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Answering Behavioral Questions

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Have you ever worked in a situation where the rules and guidelines were not clear? How did you cope?

Example #1
"(Situation) One of my earlier positions was for a family-run furniture company with very few guidelines or rules of engagement when it came to sales, service, and protocols. (Task) As an experienced salesperson, I found this situation to be pure chaos. (Action) I did my best by following what I intuitively felt was the best decision on a case-by-case basis. I also created new processes and guidelines for my team along the way. (Result) By showing this initiative, I ended up being the top-performing salesperson and earned a promotion to manager."
Example #2
"(Situation) I worked for a small family-owned agency a few years ago. (Task) As the new Admin Assistant, I quickly noticed that most processes were not formally written down or included in my onboarding training. (Action) I made it my project to create 'what-if' scenarios, collect answers from my superiors, and compile a troubleshooting list for future reference. (Result) When I presented the documents to my leaders, they were thrilled with the initiative that I took and gave me a small raise."
Example #3
"(Situation) When I first took on my current management role, my team did not have many guidelines or processes to follow. (Task) As a seasoned manager, I understood the need for clear instructions and expectations. It concerned me that our team did not have a playbook to follow. (Action) I don't like to enforce rules explicitly; instead, I hope that my team will use their training, knowledge, and intuition to make the best decisions. For that reason, I asked the group to collaborate with me on creating this playbook of sorts. (Result) We finished this internal guide in a couple of weeks, and everyone seemed proud to have involvement."
Example #4
"(Situation) While working for an online marketing start-up company, I noticed there were many situations where rules and guidelines were not clear. (Task) I took it upon myself to address the need since my team and I needed direction. (Action) So, I drafted the rules and guidelines and came up with a system for others to contribute. (Result) Together, we created the internal structure that the company operates with today!"
Example #5
"(Situation) In the past, I worked for a retail company that did not have clear guidelines or procedures. (Task) Being new to my career in retail sales, I found this situation to be tricky to navigate. (Action) I decided to educate myself through workplace manuals and any other internal guides I could find. (Result) Ultimately, I found a comfortable middle ground that kept me productive."
Example #6
"(Situation) In my previous role, I quickly learned that within startups, hard set rules are difficult to find. (Task) As the new Business Development Director of a startup, I was to sell and hit my metrics, but it was a 99% 'figure-it-out-yourself' situation. (Action) I decided that the situation could be an excellent opportunity to pilot my business development ideas and sales tactics. I was confident in my work and comfortable with taking some creative license. I took the opportunity to create a set of approaches and processes for new client development. (Result) In the first 12 months, I secured 154% of my original sales goal, which allowed the startup to flourish."
Example #7
"(Situation) During a transition period in my school district, we had no department chair, and guidelines were unclear. In particular, nobody was mandating teacher meetings. (Task) A few more seasoned teachers knew that it was beneficial to us as teachers, and the department as a whole, to continue with our usual scheduling. (Action) We took turns leading the meetings and acting as though each of us was the supervisor, passing the baton to the next teacher for the next meeting. (Result) This approach allowed us to continue growing, learning, and collaborating during the transition."
Example #8
"One of my earlier positions was for a family run furniture company with very few guidelines or rules of engagement when it came to sales, service, and everyday protocol. It was pure chaos but I did my best by following what I intuitively felt was the best decision. I ended up being the lead of the delivery team within 3 months because they trusted that I had the company's best interest in mind."
Example #9
"I have worked as a Leasing Agent for many years now and would rank my industry proficiency and knowledge level around a 9 out of 10. There is always room to grow, and legislation is constantly changing, which keeps me in a constant flow of learning."
Example #10
"I am never one to break the rules out of rebellion but I have bent one or two for the greater good of the patient. One time I can recall is when I had a patient in postoperative care. We have a rule of no mobile phones. It happened that his wife had a medical emergency and so I allowed him to have his phone with him after surgery. It didn't cause any harm to him and he was very thankful for the empathy we showed for his situation."
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Our interview questions are created by writers, most of whom have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates. They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with the companies, careers or schools they may write for on We strive to match our experts' background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website.