The interviewer would like to know how you handle sudden shifts in priorities. Do you become uber-focused on the task at hand, or are you willing to drop what you are doing, and switch priorities? Discuss a time when you have been asked to change your priorities on a dime.
"In my current role, our schedule is changed on a regular basis and always at short notice. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes."
"Each time my boss changes his schedule, I need to drop what I am doing and rearrange his meetings or travel plans. These changes happen quite often, so I very well know that a schedule made is not always a schedule kept."
"Every time I have an employee no-show to their shift, I have to shift the day's priorities. I will drop what I am doing, call in a temp or ask another employee to work overtime to cover for the loss. I work in a very reactionary industry and can resist the stress related to change, quite well."
"I had to shift my focus when I learned that we were acquiring a smaller competitor within the week. I had to change my plans to incorporate a new team, with new ideas, process, and procedures. Instead of working on the duties I had scheduled for the week, I had to bring our new team up to speed and integrate everyone. It was a stressful time, but I also learned how well I could adapt to sudden change."
"Every time we receive a new delivery of stock, our team has to change focus on that. We receive the stock, enter the SKU's into the POS system, remerchandise, and place old stock on sale. All this, while our primary focus remains on the customer. It's a lot to juggle, but it's also fun to see the new items we are receiving."
"Recently, I was given a new sales territory and team with pretty much zero notice. I was able to spend time bonding with my new teammates and learning from their expertise in the new-to-me area. By leaning on the team and being open to a new opportunity, I was able to grow as a salesperson and as a leader in the organization."
"Teachers have to shift priorities all the time. We do have our curriculum; however, any small change can completely throw your day. Students can be disruptive, fire alarm testing can occur, or half the class is out due to the flu. You never know what can happen! I change my lesson plans and volume of homework to work around these shifts so that students don't fall behind."
"Law enforcement is a very reactionary career path so I am accustomed to being asked to shift my priorities often. It could mean a change in my work schedule, being asked to work overtime, or heading to one call and then being asked to attend another more urgent case. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes."
"I am often working on one staffing project when a client will call and tell me that someone didn't show up, or their temp staff member called in sick last minute. In those circumstances, I then have to drop what I am doing to find an immediate replacement. Doing so requires my full attention and a lot of time on the phone. I can quickly adapt, and fully understand how to juggle priorities while simultaneously handling urgent matters."
"I had to shift my focus when I learned that we were acquiring a smaller hotel competitor. I had to change my plans to incorporate a new customer service team, with new ideas, process, and procedures. Instead of working solely toward increased productivity, I had to back up work toward bringing our new team up to speed and integrate them into our processes."
"Border patrol is a very reactionary career path, so I am accustomed to being asked to shift my priorities often. It could mean a change in my work schedule, being asked to work overtime, or being asked to attend another more urgent case. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes."