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Behavioral Interview Questions

30 Behavioral Interview Questions
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.
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.

Perhaps you were able to step in and reallocate the work among the team members. Maybe you took on the extra workload yourself. Interviewers will be looking for a candidate that works harder rather than becoming deflated around underperformers.

Answer Example
"Currently I do have a team member who does the bare minimum whenever possible. I will not allow that to take away from my success on the job, so I have decided to use it as an opportunity to shine personally. I will take the additional workload on myself, and deliver to our clients on time. Over the last four months, I have received multiple kudos from my clients because of my dedication. It is not my responsibility to change her 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."
Admin Example
"I recently worked with a particular account payables team member who was not pulling their weight. I asked them in private if everything was okay. They were going through some challenges at home and in the workplace. I offered support to pull my weight and help with theirs when I could. It benefited the rest of the team, and that was what I felt was most important."
Manager Example
"I once worked with a team member who never came to meetings. It turned out that he did not want to be on the team. Our regional director transferred him. We talked about his situation for a while, and he decided the best choice was for him to step down from his role. We did have to take some of his assigned responsibilities and shift them to other team members after that. It was an unfortunate situation but better to have this happen than have to continue employing someone who didn't want to be there."
Marketing Example
"Marketing work is all about teamwork and cooperation, so it is very apparent when one team member is not pulling their weight. I had one team member last year who always submitted sloppy work. I would correct it all before sending anything out and, thank goodness, I was always the last set of eyes before submitting. They lost their job, and I happily continued to deliver, as always."
Retail Example
"Weekly markdowns is a team effort. From doing the actual markdowns to re-merchandizing the mannequins and the set up of the department, we need all hands on deck to be successful while still attending to the needs of our customers. There is a particular employee who likes to act very busy in the dressing room during the mark-down time. Currently, I have no supervisory capacity over her, so all I can do is lead by example, gently point out that it's a team effort, and make sure to compensate for her lack of contribution."
Sales Example
"I feel like school prepares you for the slacker in the group project! I can remember being in grade school and there was, without fail, someone who did not hold up his or her end of the bargain. In my current role, one of my teammates always looks for the easy way out. For instance, logging the minimum number of calls per day. This behavior directly impacts my ability to succeed in my role. While this is very frustrating, and something I've tried addressing with him, he is just going through the motions until he finds a new job, so there is nothing I can do to make him try harder. That said, I have been sure to do an extra 25% over quota for calls, talk time, and account touches to try to compensate for his lower metrics. The added benefit is that it gives me even more insight and data to better understand my prospects, clients, and market."
Teacher Example
"Writing curriculum is probably the largest team collaborations I experience as a teacher. There are occasionally members that don't pull their weight. At this point, I anticipate it, and it doesn't phase me. I do all I can to get everyone excited about pitching in and collaborating on the future of their department. We give everyone the option to be a part of a development topic of interest. If that doesn't work, I proceed as usual and pick up the slack when necessary."
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Question 2 of 30
Tell me about a time when you were unable to meet a project deadline. How did you react?
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How to Answer
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 what you learned from the outcome. Show the interviewer that you do not have a defeatist mentality.

Answer Example
"Last month I missed a project deadline primarily because I underestimated the need for support staff on the project. Despite working overtime, I missed the deadline by three days. When I realized that the deadline was fast approaching, I called the client and apologized. I did take full accountability for the inconvenience and met the second deadline that I promised the client."
Admin Example
"In my current role, I was asked 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. Because I do not have experience in recruitment or resume reading for that matter, 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. He declined the offer but was happy with my willingness to go over and above to meet my deadline."
Manager Example
"I once had to update our IT security systems across the organization. Some of the equipment did not arrive on time, and we were unable to meet the deadline. We utilized transparency and communication to let our leadership team know we would be delayed and assured them we were doing everything we could to meet the new deadline. We also resolved the issue with the shipping company to prevent it from happening again."
Marketing Example
"I was tasked with, for the first time, writing up a new client's projected account volume for the following fiscal year and, despite working after hours to complete it, I knew it was not going to be the quality work I wanted to submit. Once I recognized this, I was honest with my boss about the timeline needed to complete the task. They were understanding and simply swapped my review by one day to give me the appropriate time to prepare. They also gave me access to an operations assistant to assist with preparation. While I was embarrassed to fall short of expectations, I learned to communicate early and often and ask for assistance when I need it."
Retail Example
"When working in the shoe department, I was tasked with reorganizing the inventory room, which is 4000 sq feet spread over three floors. It was a huge undertaking, and as I was so eager to please, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to redo the system. I gave a month timeline, and within a week it was clear that that was going to be impossible. I immediately went to upper management with a plan: I could meet the timeline if given additional resources such as overtime hours and additional staff. Or, we could push it out to an 8-week timeline with the current staff already tasked with the project. By communicating early, admitting my error in judgment, and asking for help, the worst thing that happened was a bit of initial disappointment. More than anything, they appreciated the transparency. It also taught me to dig deep into the scope of the project before committing to such an aggressive timeline in the future."
Sales Example
"We once fell behind in a project due to endurance testing on a new product. I reacted by quickly rearranging schedules and identifying our earliest possible completion to inform our supervisors and customers. I remained pragmatic through the entire situation."
Teacher Example
"When revamping the entire curriculum, we found that we were either going to be ineffective in the three weeks we had planned, or we'd have to spend some extra time on the project to do it the proper justice our students deserved. Rather than go too quickly and have a crummy outcome, we decided to stay an extra few days, working on our own without pay, to fully rewrite more effective, engaging curriculum. By identifying our objective and refusing to settle for less, we kept the best interest of our department and students in mind and sacrificed our time to meet that goal. It was certainly worth it."
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Question 3 of 30
Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
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How to Answer
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. Speaking negatively of others will always look unfavorable towards you. Telling the interviewer that you get along with everyone is not an appropriate or believable response either. 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!

Answer Example
"Last month I had to collaborate on a project with another project manager who works very differently than I do. I find timely client follow up to be incredibly important and this particular PM seemed to be more relaxed with that aspect. I continued to work how I always do but did ask this PM a couple of times to communicate more frequently with our client to make the collaboration smoother. I fully understand that not everyone will work in perfect synergy and that is okay. There is always a professional workaround available - sometimes you have to approach the situation head-on but in a respectful way."
Admin Example
"About one year ago, we had an administrative team member who constantly was late to meetings and missed deadlines. They were new to their career, and it was important to me that they succeed. I approached them privately to understand what was going on that was preventing them from working well with the team and offered any support to get them there."
Manager Example
"As an experienced manager, I have worked with a variety of people who challenge me. Especially being in the logistics industry, many of my team members can be a touch rough around the edges. When this happens, I will ask them privately to be mindful of their language or level of inappropriate behavior in the workplace."
Marketing Example
"I worked with a coworker who scoffed at other coworkers ideas and loudly proclaimed that he was the smartest person in our office. I approached him and our supervisor about the attitude and insults. It turned out that he did not want to work in our division and ended up requesting a transfer."
Retail Example
"There will always be co-workers that are difficult. It's part of what keeps things interesting. Much of my job is finding common ground with people and positively relating to them. This requirement does not end with the customer, but rather is an important part of dealing with coworkers, whether in a management position or not. As far as obnoxious behavior, I ignore it as much as possible. There is a point where I will make it clear in a firm way that the topic at hand is bothersome or inappropriate and ask that it not be discussed in the workplace. The majority of the time, I focus on the good in people, even if they drive me nuts."
Sales Example
"I often have to work across departments with a project manager who approaches problems, and people, very differently than I do. She is more comfortable taking an indirect, apologetic route whereas I prefer to tackle things head on and with enthusiasm. It was a challenge to get both of our ideas fully understood. However, once we both mapped out our visions in our ways, we were able to leverage each of our strengths to build on the other's ideas. In the end, not only was the project completed ahead of time and well received but also I learned some communication techniques from her that I still use to this day."
Teacher Example
"In my current role, one of the classroom teachers and I have conflicting styles. She likes her students to be quiet. I like my students to be up and moving. I know I drive her nuts and it's gone so far as having the students tell me, "Mrs. P said we need to bring it down a notch." I am sure to be respectful of her and the classroom that we often share. I leave the class exactly how I found it. I can only keep doing my job how I best see fit while remaining respectful."
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Question 4 of 30
Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently than you. How did you collaborate?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to understand if you are a team player. These situations seem to happen often in the workplace since everyone's work style is a bit unique. Maybe you are organized, and you had to work with someone who is not organized. 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 work with someone who likes to do things with paper and pen.

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.

Answer Example
"My fellow administrator and I approach deadlines differently, and that is okay. I prefer mapping out the situation and putting myself on a timeline whereas she prefers to jump right into the task. We have found a good balance between our two working styles after discussing our differences. On our last project, we agreed to split the tasks up and come together at the end of each day to put the pieces together. We have also agreed to keep the lines of communication open throughout the day. 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."
Admin Example
"My coworker in HR had a completely different working style than me, even down to how we organized files. I made a list of the areas in which we conflicted, and sat together to understand each person's thought processes. We divided up tasks that would be better suited for one person to do (instead of both), compromised on some procedures, and powered through the rest by understanding each other."
Manager Example
"When I began my most recent role, I replaced a manager who very much believed in a dictatorship management style. It was a huge challenge to undo the damage created, while safely implementing my more relaxed management style. My team was so used to a stringent workplace that they resisted my methods significantly. Once trust developed, we were able to create a comfortable workplace culture."
Marketing Example
"I recently worked with a peer that had a very different work style regarding how they organized and prioritized work. I approach work by scheduling meetings in advance and having a list of items to review to make the most of that time together. My peer was rarely prepared for the sessions, spent a great deal of time talking about personal items and operated in reaction mode to many situations. I took it upon myself to speak to that person about our different styles and come to an agreement on how we could work best together. I am open to working with all types of people and welcome challenges with a smile!"
Retail Example
"In a previous role, I was one of two shift leads, and we split the duties of an assistant manager. Since we were sharing the responsibility, we often had clashing opinions. By spending time writing out our main strengths, we were able to divvy up the work according to each other's strengths. This method solved the 'too many cooks in the kitchen' issue entirely."
Sales Example
"When I started my current job, my direct boss did things very differently than I. She was great with closing deals but was a tornado heading into meetings. She was always in a state of scrambling, due to disorganization. It was hard to address with her since she was my superior, but one day over lunch we talked about how we each work and why, and how it impacts the other person. We were able to cordially brainstorm ways that our styles could complement each other in the workplace."
Teacher Example
"One of my colleagues and I have opposite views on teaching. That said, we are often both tasked with working collaboratively to lead the direction our department will take. I work very hard to be respectful to her love of worksheets and homework while demonstrating the importance of movement and variety in the classroom. I used studies, as well as my own student's test scores, to show her how much they enjoy the class. Together, we agreed on some of the basic ways we have to teach. These including putting a limit on the amount of desk work we assign per unit. By agreeing to this, I've agreed to include some worksheets, and she's said she wouldn't use too many. This compromise was a huge win for the department and, particularly, the students."
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Question 5 of 30
Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and how did you resolve it?
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Question 6 of 30
What is your greatest work related accomplishment to date?
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Question 7 of 30
What is the riskiest decision you have ever made in the workplace?
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Question 8 of 30
Tell me about a time when you used good judgement and logic to solve a problem.
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Question 9 of 30
Describe a time when you motivated yourself to complete an assignment or task that you did not feel like doing.
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Question 10 of 30
Tell me about a time when you were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?
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Creators of Behavioral Answers and Questions

Heather Douglass
Heather Douglass has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
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.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 12/04/2010
Last modified on: 07/22/2018
Question 11 of 30
Have you ever worked in a situation where the rules and guidelines were not clear? How did you cope?
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Question 12 of 30
Tell me about a time when you showed initiative by taking the lead on a team project.
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Question 13 of 30
Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
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Question 14 of 30
When have you had to make a split second decision? How do you react under unexpected pressure?
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Question 15 of 30
Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new within a short deadline.
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Question 16 of 30
Tell me about the most competitive work situation you have experienced. How did you handle it, and what was the result?
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Question 17 of 30
Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to major change in the workplace. How did you cope?
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Question 18 of 30
Think about a difficult boss, professor or coworker. How did you successfully interact with this person?
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Question 19 of 30
Tell me about a time when you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
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Question 20 of 30
Tell me about your learning style and study patterns.
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Question 21 of 30
What was the most difficult decision you have had to make?
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Question 22 of 30
Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a co-worker whose personality was the opposite of yours.
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Question 23 of 30
How would you build a relationship with someone who intimidates you?
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Question 24 of 30
Tell me about a time you wish you had handled a workplace situation, differently.
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Question 25 of 30
How would you approach making a good impression on a new client?
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Question 26 of 30
Tell me about a time that you failed. How did you get back up again?
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Question 27 of 30
How do you handle working under very close supervision?
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Question 28 of 30
How do you handle working with little to no supervision?
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Question 29 of 30
How do you react when you are dissatisfied with the quality of your work, or the outcome of your work?
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Question 30 of 30
Which statement sounds more like you: 'I hate to lose' or, 'I love to win'?
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