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Behavioral Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated April 4th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
Tell me about a time when you worked on a team based project when a member was not doing their share of the work.
View Answers
How to Answer
Show the interviewer that you have excellent leadership abilities by discussing how you redistribute the workload when a team member is not pulling their weight. Avoid speaking negatively about anyone and keep your answer focused on the solution you created, and the positive outcome of your actions.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Perhaps you were able to step in and reallocate the work among your team members. Maybe you took on an extra workload yourself. Interviewers look for a candidate that works harder around underperformers, rather than becoming defeated.
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1.
Tell me about a time when you worked on a team based project when a member was not doing their share of the work.
Show the interviewer that you have excellent leadership abilities by discussing how you redistribute the workload when a team member is not pulling their weight. Avoid speaking negatively about anyone and keep your answer focused on the solution you created, and the positive outcome of your actions.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Perhaps you were able to step in and reallocate the work among your team members. Maybe you took on an extra workload yourself. Interviewers look for a candidate that works harder around underperformers, rather than becoming defeated.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) Currently, I have a team member who does the bare minimum whenever possible. (Task) As a high achiever, I will not allow this person or their mindset to take away from my success on the job. (Action) I have decided to use it as an opportunity to shine personally. I take the additional workload on myself and deliver expectations to our clients on time. (Result) Over the last four months, I have received multiple kudos from my clients because of my dedication. It is not my responsibility to change this persons' work ethic; however, I can choose my actions. My choice is to work hard and be a dedicated employee, no matter what others are choosing to do."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) I recently worked with an account payables team member who was suddenly not pulling their weight. (Task) As a general administrator, I knew I should address the issue but also not overstep. (Action) I asked them in private if everything was okay. It turns out; they were going through some challenges at home. I offered to help with their tasks when I could. (Result) When I stepped in, it benefited the rest of the team, and we were able to get our A/P project back on track."
Anonymous Answer
"I recall a time that we are working on the variation to enrollment applications that each of us was allocated a number of cases to process. I noted one member did not work on his allocated cases. I approached him privately and explained to him that this project is urgent as students need to be enrolled in the correct courses by the beginning of the semester. I also showed my willingness to help him if he's caught up with any other urgent things."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response shows willingness to work with team members who may be struggling to complete their share. Good answer!
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Anonymous Answer
"I have worked on many group projects. On occasion, a team member was not pulling their weight. The first step is to communicate with this individual to determine why he or she is not doing her share of the work. Sometimes it's that the amount of work isn't fair or is the person is too busy. After assessing the situation, I will offer to help to complete the task and to ensure that we still meet the deadline."
Rachelle's Answer
Your approach shows excellent teamwork and communication skills. Very good response. I replaced a couple of missing words and eliminated pronouns.
"I have worked on many group projects and, on occasion, a team member will not pull their weight. The first step is to communicate with this individual to determine why they are not doing their share of the work. Perhaps it's because the amount of work isn't fair, or this person feels they are too busy. After assessing the situation, I will offer to help to ensure the task is completed on deadline."
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2.
Tell me about a time when you were unable to meet a project deadline. How did you react?
The interviewer wants to know how you respond to perceived failure. Nobody is perfect! The interviewer knows that there will be times when deadlines pass, and projects go sideways. What they want to know is - how do you react? Are you someone who will have a workplace temper tantrum, or are you the type to keep plugging away, despite the perceived failure?

Perhaps you merely underestimated the depth of the project, or maybe you faced a distraction at work. Whatever the situation was, discuss the case, what you did, and the outcome. Show the interviewer that you do not have a defeatist mentality.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) Last month, I missed a project deadline for an important client. (Task) I missed this deadline because I underestimated the need for support staff on the project. Despite working overtime, I missed the deadline by three days. (Action) When I realized that the deadline was fast approaching, I called the client and apologized. I took full accountability for the inconvenience and provided a new timeline that I could meet. (Result) I met the second deadline that I promised the client, and they were impressed with my transparent and honest attitude throughout the process."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) In my current role, we had a serious backlog of candidates who were waiting for a response on their applications. (Task) Since I am the Admin Assistant, my boss tasked me to sort through our company's ATS system and reject candidates who did not possess the minimum education requirement for a position for which we were hiring. (Action) Because I do not have a lot of experience in recruitment or resume reading, the job took me much longer than my boss expected. I realized after a few hours that my pace was not what he was expecting, so I offered to take some work home to catch up. (Result) He declined the offer but was happy with my willingness to go over and above to meet the original deadline. In the end, we agreed on a new deadline that I was able to meet."
Anonymous Answer
"Right now, I am an IT management consultant and my current project is to be a test coordinator for implementation of SAP during different phases. So after a couple of months when I needed to handle a phase all by myself to test a certain amount of test scenarios until a deadline. But even because I tried so hard and contacted different person for test data, but somehow I often got forwarded to another person which was handled those test scenarios and could provide me test data. In the end, I, unfortunately, did not make to test all the scenarios to the deadline. My reaction was that I started to reflect for myself why I did not meet the deadline, what could I do better, what did I learn from this and what is the best possible action to do further. What I actually did was to set up a document for myself where I write about all the systems which were connected, all the dependencies we have with other projects, contact details for point of contact persons. The result was that I in a structured way could handle the next phase better because I knew better how to act and who to contact in different situations and manage if different defects happen."
Nazish's Answer
The idea is there but I recommend working on being a bit more clear and concise in your responses. You don't want to lose the interviewer with too many details.
"In my current role, as an IT Management Consultant, there was a time when I needed to handle all phases by myself and test certain scenarios within a deadline. I did not meet the deadline as I was unable to find the support that I needed when it came to some aspects of the data testing. I was not happy about missing the deadline, so I decided to create a document for myself that noted the ways the systems were connected, all the dependencies our company had for other projects, and the final contact person at each stage. After this exercise, I felt very organized and structured, knowing if this situation happened again; I would be prepared."
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Anonymous Answer
"I was creating a new app. I was learning the software as I built it. I was struggling and running out of time so I asked my boss for some help as I didn't think I'd finish it. He assigned another team member to take over half of it, so we finished the app on time."
Rachelle's Answer
This is an excellent example with a great solution and positive outcome. Well done!
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3.
Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
The interviewer wants to know how well you work with others despite personality or work style differences. Keep your answer simple and avoid overdramatizing any event. Avoid extreme responses that include:

- Speaking negatively of others
- Telling the interviewer that you get along with everyone
- Naming people in your story example

Focus on a time when your work style was different than another person, but perhaps you still had to complete a project together. Discuss, in a positive tone, how you made it work!

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) Last month, I had to collaborate with another project manager with a different working style. (Task) As an experienced PM who comes from the tech industry, I find timely client follow up to be mission-critical. This particular PM had a much more relaxed approach. (Action) Before the project launched, I asked to meet one-on-one. We discussed our strengths and created a basic outline of expectations and timelines. (Result) By taking this communicative approach right away, we were able to collaborate quite well and ensured a fantastic project outcome. In the end, I truly enjoyed working alongside this PM."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) About one year ago, I had an administrative team member who was constantly late to meetings and missed deadlines. (Task) This person was newer to their career, and, as the administrative department lead, it was important to me that they succeeded. (Action) I approached this person privately to understand what was going on, and what was preventing them from working well with the team. When they shared their struggles with me, I offered the proper support and resources. (Result) By taking the time to nurture the situation, rather than simply terminate the person, I was able to mentor and grow one of the best Administrative Assistants I have ever had."
Anonymous Answer
"I am currently working with a person who feels that her way is the only way. On the days I do work with her, I just adapt to her personality and go with the flow."
Mary's Answer
Consider providing more details to elaborate on the Situation, Actions, and Results. Actions, in particular, help demonstrate to interviewers how you think and act in certain scenarios. Interviewers look to behavioral-based responses to predict how an individual will operate in a similar, future circumstance.
"Situation: I currently have a co-worker who can be difficult to get along with- she feels that her way of doing things is the only way. Action: On days we are scheduled to work at the same time, I adapt to her personality by adjusting my communication, asking her questions and adjusting my methods, always within compliance. Result: We have a productive working relationship despite her being viewed as a more difficult team member."
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Anonymous Answer
"I have had a co-worker that was always negative and always viewed things in the worst way possible. I always tried to keep things light when I talked to him to help cheer him up and keep him in a more positive mood. It helped balance him out so he could focus on the job in a more positive light."
Kristine's Answer
Excellent response! Your interviewer will be impressed you adapted your approach with your co-worker to make it work.
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4.
Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently than you. How did you collaborate?
The interviewer wants to see that you are a team player. Since everyone's work style is unique, it can be a challenge to collaborate with those who think differently from you. Maybe you are highly organized, and you had to work with someone messy. Perhaps you are a 'big picture' thinker, and you had to work with someone who micromanaged the details. Maybe you are a technology whiz, and you had to collaborate with someone who likes to deliver their work using paper and pen.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Start by discussing the project you were working on and the ways your work styles differed from each other. Explain how you came to a mutual consensus on how to conquer the project. Show the interviewer that you are capable of giving merit to different working styles, even if they do not match your own.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) My fellow administrator and I approach our work differently very differently. I prefer mapping out the situation and putting myself on a timeline, whereas she prefers to jump right into the task. (Task) After working on a few projects together, it became apparent that we needed to find a better balance between our two working styles. (Action) I called a private meeting, where we openly discussed our differences. We agreed to split our tasks up and come together at the end of each day. We also agreed to keep the lines of communication open throughout the day. (Result) So far, this approach has resulted in a more streamlined process. As different as we are from each other, we both agree that so long as we get to the end goal together, it doesn't always matter how we got there."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) My coworker in HR had a completely different working style than me, even down to how we organized files. (Task) Tasked with a total reorganization of our digital files, I knew it was time that we learned how to mesh our two working styles. (Action) I made a list of the areas in which we worked differently from each other, and sat with this person to work out our process. We divided up tasks according to top skills and compromised on some procedures. (Result) We powered through the task, and came out of the project with a much better understanding of each other."
Anonymous Answer
"Initially, I ask questions if they have tried to work differently. But at the end of the day, I realize there is more than one way to get the job done."
Rachelle's Answer
The same advice as #28 applies here. Try to think of a specific situation.
"We recently hired a team member from a competing company who had habits and processes very different from our own. Initially, it was a challenge to work with this person, but I chose to embrace their competitive knowledge, learn their processes, and apply what I thought was helpful, leaving the rest."
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Anonymous Answer
"I value diversity, and any chance I get to work with someone who has a different approach than I do, I welcome. While I can be quite analytical, it's not my favorite aspect of the job, and I had the opportunity to work with a teammate who was very generous about teaching me how to run various reports. This greatly improved my analytics so that I could implement my business plan, and I am very grateful to her!"
Rachelle's Answer
This example sounds like an excellent collaboration! You came away with a lot, it sounds. Your answer would have even better balance if you added a quick sentence on what value you added to your colleague, in return.
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5.
Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and how did you resolve it?
The interviewer wants to know that you can handle stressful or uncomfortable situations in a professional manner. Keep your answer simple and precise. Stay away from long, drawn-out stories. Briefly describe a time when you resolved a customer service issue. Highlight your ability to remain patient and rational.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) Last year, I worked in a retail customer care center of a company with many service complaints. (Task) As a Customer Care Representative, I had to navigate angry customer experiences more times than I would have liked. (Action) To cope, I took the stance that people who are upset want to be heard and respected. I would listen, empathize, and reassure the customer that I am there to support them and resolve the matter. If I needed to check on an order or get back to the customer, I would set expectations to explain what I was doing and when they would hear back. (Result) I am proud to say that I successfully turned more detractors into promoters than anyone else in that organization."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) In my current role, I address angry customers daily. (Task) As an Administrative Assistant, I often encounter people who are upset about being asked to hold. (Action) When this happens, I 'kill them with kindness' by profusely thanking them for their patience and letting them know they now have my full attention. (Result) I would say this communication approach works 99% of the time."
Anonymous Answer
"The product wasn't delivered on time, and the patient went without their meds for several days. The problem was logistics because the pharmacy that provided it was several states away, and there was a snowstorm to boot. While there was nothing I could do about the snowstorm, there was something I could do about finding a local pharmacy to prevent this from ever happening again. I did so and quickly."
Rachelle's Answer
You took fast action, and potentially saved someone's life in the meantime! Good thinking.
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Anonymous Answer
"Living in Buffalo, NY, with the winters being crazy, a few times, customers did not receive their shipments when expected due to weather. This made customers very angry due to potential loss in business. I handled these problems by going to talk to the customer, face to face, and offering a discount on the order to make them happy. The customers are what make our business work, so we need to keep them happy for our business to be successful. They were pleased with the discounts and continued to do business with us."
Rachelle's Answer
It seems your customer service approach is a very friendly and helpful one.
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