raise $50K for the children's hospital. I contributed by committing to ask every customer at the till if they could donate $1, $3, or $5 for the efforts. We surpassed our goal this year, and I am proud of my contribution towards that target."
"As a senior sales team member, I am held very accountable for company-wide goals. When we were having a slow month, I took it upon myself to come in early and stay late to get my numbers, and therefore my team's numbers, up. This motivated the vast majority of the sales staff to take the same approach, without direction from leadership. Because of everyone banding together on our terms, we were able to exceed our monthly quota by 124%."
"I have our school district's goals in mind every day; however, even more so when I am building or tweaking curriculum. Recently we went through some staff changes, and I inherited a couple of additional classes. I kept the district's goals in mind while also considering the students' needs."
It is imperative to be goal-oriented and determined but even more critical is to support your coworkers in their professional endeavors openly. This support is how teams succeed! What do you do, outside of your own goals, to ensure that everyone on your team is successful? Assure the interviewer that you are always willing to keep the team, or company as a whole, in mind.
"I enjoy seeing my coworkers succeed and will help them whenever possible. One way that I support my coworkers is to help them keep organized by making suggestions on new tools that I have discovered. I had one coworker with a brand new smartphone, and she wasn't sure all the ways it could be utilized to make her day better. I spent my lunch hour helping her set it up. She was golden, after that!"
"I work closely with accounts payable, ensuring our bills are paid on time. However, my coworker in accounts receivable was struggling to obtain payments from customers. I stepped in and helped her make collection calls one day, knowing that my work could wait until tomorrow. I could see she was drowning and discouraged, so it was the team-oriented thing to do."
"When a new hire starts, I have become the de-facto go-to for shadowing. I always make sure to introduce myself to new-hires immediately. I schedule time for them to sit down with me and shadow what I do and how I do it. I want to see everyone succeed and, since there is no real training program in our company, I feel I need to be the change maker in the organization."
"Nearing the end of Q4 last year, all of those who had not reached their content quota were facing potential layoff. I was 123% to quota, and my co-worker was struggling at 98%. I transferred a small client to him which pushed him to 104%. He was a strong team member, and I didn't want to see him lose his job for one difficult year."
"I had a coworker with a customer who tried on nearly everything in the store! She didn't end up buying a thing but left the change room a complete disaster. I helped my colleague fold and put everything away. If she were on her own, it would have taken her off the floor for so long that she would have lost out on a ton of potential commission."
"As a sales manager, my team is only as successful as the lowest producing employee. It is imperative that my entire team is motivated, engaged, and on point with their KPIs. Last month I hired a new employee who was struggling significantly with sales. I sat him down and realized that he simply didn't understand the product. We spent a few hours together over that next week learning the product. In the end, his sales increased by 64%, and he was significantly more confident. It helped the team morale as well."
"I recently helped a coworker with marking their students' final papers. She had encountered a health issue earlier and, due to that, was running behind on her work. It always feels nice to help someone out and, I know she would return the favor if I ever needed."
The interviewer would like to know what motivates you to be an over-achiever in the workplace. We all want recognition in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Perhaps you enjoy surprise gifts, financial perks, public attention, kind words, added responsibilities, or title promotions. Share with the interviewer how you would like recognition for your hard work.
"I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to hear words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work matters."
"I am very simple. I do not require any formal recognition, but kind words from my coworkers and superiors will keep me motivated and working hard."
"The success of my team is a direct reflection of my success as a manager. For that reason, I prefer that my team receive accolades for a job well done. For instance, our group exceeded our targets for the past business quarter. Thus we were collectively rewarded. This method of recognition is my preference."
"I feel best when I know how my hard work has positively impacted another person. In my current role, our marketing director will often share our customer satisfaction surveys in our office meetings. If my name is mention, I cannot help but grin from ear to ear."
"Having worked in a retail environment, I am accustomed to being acknowledged publicly such as a company-wide email stating that I was top in sales. I have also received store credits and gift certificates for my hard work. Those types of credits are always fun to receive."
"I am a highly competitive person who is compensation driven. I like to recognition for my accomplishments through monetary bonus' or contests where the stakes are high."
"I am not one to enjoy the limelight. If you catch me doing a great job, I like a note of recognition or to be pulled aside and acknowledged."
Being able to face a challenging or difficult 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. Your answer can be big or small. You don't need a grandiose example to make an impact.
"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."
"The most challenging accomplishment I achieved was the fluid communication created in my current office. I did this through creating an online memo board and incorporating new methods of communication such as iCalendar and setting everyone up on Hangout. When I first started, communication was so poor that it greatly affected the company's profits. By creating this smooth communication, we were able to increase sales by 155% in the first year."
"My most challenging accomplishment was to boost employee morale, lower turnover and increase productivity in the first 90 days of starting my current role. The previous management had been quite tumultuous and, after the year they had, it was not easy to take over, gain their trust, and put a smile back on their faces. Now, we run a well-oiled machine, and I feel it couldn't have gone better."
"The most challenging accomplishment for me to achieve, as a marketer, has been staying on top of shifts in trends related to social media marketing and paid advertising. For instance, the Facebook algorithms are constantly changing, so it's challenging to become a subject matter expert in that arena. For this reason, I took three workshops this year just to ensure my knowledge was current and helpful for my clients."
"In my previous role, as a sales associate for a local chocolatier, I was tasked to memorize the ingredients in every one of our products. There were over 100 varieties! I took my workbook home, hunkered down for the entire weekend, and came to my first day on the job with everything memorized to a tee! My new manager was very impressed."
"So far, I would say the most challenging accomplishment has been to lead the scoreboard continually. I made it my goal to be on top of the scoreboard at least four of the five days in the work week so that I would have the highest KPI scorecard to read each Monday morning sales huddle. By doing so, I received a promotion to the next position in record time. I may have received the promotion the fastest, but it was probably not the easiest on the road there!"
"I believe the most challenging career achievement has been moving from the substitute list to a full time, permanent teaching opportunity. Our school district is oversaturated and competitive. I believe my success in landing a full-time role was because of the diversity I offer having expertise in science and language arts."
The interviewer would like to know that you would be ready to make an impact in their organization, immediately after being hired. It's important to come to an interview with a 30-90 day strategic plan on how you would impact the business, should you be the successful candidate. Tell the interviewer what your impact goal is, should you be the successful candidate.
"I know you mentioned that the average tenure in this position, before promotion, is anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. I intend to prove over the first three months that I am a rockstar in the organization and would be of greater benefit to you in an account executive role than I am in a sales development role."
"If hired today, I would start with analyzing all quantifiable data from the last month, quarter, and year to identify any bottlenecks or shortfalls in productivity. I would make corrections from there. Perhaps this will be in the form of creating better processes, implementing new applications for productivity, or simplifying the vendor process. This work will, of course, coincide with your biggest pain-points at the moment."
"You mentioned earlier that staff training and retention had become a pressure point for your organization. I considered that and created a 90-day plan to increase retention while streamlining the training process via an online training manual with self-guided lessons. Would you like to take a deeper look?"
"I created a strategic plan for you to take a look at, using one of your biggest clients as an example. This outline shows how I can make an impact as your Head of Marketing in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. First and foremost, my focus would be on getting to know your highest-spending clients by booking face to face meetings with them. It would be a discovery meeting where I would set out to see where we could serve them better, and increase their marketing spend in areas they were lacking."
"If you hired me today, I would dive right into the training manual, learning all of your products and pricing. I would study your best selling products and work on my sales scripts."
"When we were speaking earlier, about sales targets in this position, you mentioned that most new sales professionals begin to hit their KPI's after 120 days. If hired today, my goal would be to exceed my KPI's after the first 90 days. I plan to make a positive impact very quickly by getting on the phone, getting to know my clients, and discovering their needs immediately. I will upsell from there."
"The first thing I would do is acquaint myself with my students, and their parents. The better understanding I have of my class and the dynamics, the more effective of an educator I can be."
The interviewer would like to know if you are giving of your time in the sense of volunteering. Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness which are all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer. If you do have volunteer experience: "For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time." If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is imperative to take care of the needs of the family."
"For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."
"I recently volunteered to be on our business' social committee. Part of what we do it raise funds for local schools and other needs for the community. I am new to volunteering but plan to dedicate myself more often to giving back to others. Do you have a volunteer program set up at your office, or any suggestions on ways that I can give back?"
"I recently headed up a day of volunteering for myself and my team. Twelve of us spent the day working at the local food bank, preparing and serving lunch for over 100 of our city's homeless population. I am currently putting a plan in place for us to have a standing commitment with the shelter, coming in once per month to help out. It's important to me that our teamwork for the good of others, and not be focused solely on our own needs."
"I help people out when the opportunity presents itself, rather than commit to a formal volunteer role. My strengths are in marketing and content writing so, for that reason, I look for opportunities that will allow me to share these strengths with others. Most recently I helped a single mom who lost her job by re-doing her resume and helping her to fix up her personal brand. It made all the difference in her level of confidence, and she landed a job shortly after."
"Every Monday I volunteer at the local animal shelter! I love animals so much, which is a big reason why I am applying to work at your pet store. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to help animals."
"For the past two years, I have helped set up a coat drive in our office. Every winter we collect hundreds of coats and other items for warmth and food. Each January, our office gathers with increasing strength to distribute these "warmth kits" to different shelters and soup kitchens throughout the city. We are not only helping those less fortunate but also we can make a personal connection with another human. Humanity is often forgotten, and this is a great way to remember how we are connected."
"Aside from being a teacher, I am also the parent of two young kids. Their preschool is often running community fundraising events. This year I volunteered to be their treasurer. It doesn't take up much of my time, but it does feel great to be an active parent helper."
The interviewer would like to know about your willingness to go over and above for your employer, without being prompted to do so. Display to the interviewer that you can do more than just the bare minimum. Show that you are able to react appropriately when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.
"I often go above and beyond expectations. Most recently, I agreed to cover for a co-worker who was on short-term medical leave. I worked 10 hour days for two weeks so that our work did not suffer any setbacks."
"I enjoy going above and beyond in my work. In my last position, I regularly called customers just to check in and see how they were doing, even if there was no news or issues with our service to discuss. I believe going above and beyond for customers, and regular touch-base is what kept them loyal to us."
"Last week I noticed that my manager had not completed the schedule for the following week. Some of the staff were complaining that they didn't have their work schedule yet. Rather than going to my manager with the complaint, I offered to take on some of her workload so that she would have the time to complete the schedule. We worked together for a couple of overtime hours that day and were able to catch her up on everything. It felt good to help."
"One of my clients had committed to a marketing package that did not include any social media management. It's an expensive commitment, and they were on the fence. I decided to offer them a free social management content calendar, just to show them what I could do. My boss was delighted with this decision because just a week later, the client committed to a full six months of service from our marketing group."
"The clothing store which I work has a very crowded sales floor, and some customers with mobility issues could not navigate around the store very well. I had a customer come in, in a wheelchair. Seeing her frustrated with the store layout, I approached her and offered to bring her items that I thought she might like. She had a successful 'personal shopper' experience and thanked me on her way out, for my empathy and assistance."
"During sales calls with a prospect or a touch base with an existing customer, I will often hear them mention a feature that would sweeten the software for them. I created a Google Sheet with these suggestions as well as who made them, why, and in what context. I then shared this document with the product team and the other member of our sales team to help them keep a finger on the pulse of what our customer base is seeking. Now, most everyone updates the spreadsheet with feedback, and it is the primary source from which the product team chooses new features to build out."
"This year, our French teacher, who was also the girl's soccer coach, suffered a heart attack and needed to take medical leave. I jumped in and took over as the soccer coach. The girls worked so hard to qualify for Nationals, and I didn't want to see their dream crushed due to circumstances out of their control. It was a time commitment and sacrifice for me but worth every minute. We won Nationals!"
It is essential to show the interviewer that you are a team player. Talk about a time that you were recently expected to achieve a goal in a team setting. Discuss how you went above and beyond to ensure that your contribution made a difference.
"Last month our company asked upper management to complete a full inventory audit. There were 4 of us in total and so we broke the audit requirements into shifts. These shifts had to take place when the warehouse was not in its daily operations. In the end, there was one additional shift that nobody wanted to take. I volunteered myself to do that shift to show my dedication to my job and my co-workers. The gesture was appreciated, and the audit completed on time."
"Before my arrival in my current role, our office faced a great deal of disorganization. The biggest contribution that I made was creating a new filing system, introducing Trello - a web-based project management application, and then training the team on how to properly utilize the application."
"My most significant contribution to my last team came in the form of introducing a transformational leadership style. This type of leadership means that I spent my time working on inspiring my squad, encouraging effective communication, and creating a comfortable environment by helping my team members to ask the right questions. I am considered a blue-sky thinker and like to promote this way of thinking with my team."
"My most notable contribution was my ability to analyze and predict market trends, and then create a successful marketing strategy for a challenging product that nobody else wanted to tackle. As a marketer, the most significant growth comes from taking on projects that may seem undesirable, and completely knocking them out of the park. This initiative showed my team that it's worthwhile to exit your comfort zone."
"I was the key-holder for a family run print and copy business. We had many part-time employees because the owner liked to hire students. Often they were not trained properly and put in front of customers too soon. I took it upon myself to create a training binder that the employees could reference, should they have a question when the owner was not around. This binder increased the quality of customer service we delivered while reducing employee turnover."
"In my sales pod, I am the only one with financial industry experience, so I have made it my mission to create educational materials for the rest of the pod so they can feel not only more comfortable but come off as more confident and natural when they are making their pitches to our finance clients. I was not asked to do this, but I knew it would benefit everyone and the company as a whole if we portray ourselves most professionally."
"I was able to contribute to my team by exceeding the conventional expectations of a teacher. I will assist other teachers with marking, should they be falling behind. I will help on sports trips, acting as an additional chaperone. Also, if we introduce new faculty members, I will take them under my wing, ensuring they feel comfortable in their first few weeks on the job."
The interviewer would like to know about your previous success with cost-cutting. Every company wants to run as lean as possible, and they want to see that you are conscious of this factor as well. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of understanding the importance of this practice and give a strong example of a time when you have done so.
"The greatest cost-cutting measurement that I accomplished at work was through new suggestions for theft prevention. Since we implemented some of my suggestions our loss, due to theft, has decreased 12%."
"My biggest cost reducing plan was to source new suppliers for our office supplies. By doing some extra research, I was able to bring costs down by 20% in less than one year."
"I have been able to present cost-cutting suggestions many times to my previous employer. The one that I feel had the biggest impact was when I suggested additional warehouse staff. We had three various shifts and still an average of 100 hours of overtime per week. I presented to my employer that we hire one more warehouse employee for each shift, keeping the hours to just 120 regular vs. 100 hours of overtime pay (@1.5x) This recommendation saved the company $31,000 per year. They implemented this change across 15 warehouses the following year, amounting to nearly half a million dollars in savings per year."
"Cutting costs for clients is always the primary goal in marketing; however, our agency often gets forgotten. We were spending an exponential amount of funds on recruitment, only to have many junior marketers leave us for larger agencies after just one year. For that reason, I made a plan and presented it to our department head. The plan entailed a bonus structure for tenure that would peak at the 24th month of employment, resulting in further employee engagement and, at the very least, doubling average tenure. We just implemented the plan last month, but I am confident in its effectiveness."
"Retail stores are known for having a lot of paper waste such as tissue, bags, plastic, etc. I came up with a new way of packaging our products that utilizes less paper. In a world where we are all very concerned about the environment, this solution will be widely embraced by our clients. Our head office is currently performing a cost analysis on the changes."
"My most prominent cost-saving measure comes regarding productivity on my team. I was able to craft email copy that I saved as a template and could send out a dozen emails at a time, all personalized, to targeted audiences to set appointments. I was able to do this multiple times per day, while also making calls, and doubled my productivity. I shared this tactic with the team, and it was implemented across the board. While I was not in a managerial role, I was able to roughly double productivity, thereby preventing the need for new hires and surpassing our financial targets for KPIs and financial metrics."
"It's no secret that schools are on tight budgets. We were going through a great deal of paper, which is a cost that adds up. I came up with the idea to implement an app where parents could log in and print their forms, paperwork, and any additional paper-based communication sent back and forth. We are currently testing its effectiveness but so far, so good."