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Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new within a short deadline. How did you succeed?
Hiring managers want to hear that you 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 a new procedure was being introduced. 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 material. Keep in mind, this is another great opportunity to express that you accept workplace changes with ease.
Answer examples
"When I was new to my last job 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."
"I often have 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 my team and their strengths. I had fun with it!"
"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 important requests only."
Retail answer example
"I was called up to be an 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 obviously 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 effective as possible right out the gate. However, I also recognized that I would be most effective if I were to be open about not knowing things and seek out the guidance of the current staff, which proved to not only help educate me, but also earn their respect as well. By leading with an eager and humble heart and mind, I got down to business and up to speed within a week."
Teacher answer example
"There are always moments of learning on the fly in teaching. One instance that stands out in particular is regarding a new student with some severe special needs, who had parents asking 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 in order to better understand him and the 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 -- even the other students loved that he stayed for Spanish and clearly enjoyed the lesson, too."
Sales answer example
"When I started my first sales position, I took a pay cut for the opportunity so I had to hit the ground running in order 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 to understand it from the customer perspective. By Monday, I felt fully ramped and was making appointments and running demos."

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User-Submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new within a short deadline. How did you succeed?
I was able to learn very quickly because im a fast learner and I am a problem solver so when i.
I was assigned to a new position and needed to learn and new data input system.
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.
I learn by first hand experience, getting my hands dirty. If needed I will read or watch videos as well.
Flash cards and memorization.
The easier way for me is to write notes and asked more questions to have more knowledge on it and practice them.
Principals 7 hour exam. I set up a schedule and followed it precisely and scored 92%.
I spent much time reading and doing searches about the topic.