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Behavioral Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 31 Behavioral interview questions and answer examples.

Our Behavioral Questions were written by and updated on December 14th, 2021. Learn more about this page.

Question 28 of 31

How do you handle working with little to no supervision?

The Goal

Some roles offer very little supervision, especially when it's a work-from-home or remote opportunity. The interviewer asks if you are an individual who can be productive even when not directly supervised. The goal of your response is to show that you have a history of well-established trust with your past employers. Express that, even without direct supervision, you've remained a top performer in your field.

Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

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Advice and Examples: How do you handle working with little to no supervision?

  • 28. How do you handle working with little to no supervision?

      The Goal

      Some roles offer very little supervision, especially when it's a work-from-home or remote opportunity. The interviewer asks if you are an individual who can be productive even when not directly supervised. The goal of your response is to show that you have a history of well-established trust with your past employers. Express that, even without direct supervision, you've remained a top performer in your field.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      How to Answer

      Talk about a time when you were very successful in your work, even when you lacked close supervision from your employer or someone in a position of authority. Then, finish your reply by asking the interviewer to describe the level of supervision in this particular role. It is your responsibility to ensure that the amount of support offered in this position aligns with your own needs. At the end of your response, make a connection between your ability to work independently and how it will benefit the hiring company when they choose to hire you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Pro Tip

      Since this question begins with 'How do you...' it is acceptable to use a hypothetical story example, giving a general overview of how you would react in this situation. However, if you want to use a real-life example, try forming a response 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.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      What to Avoid

      Avoid agreeing to any work environment - close supervision or little supervision. Be sure to ask the interviewer about the level of management and support provided in this particular role. Make sure it's a good fit for you and that you get the support required to succeed.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I am a reliable employee who works hard, no matter who is watching. You can rest assured that I deliver great work at all times. Would you say that this role is loosely, or more closely, supervised?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Admin Example

      "In my current role, I work under little supervision. I have been with my current employer for five years, and we have developed much trust. I certainly would not expect all the flexibility in the world right away. Would you mind elaborating on the workplace culture, namely the supervision levels, in this role?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Manager Example

      "I am accustomed to very little supervision as a manager. I offer a good amount of supervision for my team, but I also give them the flexibility to do what they do best without unnecessary interference. Do you believe in close supervision, or do you prefer a more hands-off approach with your employees?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Marketing Example

      "I enjoy close supervision on particular areas of a project, and then I need room to work during other more independent project stages. I believe that a talented marketing director knows when to step in and when to give room to work. Would you agree?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Retail Example

      "In retail, there is a lot of close supervision, especially when I work the same floor shifts as my manager. With that said, I am a hard worker and would have no issues when it comes to working more independently. I will deliver more than my base expectations, regardless of the supervision level. How would you describe the level of supervision in this role?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Sales Example

      "The sales roles that I have worked have always offered a great deal of autonomy. I prefer working in an environment that offers an environment where I can freely deploy my methods to close sales and exceed my targets. I do understand that it takes some time to establish that level of trust, however. Would you say that this company offers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to supervision levels?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      Teacher Example

      "As a teacher, most of what I do is in an unsupervised environment. This fact is not to suggest that I have free reign in everything that I do. Little day-to-day supervision is simply a typical classroom environment. I am a responsible and independent person who can succeed in any role, regardless of high or low supervision levels."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 14th, 2021

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In my current role, I work for myself. Being self-employed goes hand in hand with no supervision as it is my own company. This forces me to stay highly motivated and focused on improving my business. I would say that I am highly motivated and reliable in situations with little to no supervision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Fantastic answer! As a business owner, it sounds like you are very motivated, independent, and reliable. Consider concluding by assuring the interviewer you will bring these same qualities to the position you are interviewing for. This question also poses a terrific opportunity to inquire about the level of supervision associated with the position.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I worked as a server in college, I routinely worked without supervision. My goal was to handle customer interactions independently as they arose. Sometimes there were situations that warranted reaching out to a manager, but I did my best to minimize this by exhausting all other resources first."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Nice! It sounds like you're very resourceful, goal-oriented, and independent. To strengthen your answer, consider providing an example of a specific customer interaction you had when you were a server and tell the interviewer what the situation was, what you did, and what the end result was.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I'm used to it and I enjoy it, in my current job, I work most of the time with little supervision on a daily basis. However, I do update my boss on the milestones of an ongoing project."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great start, but I would suggest rounding out your response a bit to illustrate what has attributed to your success in working with minimal supervision (how do you keep yourself on track or motivated?

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I worked in my current role with close supervision, and now I'm working from home with the same efforts and responsibilities with very low supervision. I will do my best with or without supervision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      You do a good job of showing how well you work with little supervision, giving the pandemic's work form home orders as an example.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am accustomed to very little supervision as a senior researcher in my group. I am aware of all my responsibilities and see to it that I fulfill them. I supervise my junior team members in their research but in a flexible manner to let them do what they do best without unnecessary interference."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Ok, this answer communicates your independence so good work.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I strongly believe that I owe it to my team and organization to put all my efforts into delivering the highest quality of work. I did this at a previous technology internship where I spent countless hours testing the software without supervision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great. The question is seeking insight into your ability to work independently and you've shown this with a past example of independent work. You may want to expand with information about how you manage to work without supervision. How do you keep yourself on track and motivated? How do you meet deadlines without intervention? What happens when you have a question or problem?

      User-Submitted Answer

      "At my level, all I need is clear communication of intent and the motivation behind the intent, I can independently seek out the actions that will take us closer to the intent from leadership--->Tell me the Why I will structure the What and I will motivate the Team to tell the best way How that can be done (e.g. need demo by December 2020, get a team together to evaluate options and come with a recommendation for part simulated demo, and execute it successfully to put RMN on Map)."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Right! A mature professional knows how to get direction and implement. Again, a good example will help show rather than just tell or explain. Can you think of an example where you were given high-level direction and created an outcome?

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I've enjoyed great autonomy as both an educator and administrator. While I will always respond well to supervision and clear objectives/outcomes, I'm independent and able to complete what I need to do. I also trust my team to do the jobs they were hired to do with guidance and autonomy."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great. An example may help here. Is there a specific that shows your ability to get things done independently, but work with others when the need arises?

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My manager is physically located in the USA, I am in Korea. So mostly all my recent 3 years I work with little supervision.

      I think getting direction is important,

      but with extreme supervision, I do not need it. Especially when I know the product."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response; it sounds like you work really well with limited supervision!

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As you can see from my previous job I worked in Vietnam where my manager and colleagues are mainly based in Australia. At the moment with the pandemic, we just returned to the office 2 days a week now. I can say that I am a reliable employee who works hard, no matter who is watching. You can rest assured that I deliver great work at all times."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Nice! It sounds like you are accustomed to working with very little supervision. Consider giving more details about how you keep yourself self-motivated and on track even when your managers are not nearby.

      User-Submitted Answer

      ""(Situation) As an experienced researcher, I am accustomed to very little supervision. (Task) I am a very organized, responsible, and independent person. (Action) In my daily work, I identify interesting research directions, search and collect the data necessary to answer these questions, apply for funding if necessary, and finally implement a high-quality empirical analysis. As a mentor and coauthor for Ph.D. Students, I offer a good amount of feedback especially at the beginning to guide them through the process of finding relevant research questions and identifying a credible estimation strategy. At the same time, I give them space and flexibility to learn and apply new methods according to their methodological interests. (Result) This combination of guidance and flexibility helps to establish a level of trust and a work environment in which innovative ideas are welcome.""

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great reply. You obviously are very adept at working with little to no supervision given all your experience as a researcher and how self-driven that process is. You also clearly explain how you successfully mentor Ph.D. students. Your answer shows that you are able to work independently and are self-motivated. Excellent job!

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My current job allows me to work independently with little to no supervision. I am expected to work on 40 applications, document processing, and approval/denials transactions daily. I stay focused by coordinating the work by deadline and importance priority. My bosses know I can be trusted to complete my tasks and get the most important and urgent needs completed first."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! Your response shows that you already work on a daily basis with little to no supervision and that you do so successfully. It also explains that you stay on task by using prioritization methods that you've honed over time. Nice! You might also talk about your ability to take the initiative (to show that you are proactive and don't need to be told what to do), how you understand what needs to be done due to experience, and how you don't need prodding to finish your projects.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I'm a self-motivated, committed, and target-oriented person. Since it's been a long time to work in this company, my high up trust me. I am reliable and do my best, no matter who is around."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are all very positive qualities to have! Because this question specifically asks about your ability to work with limited supervision, I suggest developing this response a bit more to show an example of a time when you were able to self-navigate or complete a project with limited supervision or support.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I first joined the office leasing arena, it was good to have supervision to get comfortable in the role and my responsibilities as well as to learn any pitfalls with the business. After a few transactions and learning the ropes, I was able to leave and work outside of the office with my own clientele and to build my own client base. I very much thrive managing my own time and take an ownership mentality to my personal approach with customers and people. This autonomy builds confidence in my own abilities and gives me the ability to sit down and focus without distractions."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! Your answer shows that you are self-motivated, smart, and independent. The example you provide clearly shows that you work well with little to no supervision. Good job!

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My previous professional roles have always offered a great deal of freedom. Once trained, I can happily work in an environment where I can work with little to no supervision. However, I do understand that it takes some time to establish that level of trust and I expect to be able to ask for guidance to be sure that I understand what is being asked of me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response! This shows a high level of flexibility, autonomy, and trustworthiness, which are all important traits in the workplace.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I do very well, with no supervision. I live my life with integrity and honesty, this means if I am supposed to be doing a job it needs to get done. It has been my observation, that the truth comes to the surface and it is easier to just do the right thing initially."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good answer! It seems that you are honest and can be counted on to be productive with little to no supervision, which any interviewer should be happy to hear.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In my current role as an intern, I mostly work by myself. I accept challenging project tasks, research on them, find appropriate logic and finish them before the deadline. Still, sometimes I prefer to get feedback on certain tasks from my mentor while I am working on them. So, I can say that I enjoy close supervision on particular tasks of the project, then I need room to work during other independent project stages. However, I strongly believe that I will do my best with or without supervision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a well-rounded response, and it feels like this accurately captures your working style. I suggest using the specific term "flexible" or "adaptable" to show that you are able to work well under different types of supervision.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a very independent person. I am able to make decisions on my own."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! Being able to make good decisions independently is crucial to work with no supervision. Are there other qualities you can discuss? How do you ensure your work is high quality with little supervision? How do you stay self-motivated?

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a reliable person, I work to deliver the best results I can provide. I also lead a team and offer them a good amount of supervision but with flexibility."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      All of the qualities you mention here are positive: being reliable, delivering great results, and being a leader who doesn't micromanage. However, make sure you're directly answering the question that has been asked. In this case, if you can provide an example of a time when you worked without much supervision it will show the interviewer that you are self-driven and capable of succeeding without constant guidance.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I formulated my own master thesis topic at the university. When I proposed the idea to my manager at the company and professor at the university, they both agreed. Hence I knew that my proposal was right. This also required me to work on my own since there was little guidance both parties could offer. I knew about this in advance. However, I planned my activities efficiently, knew the right platforms/open-source communities where I could ask for help in case I got stuck. I am reliable and well-structured and could successfully accomplish the task with very little supervision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! It sounds like you were fully aware that you would have to do a lot of work on your own without direct guidance and that you were accepting of this. It was smart of you to plan out your tasks and to find online resources where you could ask for help if needed. Additionally, you might emphasize that you strived to be proactive (seeking out help when you needed it).

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Having been in a manager role, I am accustomed to very little supervision. I take direction well and fulfill my responsibilities independently. As a supervisor, I don't micromanage and am flexible with my team to let them work as they like, with little interference from me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good--it sounds like you are very adaptable and can work successfully in a variety of different environments!

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I work the same way with little or close supervision. I earned the level of trust from my manager that I get my job done on time and escalate any issue when necessary."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! The interviewer will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that you can be trusted to meet your deadlines and communicate any issues appropriately.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a reliable officer who works hard, no matter who is watching. You can be sure that I deliver great work at all times. I am used to very little supervision as a manager. I work well without supervision, but it is always nice to see a boss around and know he will be there when needed. In addition, I like to offer a good amount of supervision for my team, but I also give them the flexibility to do what they do best without unnecessary interference."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! It sounds like you're used to working without a lot of supervision. Can you give more details about the manager position you held where you had little supervision? What kind of tasks did you handle and were there any projects that you initiated of your own accord? More specific details will strengthen your answer; otherwise, great response!

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a manager and current supervisor, I am accustomed to working with little to no supervision. I always planned my day allocate the time for every task and check the progress as we go without depending if I had been monitored or not. So achieving my little milestones set in the morning motivates me and encourages me to stay on track. I also provide enough flexibility/room to my team so that they can make their own decisions and feel confident about them."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent! You've answered confidently and in a way that illustrates you're innately motivated to make progress and achieve goals. You can give this answer more impact by sharing a specific example of a project or valuable task you handled independently and what the positive outcome was.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "What I do now really fits this situation ideally. I have a lot of autonomy when it comes to my job, I can make my own schedule and visits. We have group conference calls at the end of every month to go over potential issues we encounter during the month. I am very comfortable working in this type of environment."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like you thrive when working autonomously. You can better highlight your ability to work independently by giving more detail about your current role. Do you manage all visit scheduling, facility reviews, and follow-ups independently? How often do you report to a supervisor? Are you responsible for troubleshooting issues by yourself? If so, what kind of issues or challenges have you handled without assistance? Providing more detail helps the interviewer understand the breadth of your ability to function unsupervised with confidence.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I work the same way with or without a supervisor. I am very reliable and will do the best that I can do, no matter who is around."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It seems that you are consistent and very reliable, which any interviewer should be happy to hear.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My most recent positions have required me to be self-motivated. Supervision or lack thereof would not make a difference in my performance."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great!

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I can be quite independent in my work. It depends on the task at hand. Some work requires more collaboration, bouncing ideas off a manager. Once I'm comfortable in what I'm doing, I get stuck in and work hard.



      I like to 'check-in' once in a while to be sure I'm on the right track to avoid going down any rabbit holes and wasting time. What's the style of management for this role?"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Fantastic response! These details will be very helpful to the interviewer.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am self-motivated enough to work with little to no supervision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very good! If you can, add an example of a time where you worked with little or no supervision with an exceptional outcome, or praise from your supervisor.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am accustomed to that. In regards to a direct Legal report, I do not have any. I have successfully managed the department, and the company has duly recognized my excellent work by doubling my pay during the last two years I have worked."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your pay raise is a major accomplishment, and great proof to the interviewer that you are a highly capable individual.