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When have you had to shift your priorities in response to sudden changes?

19 Answer Examples

By: Rachelle Enns

How to Answer

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.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"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."

Admin
Answer example

"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."

Manager
Answer example

"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."

Marketing
Answer example

"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."

Retail
Answer example

"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."

Sales
Answer example

"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."

Teacher
Answer example

"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
Answer example

"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."

Temporary Staffing Recruiter
Answer example

"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."

Concierge
Answer example

"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 Officer
Answer example

"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."

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Written by:

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: 02/04/2019

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