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Top 20 Behavioral Interview Questions

Question 1 of 21
Tell me about a time when you worked on a team based project when a member was not doing their share of the work.
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Question 2 of 21
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 just 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. Approaching the issue resulted in a win-win situation for all."
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 3 of 21
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 just jump right into the task. We have found a good balance of 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 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 came to an agreement 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 confirmed she won't use too many. This compromise was a huge win for the department and, particularly, the students."
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Question 4 of 21
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 5 of 21
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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How to Answer
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.

Answer Example
"I worked in a retail customer care center and had to navigate angry customer experiences more times than I would have liked. 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. Communication and reassurance are important throughout the process. 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. I am proud to say that I have successfully turned more detractors into promoters than anyone else in our organization."
Admin Example
"As an Administrative Assistant, I address angry customers on a daily basis. They are upset about being asked to hold. When this happens, I 'kill them with kindness' but profusely thanking them for their patience and letting them know they now have my full attention. I would say this method works 99% of the time."
Manager Example
"I once was a customer service manager at a call center. I had many angry customer calls, but one, in particular, I remember well. The customer had ordered a dish set, but when it arrived, it was missing half the pieces. She had unfortunately set on hold with us for over 30 minutes waiting to be helped and was irate when I told her that our policy was that she had to send the entire order back, then we would issue a refund, and she could reorder it. She just wanted us to ship the missing pieces. She ended up getting a refund and did NOT reorder from us. She likely never will again. I did make sure she received her refund, and I spoke with our corporate head office about the long wait times and the possibility of changing our return policies. It was not a good situation, but I made the best of it."
Marketing Example
"Just last week, a customer called our design team because he was unhappy with a particular design we were creating for him. I reassured him that we would modify the design to his liking before finalizing the project. We spoke further and, in the end, he was just feeling uncomfortable not being a part of the decision-making every step of the way. With any customer complaint I remain patient, listen to their concerns, and reassure the customer we would do anything within reason to satisfy their requests."
Retail Example
"A specific instance relates to the rollout of our new return policy, and for the first time, we requested an ID when making a return without a receipt. One customer, after being asked for ID for a return assumed it was a race issue, and she was irate. I had to intervene with the very frazzled employee and take a step back, explain the "why" of the new policy, and ensure her it has zero to do with her, but was a company-wide, country-wide policy. After taking time to hear her concerns, validate why she would be upset, and explain it all in context, she happily handed over her ID and returned and thanked me for my patience with her explosion."
Sales Example
"A client was delivered a damaged piece of goods that we sold him. For a $30,000 piece of inventory, he was understandably agitated. Within five minutes of receiving an irate email, I hopped on the phone with him to address the issue. I had my COO and Director of Operations, who handles problem resolution, in the room so he would feel that the issue was being taken care of by upper management. Through a 10-minute conversation, not only did we resolve his issue, buy back the piece of inventory, and have pick-up arranged for that very afternoon. We also piloted a new program with him to take the balance sheet risk off of him, which pleased him. So much, in fact, that he committed to buying another five pieces of inventory that same week."
Teacher Example
"I had a parent that was upset that their child experienced exclusion from Spanish class. This exclusion was due to their IEP and special services scheduling. The student went to speech and social work during my Spanish class. This fact didn't stop the parent from showing frustration with me, so I was sure to find time to sit down and speak with her, and show that I heard her frustration. I asked our principal to join us, and we were able to figure out a better schedule for the following semester that would allow her child to attend Spanish class as well as have his minutes in speech and social work per his IEP. By showing I understood her frustration and was willing to work with her, she immediately softened and was thrilled that we were so receptive to her concerns."
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Question 6 of 21
What is your greatest work related accomplishment to date?
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Question 7 of 21
What is the riskiest decision you have ever made in the workplace?
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Question 8 of 21
Tell me about a time when you used good judgement and logic to solve a problem.
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Question 9 of 21
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 21
Tell me about a time when you were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?
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Question 11 of 21
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 21
Tell me about a time when you showed initiative by taking the lead on a team project.
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Question 13 of 21
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 21
When have you had to make a split second decision? How do you react under unexpected pressure?
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Question 15 of 21
Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new within a short deadline.
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Question 16 of 21
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 21
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 21
Think about a difficult boss, professor or coworker. How did you successfully interact with this person?
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Question 19 of 21
Tell me about a time when you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
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Question 20 of 21
Tell me about your learning style and study patterns.
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Question 21 of 21
What was the most difficult decision you have had to make?
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