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Adaptability Interview Questions

15 Adaptability Interview Questions
Question 1 of 15
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know how you react when it comes to setbacks in the workplace. Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.

Answer Example
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
Admin Example
"I allow myself a moment to be frustrated when a setback occurs, but never publicly. I may go for a quick walk on my lunch break, for instance. When a setback occurs, I prefer to take from the experience rather than have it take energy away from me."
Manager Example
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
Marketing Example
"Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused on my project despite the challenges that come my way. I am a creative thinker, so setbacks are often used as a new jumping off point to something even better."
Retail Example
"When working in a customer facing role, as I do, setbacks will happen on a regular basis. I recall one time when I hit my weekly sales target by just a hair. Ten minutes before closing, a customer returned an item purchased from me. It put me in the hole! Ugh! It felt like such a burn. With that said, I took that enthusiasm and applied it to my following weeks' KPI's and knocked it out of the park."
Sales Example
"Salespeople are competitive and thus, tend to take things personally when setbacks occur. I become internally frustrated when my goal fails or a perceived "done deal" falls through. When this happens, I will go through a mental rundown of what I could have done differently. It can certainly be emotionally taxing, but I also learn a ton from processing these mistakes."
Teacher Example
"I need to understand that setbacks happen as a teacher. Whether it is a student's learning, a policy change, or lack of funding. When these setbacks happen, I improvise, as all great teachers must do!"
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Question 2 of 15
When have you had to adapt to change in the workplace?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know about a time you were required to adapt to change in the workplace. Being able to adapt to change in the workplace is an essential skill to possess because change is inevitable. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have had to adjust to changes on the job. How did you handle the transition? Was it a positive reaction?

Answer Example
"In my current role there is a lot of staff turnover when it comes to our management team. I have had to adapt to 3 new managers in the past four years. It is not the ideal situation, but I can adjust for the good of the team."
Admin Example
"Last year our company was sold to a competitor, and a lot of our management team changed hands. It was a lot of change to handle in a short time, especially being unsure of who to report to ahead of others. I am resilient, though, and have made the big changes work by keeping my head down and delivering great work, no matter who it goes to in the end."
Manager Example
"In my current management position, we were pushed to obtain ISO certification by one of our potential customers. The changes in reporting and procedural compliance were numerous, and it took a little while to adjust. The training component of my staff was not easy either. However, in the end, it was worth it to secure such a high profile customer."
Marketing Example
"Marketing is all about change! Our clients change every day, and the scope of our projects change on a dime. I am resilient to change and look forward to working in an ever-changing marketing environment, with your agency."
Retail Example
"I used to work for a retail chain that specialized in leather footwear. Corporate started to introduce vegan footwear options which were a tough sell after becoming so well known for their leather. I adapted to the change by learning more about vegan options, and asking further discovery questions to new customers."
Sales Example
"In my previous role at a high-growth tech startup, the sales organization was restructured, from a new boss to new teams and territories. Some of the accounts I had been nurturing but had not yet converted to a buyer yet were now handed off to another sales rep who received the fruits of my labor. Of course, this fact was very frustrating. However, by sitting down with management to understand the "why" of the change, and how I could best set my new accounts up for success while transitioning my previous ones over to a new rep, I was able to see the bigger objective and ultimately increase my sales performance."
Teacher Example
"Our school recently underwent a major renovation which resulted in half of our classrooms being unavailable. My classes ended up being in a portable, behind the school. It was a big change for me because I had to be extra prepared with my supplies and needs for the day. Thankfully the renovation lasted only six months."
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Question 3 of 15
When have you had to change a major component of your project due to new information being presented?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know about a time that you had to change the path of a project due to new information. Being able to swivel the focus of your project is a necessary skill for success in most careers. Talk to the interviewer about a time when a significant change occurred on the job. How did you handle the implementation of the new information?

Answer Example
"Last year we saw new federal regulations come through which affected 80% of our ongoing projects. We had to adjust our plans quickly; however, we were able to deliver a timely product that met federal regulations."
Admin Example
"As an administrative professional, my projects are often derailed by other people's schedules running late, deliveries not arriving on time, or vendors not pulling through. Although I am not usually the lead on projects, I do put a great deal of finishing work on the projects that come out of our office so, when deadlines pass, it affects me as well. I keep a positive outlook and work very hard to exceed expectations wherever possible."
Manager Example
"All of our products are thoroughly tested after the design and prototype phase. My production team was certain that the design would hold up to the endurance testing, based on the components used, but it did not. We had to go back and adjust the entire product design to determine the cause and correct the fault."
Marketing Example
"I had a large project last month that was nearly complete when the client called to say that the color palette provided was incorrect. Because of this, our team had to re-do all of the mood boards. It took us an additional two days of work but, in the end, the client was delighted with our work, and it resulted in new opportunities to work with them."
Retail Example
"I used to work for a food company. The biggest change came when they changed their menu to be gluten free, wheat free, and dairy free. I had a great deal of new information to absorb and had to study the ins and outs of the ingredients all over again. I do like to learn and am methodical in my approach. I created flashcards, studied for a week straight, and nailed it in the new ingredients test the following week."
Sales Example
"I had worked with a VP in the company, the CEO, and a member of the board to craft a strategic national roll-out plan that included which companies and pitches I would be responsible for, and what they would handle. Two months later, after working on the strategy each week as a collaborative team, I was informed that we were putting a pause on the project until further notice. The executives thought the company wasn't ready for such big clients yet, so instead, I had to scale the national roll-out back to be a local market strategy. After the initial sting and frustration of pulling out of the project, I was able to use that same framework to plan local market roll-outs in several major cities effectively. It proved to be a good learning experience, overall."
Teacher Example
"Last year I had all of my coursework set, a curriculum written, and class seating arranged. The day before school began, I was informed by my principal that they needed to make my class a Grade 5/6 split rather than just a Grade 6 class. It took me a moment to gather myself and absorb the information. Then, I got to it! I simplified a bulk of the coursework and added more Grad 5 components. I was all set for the first day despite the setback."
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Question 4 of 15
What was the biggest change you have had to deal with in your career?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know the types of challenges you have had to face in your career. You need to show the interviewer that you can remain productive in the face of change and that you are resilient. Assure the interviewer that you can adapt to significant changes in a professional manner.

Answer Example
"The biggest change that I have faced in my career so far would be when my previous company went through a major merger. We had to adapt to new processes and management which was quite challenging. In the end, it worked out well for the company, in a financial perspective, so the changes were well worth the challenges we faced initially."
Admin Example
"The biggest change in my career was learning to report to an entirely new management team when we merged with a competitor. It's difficult to adjust, but I was able to keep an open mind, and met some great new people."
Manager Example
"The biggest change in my career came when my company experienced major layoffs. One-third of my production team experienced layoffs even though our work volume remained nearly the same. I adjusted the schedule, introduced a new overtime policy, and worked very hard to maintain morale despite the changes."
Marketing Example
"The biggest change I have dealt with in my career is when my company closed their PA location, and I was asked to relocate to VA. It was a risk on my part, but I chose to follow the company to their new location. It paid off as I continued another five years of success there."
Retail Example
"I went through a large change last year when our company purchases another small competitor. We integrated systems, some staff, and a few policies. The corporate head office did the best they could to make the change a smooth one."
Sales Example
"The most prominent change in my career was when I transferred from strategic national account rollout to local market rollout. This move taught me a lot about myself. I learned how to be more adaptable and resilient."
Teacher Example
"The biggest change I have had to deal with in my career was when my Spanish curriculum was cut, and I was transferred to a new school where I was to teach English and Mathematics. The new role was slightly out of my wheelhouse, so I spent a lot of time refreshing my knowledge in these areas."
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Question 5 of 15
When have you been asked to perform a function or complete a task in which you had little or no experience in doing?
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Question 6 of 15
When have you had to think quickly in response to sudden change?
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Question 7 of 15
When have you faced an unexpected difficulty?
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Question 8 of 15
When have you shown a willingness to learn a new method?
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Question 9 of 15
Tell me about a time when you made a suggestion requesting change in an organization.
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Question 10 of 15
When change occurs in the workplace, do you naturally adjust or do you first think of the worst?
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Author of Adaptability Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 01/07/2017
Last modified on: 06/29/2018
Question 11 of 15
When have you had to shift your priorities in response to sudden changes?
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Question 12 of 15
How do you react to an increase in your workload?
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Question 13 of 15
Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine?
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Question 14 of 15
When planning, how often do you create alternative scenarios to help you adjust to changing situations?
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Question 15 of 15
If your current company shut down today, what would you do to quickly adapt?
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