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When have you had to think quickly in response to sudden change?

1 of 15 Adaptability Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on January 8th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

The interviewer would like to know that you can adapt to sudden changes in the workplace. Change is par for the course in any work environment. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of responding quickly, and professionally, to unexpected situations.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"I can think quickly on the job, and I do respond well to sudden change. Last week I was asked to tweak a presentation with just 30 minutes notice. The changes were significant, but luckily I work well under pressure. The presentation went well, and our clients were delighted."

Admin
Answer example

"I have to think quickly to change every time there are scheduling changes with the Executive whom I support. Most often, this related to delayed flights or changes in travel plans. I have all the major airlines on speed dial, as well as a variety of professional drivers on hand as a backup. This preparedness ensures that my boss can attend all meetings on time, despite travel hiccups."

Manager
Answer example

"I have to respond to sudden change almost daily with the production schedule. A different department prioritizes customer orders, and it is not uncommon for them to change the priority on a given day due to the last minute rush order from a larger customer. You learn to roll with it, and you find the fastest ways to make a successful changeover."

Marketing
Answer example

"As a marketing professional, I face last minute, urgent changes on a daily basis. Last week a client agreed on a branding strategy and then the day before we were to launch the site, they requested significant changes to the typeface and color palette. I am very experienced in meeting deadlines on the fly."

Retail
Answer example

"In a retail environment, I have to think on the fly if a customer is trying on an outfit and wants recommendations. Also, customers will often walk up to the desk, ask if we have red sweaters, and I have to do a quick inventory in my head before giving a reply. I make sure to be on top of our current stock at all times."

Sales
Answer example

"In sales, you always have to be on your toes. On more than one occasion, I've had calls come in for emergencies after hours that require a creative solution. Most recently my client had their software crash at 2 AM, and they needed immediate IT assistance. I called my technical team and found someone willing to address the issue in the middle of the night. Part of my success in software sales is working with an amazing IT team that will pull anything together to make a client happy."

Teacher
Answer example

"As a teacher, I often have to think quickly in the classroom. Some of these kids are incredibly smart cookies, and they ask questions I have never heard before. I have to quickly craft a response, or find an accurate answer quickly."

School Cross Guard
Answer example

"I am able to think quickly on the job and I do respond well to sudden change. Last week I was asked to tweak a presentation with just 30 minutes notice. The changes were significant but luckily I work well under pressure. The presentation went well and our clients were very happy."

Reading Teacher
Answer example

"Last month I was teaching a class of 15 students when one of the students passed out. Rather than scaring the children, I quickly called the Principal and asked her to move my students to another room and call the school nurse. We had the situation under control immediately. Rather than panicking and freezing in fear, I was able to manage the situation with little distraction to the rest of the school."

Art Director
Answer example

"While working on a movie set, we constantly had to change and move things around to make the movie producer happy. One time, we were supposed to start shooting at 9 am but I received a call at 4:30 am saying that the producer wanted us to start shooting at 7 am due to logistical issues. Therefore, as the art director, I had to be on the set by 5:15 so that I can arrange the set and have everything ready. With just over two hours of sleep and no coffee, I made it work!"

Addiction Nurse
Answer example

"When a patient doesn't take responsibility to start making changes that are constructive in their life, I find these cases very difficult. I do my best to empower them, because ultimately they are the ones who can change their own lives. However, if they choose not to do the work, treatment is a whole lot harder."

Bailiff
Answer example

"I always remain calm and collected, and can easily adapt to any situation that comes my way. I am always ready to adjust my approach because unexpected situations are bound to occur in a professional environment. For instance, while working for (X company) as (X position title), I (X further information regarding the situation you quickly adapted to, which was successful in the end)."

Bank Teller
Answer example

"I think best when the pressure is on! When I can get to know my products very well, I have the utmost confidence."

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 01/07/2017
Last modified on: 01/08/2019

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