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Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new within a short deadline.

This question has been answered 7 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

Advice
The interviewer wants to know that you can learn new skills, under pressure. Hiring managers want to hear that you are willing to put in the effort required to learn new skills, even when it may seem difficult.

Think about times when your company implemented new software, or when you learned a new procedure. Perhaps your employer has asked you to attend a workshop at the last minute, or you had to study for a policy exam. These make great examples! Discuss how you diligently studied related materials, attended a training seminar, or bought a book to help you learn the new content.

Keep in mind; this is another excellent opportunity to express that you accept workplace changes with ease.

Admin answer example
"When I first began my administration career, I started as a temp with an agency. Placed in a variety of roles that changed weekly and sometimes even daily, I often jumped into roles where there was a lot to learn in a short time. Deadlines were often due yesterday. I utilized and maximized my resources to the fullest. I learned about plenty of industries and best of all, had fun doing it!"
Basic answer example
"In my most recent role, I was unfamiliar with their hospital record keeping system. After a few days of on the job training, I was able to maintain the hospital record keeping system, but I still wasn't happy with my fluency. I found tutorials online and spent evenings training myself to a deeper level of knowledge. It was nice to dive in, learn the system well, and have that sense of accomplishment early on in my role."
Manager answer example
"Our company recently implemented a new SAP system. Not only was I tasked with learning the system but I also needed to train my team of five on the use of the system. I had two weeks, so I took a lot of the modules home, watched a plethora of tutorials online, and even utilized some how-to videos on YouTube. I did it, and was proud of the accomplishment."
Marketing answer example
"Our agency implemented a new design program recently, and I needed to know the ins and outs of it in order to work effectively on my largest client project. I hunkered down, put a sign on my cubicle that said, 'Do not feed the animals' and got to work researching and learning. Everyone understood that I needed some time, and they reserved calling my name for urgent requests only."
Retail answer example
"I was promoted to assistant manager in a new department with basically two days' notice. While it was super exciting, it was an entirely unfamiliar department. From the employees to the merchandise, it was all brand new. I took the bull by the horns and got to business learning everything I could about their past inventory, what sells well, and the dynamics of their team, so that I could be as efficient as possible right out the gate. However, I also recognized that I would be most useful if I were to be open about not knowing things and seek out the guidance of the current staff. This approach proved to not only educate me but also to earn their respect. By leading with an eager and humble heart and mind, I got down to business and up to speed within a week."
Sales answer example
"When I started my first sales position, I took a pay cut for a highly commissioned opportunity. I had to hit the ground running to get commissioned more quickly and move up the ranks. I had to learn the car industry in no time so that I could start making appointments and sales. I spent the first week shadowing everyone I could, reading the industry publications after hours, and even went to a dealership on the weekend to walk through as though I were purchasing a used car. I wanted to understand them from the customer perspective. By Monday, I felt fully ramped and was making appointments and running demos."
Teacher answer example
"There are always moments of learning on the fly, as a teacher. One instance that stands out, in particular, is regarding a new student with severe special needs whose parents asked that he be mainstreamed for Spanish. I needed to learn literally overnight how to best include this student in my classroom without missing a beat teaching him, or the other students. He had certain triggers that I needed to learn and avoid, and I wanted him to be successful. I read his IEP cover to cover, spoke with his aide, classroom teacher, and parents to better understand him and his situation. The next day, he stayed for Spanish and had a huge grin on his face and clapped throughout the lesson. It was so fun and rewarding to see. He connected well with the curriculum and the other students."

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new within a short deadline.
1.
I was able to learn very quickly because im a fast learner and I am a problem solver so when i.
2.
I was assigned to a new position and needed to learn and new data input system.
3.
I can't think of a time, but if it ever happened, I would try to do it myself. If I can't, I would ask another employee to help me get started. But I'm usually a fast learner.
4.
I learn by first hand experience, getting my hands dirty. If needed I will read or watch videos as well.
5.
Flash cards and memorization.
6.
The easier way for me is to write notes and asked more questions to have more knowledge on it and practice them.
7.
Principals 7 hour exam. I set up a schedule and followed it precisely and scored 92%.
8.
I spent much time reading and doing searches about the topic.
9.
Yes I do! yesterday I learned about limits in calculus.
10.
I am a firm believer that I learn something new everyday, for example, yesterday I learned how to cook a lasagna.
11.
Yes were all always learning. The paint job I just did in my bathroom did need another coat. After I had done two.
12.
Yes I learned that communication is key.
13.
I do. I believe that every moment is a step towards a better tomorrow.
14.
I do believe I learn something new everyday and yesterday I learned that always arriving at a place earlier than usual can be beneficial to you in the long run.
15.
I do believe we learn something new everyday. Yesterday I learned that goals cannot be postponed or put to rest.
16.
I do I believe in new learning experiences and I learned bunches from it like catering and active listening.
17.
Of course everyday is always a new day to learn something new.
18.
Yes I believe life has new experiences everyday.
19.
Yes, I strongly believe that. Yesterday I learned that believing in yourself can go a very long way in your success.
20.
In this business it is quite true, one does learn something everyday. Yesterday I learnt, I how to temper chocolate opposed to how I had always tempered it.
21.
Yes, I learned that the first Cheesecake Factory was in Beverly Hills.
22.
Yes, yesterday I learned that Elephants have one of the best memories and are highly intelligent.
23.
Yes, yesterday I learned that I can interview people, and get a good read on who they are.
24.
I do believe I learn something new everyday. Everything I do is a learning experience from all the mistakes and obstacles.
25.
Yes, learning is constant. It never ends.
26.
I believe that If you want to learn something new everyday you will. Yesterday I learned how to fix a disc drive on an Xbox 360.
27.
Absolutely. Yesterday I learned that you have to be patient in life.
28.
Yes I do people that you learn something new everyday. Yesterday I learned that life is short and family is everything. My grandfathers birthday was yesterday, he turned 77 years old. My whole family came o we to celebrate. While we were singing I realized that I don't know how many years I have left to enjoy those moments with him and everyone. So I learn to keep my family close.
29.
Absolutely. This job is never redundant, you never know what you're walking into. I learned to leave work at work and to come in with a fresh attitude everyday willing to be the best I can be!
30.
Learn something everyday. Yesterday I learned that I gained weight.
31.
Yes, I learned that helping people would one day serve you.
32.
Yes I believe you learn something everyday if you really want too.
33.
Try to learn as much that I can.
34.
Becoming a host at olive garden I had to learn everything on my own I had no training due to them needing workers immeditetly so I ended up training myself and finding what I needed. As being a host may not be as complex as a travel agent, I had to learn a computer system and how they operate in the hospitality business with it being my first time ever working in a resturant.
35.
I proceed the new task with ease. I learned what change I needed to do and was able to adapt.
36.
My first week working for home Depot they were in desperate need for someone in returns so they sent me even though I've never learned so I watched for about 5 minutes asked a few questions and jumped right in without panicking.
37.
At Nordstrom they have rolled out mobile check out. We can now ring customers up on the sales floor instead of the regular cash register at the cash rap. It was an adjustment for me but I love using it now, it makes checking out so much easier for the customer and provides great service.
38.
I had to learn how to do Excel rather quickly. I was assigned to a new project that was solely done in Excel spread sheets. I asked assistance from peers and took down notes in order to manuvere through the program. I then googles basic excel information and self-taught myself.
39.
Learning something quickly can be challenging, each yr in auto business, had to learn product knowledge, I watched the films, listened, took notes and read the current info to get up to date.
40.
When I was first hired for a company, I had to ramp up quickly to understand the basics of an Identity software suite I was leading from the PM standpoint. I took the perspective of... Jump in with both feet... Immersion is the best way to learn in my opinion.
41.
At my former place of employment we assisted passengers with wheelchairs. The company that I was originally working for was bought by another company.When the new company came into the terminal they brought all new materials. I had to train for the new system as well as learn how to use the equipment. I paid close attention, and made sure to ask questions about the things I was unsure about.
42.
I memorized all I could and take notes to learn it.
43.
I always dive in and get as much information as possible.
44.
How to process orders by learning the names of all the rings in inventory. I learned by seeing them I am a visual learning and good at memorizing things. I did it by memorizing names of rings at home on my own time.
45.
Thats a great question when imoved to texas with my last company we had all new operating systems and I literally only had 3 days of training before the new hires that were hired in texas started. I am a fast learner and was able to grasp it and train the new hires on the new sysytem explaing how to operate the system.
46.
In my current role as a receptionist I proceeded in learning the role in a short time by observing, asking questions, following directions, and engaging as much as possible.
47.
Training at chipotle is very short so most of what you learn Is what you pick up, you have to be very aware, and that how I learned by watching and asking questions but only when necessary.
48.
When I transferred from Murrieta branch to Hemet branch, first day when I started it was extremely busy and I had never used cash machine before. I had to learn it quickly and after a couple of transactions I got the hang of it.
49.
I had to learn a new computer program. I stayed after on my time and took a lot of notes and screen shots until I nailed it.
50.
Invested over time to learn new tools in a short time. Communication with people did help me.
51.
In preparing for my P&C insurance exam. I immediately signed up for my online prelicensing course, dedicated time for self study, stuck to my schedule and will be prepared to take exam. All of this is within a 3 week time period.
52.
I had begun cross-training after learning the kitchen responsibilities. My new duties included efficiently taking orders and processing currency, ensuring the customers order had been served correctly, and mixing new drinks.
53.
While getting my insurance license I had about a week to learn and pass the exam. I was able to do this by planning and dedicating time on the job and off the job to study I also was able to enlist help by my family and friends t assist with duties like cooking and cleaning so that I could dedicate my time to getting my insurance license.
54.
Learning and adapting to that change, if it meant taking it home or practicing in my down time that is what I did.
55.
When I started at smashburger, I was a guest service expert. Meaning, I worked the cash registers, served food and bussed tables. One day my manager came up and told me he was promoting me to a cook, and from there on I had to relearn all job-related procedures.
56.
When I worked for an architecture company I had to learn how to work certain programs with in an hour by myself. I looked it up on the internet and did what I needed to do.
57.
About a year ago our Vice Chancellor wanted to create a new program and asked me to do it. I had to develop a plan in a matter of two months and execute. I quickly began looking at other Universities for assistance, guidance and ideas. Once I felt prepared I wrote up a three year plan and implemented the plan for the project which is successful today.
58.
Opening up the restaurant, deactivating the alarm.
59.
I had to learn how to use our new system called as400 in 3 days. Considering the fact that I am a hands on learner I was able to navigate through the system within this amount of time and my boss was impressed.
60.
When the real estate market turned to the distressed market. I proceeded to get the necessary courses and training to quickly adapt to the changing market.
61.
As a current and relatively new employee at IKEA, I have had to learn everything that is essential to cashiering within a very short period of time. Most of the position requires that you learn as you go, but the company just updated their POS systems and so everyone only had so much time to learn to operate them.
62.
Again, I would refer back to when we picked up our satellite sites, because the billing was a bit different than our main site. I utilized my contacts and resources.
63.
Point of Sale Terminal. Training with set-up team, virtual tour, took notes, and simplified the procedure by using note cards.
64.
In my current job, our property manager was fired. So I had to learn the ropes of managing properties, and tenants, and working with repair companies. My boss wanted 2 properties rented, but he had just had a family emergency. So I had to figure out what was needed to get new tenants screened and had to drive an hour away to meet them to sign documents. I was scared at first, but I took to it right away.
65.
Having to read 2-3 novels in a week during my college career and being thoroughly tested on the concepts/ themes, characters and plot. I read all throughout my day, even if it was only a couple pages at a time. Sometimes I rode the bus to work instead of driving so that I could read on the way to work and on the way back home.
66.
When being assigned to a new job site, I have to learn the on site procedures for that location. I quickly familiarize myself with the policies and try to learn as much as I can.
67.
At FWExpress I had to learn about the cartage company that we had to pick up and deliver our freight. I especially needed to kknow their capabilities so our customers would get satisfaction.
68.
In a new job you have to be able to comprehend a lotof iinformation in a short period so you can perform the job requires.
69.
Absorb the main details, learn the rest as I went.
70.
Found the manual talked to the people to find root cause to correct the situation.
71.
Both airlines .. Was working with shares at hp .. Had to learn qik asap .. Jetblue .. Minisoft/fight speed, had to learn sabre in a short amount of time ..
72.
I am a person that is a quick learner, so once somebody show to me and I definitely can remember it and apply it to real world. If I have to learn so much stuff in a short time, I will try to record it or write it down in case I forget.
73.
When I worked at Chase, we created a department within the department called signature verification. That was to validate the home equity checks to look for fraud signatures on the physical checks. This process was put together in a six week period and after the test region and risk management, the department became successful and I was promoted to manager. To this day, Chase uses the program.
74.
In the command center I had to learn how to input times and when the flight attendants had to make their connection and what gate they had to go to.
75.
When I was first hired for the American Rover Tall-Ship Schooner, I had no idea how to sail. The ship was under staffed at the time and every crew member needed to at least understand the basics of sailing. Since I was brand new at this, I quickly befriended the more tenured crew members and asked if they could would watch what I was doing and give me tips on how I could improve. With time, practice, and their expertise I quickly became one of the better crew members on the ship.
76.
When my mother had a stroke and subsequent diagnosis of locked in syndrome I submerged myself with facts and information. Knowledge is power.
77.
Most of my training has been in very short amounts of time and applied right away on the job.
78.
At Whole Foods I had to learn the intra office computer system for budgeting and buying and chelsea house publishers I had to learn the same, an intra office system for contacting authors and offering them moneys to reprint their work.
79.
In learning a new report system for the office that was complicated, used the assistance of other fellow workers in asking questions and material that was handed out.
80.
While working for Medicare every morning we had group meetings where we discussed new information and changes to rhe script while in open enrollment you had go use new tools so you basically add on to the information you already know and it always worked smoothly.
81.
I asked a lot of questions surveyed the person training me and request to be put on the task as I was learning to better understand exactly how it needed to be done.
82.
I am a hands on type of person so I like to actually do the thing I need to learn, taking notes helps also.
83.
For cheerleading tryouts we had to learn a dance in only a couple of days when we usually have a couple of weeks to learn it. I just kept practicing until I could do it perfectly.
84.
When I began my job at the Lafayette Public Library, they were short-staffed and were eager to train me as quickly as possible. I tend to learn best by observing once and then doing repeatedly. I quickly became acquianted with the new software that I needed to learn, and then I did my best to work independently. When something new came up that I hadn't done before, I used my intuition and problem solving skills to the best of my ability and then asked a coworker if I could not find the answer on my own.
85.
Once, when I was working at a resort in Disney, I had to learn how to use a register in the quick service restaurant. When a hurricane came inland, the guests were stranded at the resort. Additionally, the restaurant was short staffed and they needed I worked in merchandise, so these registers were unfamiliar.
86.
When I first started working, the store gave me a scavenger hunt to help me become more familiar with the store. But once I walked to the front end where I would be working, they immediately told me to get to a register and start bagging, and I had no training with it yet. But I made sure to do all that I was taught on the store test they had me do. So I basically had to teach myself how to bag, and make sure necessary items are bagged together and or separate.
87.
I had to learn the basics of local British politics for my 3 month internship. I spent time out of work getting the basics down, then asking my coworkers more question during our down time.
88.
In school we had to learn how to use the Xerox printer. The printer having many parts to it had to be used correctly. We had to learn how to use it in a short time because it is something that is constantly used. What I did was study everyday as well as practice on the printer.
89.
I took notes when in an office situation. If I working the floor I was sure to ask questions about stocking, etc. That would later help me.
90.
Learning how to learn a couple of songs in less than a week, I'm very determined, so I practiced every day made sure I knew the proper notes, and drove my focus onto it.
91.
I had to learn new French words for a quiz the next day. I began writing and speaking the words until I knew them. I did my other responsibilities then studied the words some more.
92.
When I was being trained, I was given a scavenger hunt to become more familiar with the store, but they ended up putting me straight to bagging without any prior training on it.
93.
Listened to important information regarding what I had to learn.
94.
I asked questions when I didn't understand, and memorized the order of events so that I was able to proceed.
95.
There is now right answer.
96.
Concentrate on the aim.
97.
When I had to handle an event which happened first in a country and everything was new including the event and procedures. I went the extra mile to learn it quickly and meet deadlines in a shorter time.
98.
I keep it simple. Step by step training myself.
99.
To play with inventory which I leanrt in long weekend period.
100.
At xyz company I need to complete out xyz system task in just 15 days and we were team of just 5 members 2 for front-end and another backend. We need to implement shipping, pre-order, payment gateway, scalling, server setup, deployments and database server setups. At that time I learned many things in very short time. Like database setup, Deployment stratergirs, production setups and dashboard creation and techniques to develop without testing.
101.
Concentrate on the aim. Applied myself and worked overtime if needed & consult senior when necessary.

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