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Answering Behavioral Questions

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Rachelle Enns
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune 500 executives find success in their career.
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Interview Q&As
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Tell me about a time that you failed. How did you get back up again?
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Example #1
"(Situation) One of the bigger perceived failures that I can think of was not graduating as soon as expected, with my university degree. (Task) I had detailed plans laid out and was eager to graduate with my degree in 2018. (Action) I encountered a few personal factors that pushed my graduation date back one year. It was a bit embarrassing at the time, but I made the best of it by keeping a positive mindset. (Result) In the end, I am thankful that I could complete my degree at a comfortable pace. I finished with excellent grades as well."
Example #2
"(Situation) My former employer put me through a last-minute advanced Excel course that I ended up failing. (Task) I was unprepared for how challenging the course was, and should not have agreed to begin with an advanced-level course. (Action) I told my boss that I was not excelling in the class. We discussed this failure together and realized that I was not yet ready for the advanced level coursework - I was more of an intermediate level user. To fix the situation, I studied online for a few weeks and then re-took the course when I felt more prepared. (Result) This approach worked much better, and I finished with 92% the second time around."
Example #3
"(Situation) Last year I had a larger staff turnover percentage than usual. Hiring the wrong person is an expensive and time-consuming mistake, so I was undoubtedly frustrated and discouraged. (Task) As a seasoned Manager, normally, my hiring process is airtight, but it is not perfect. (Action) Rather than lose confidence in my abilities, I engaged the Human Resources department in simplifying our onboarding and training process. (Result) Since this change, we have not lost any employees in the last 18 months, which is a fabulous record for our company."
Example #4
"(Situation) A few months ago, our group had a marketing campaign that completely flopped. (Task) It was up to me as the Marketing Director to get down to the heart of the issue. (Action) I called a group meeting. Then, as a team, we broke down each component of the project until we knew where we went wrong. In retrospect, I could have done better by breaking down the clients' vision further, from the beginning. (Result) We re-did the campaign, and the second time around, it was a major success."
Example #5
"(Situation) Earlier in my career, I was not good at graciously receiving feedback. (Task) Had I been able to receive feedback without becoming defensive, I believe that I could have grown in my career much faster. (Action) Last year, I took a workshop on giving and receiving feedback, which helped a great deal. (Result) Now, I understand how to have these types of conversations and how to implement the constructive criticism that I receive."
Example #6
"(Situation) I had a misstep in my sales career a couple of years ago. You can see the short stint at Company ABC on my resume. (Task) Before joining their organization, I should have asked more questions regarding their success level and how their current results reflect their future goals. (Action) The company was in serious financial trouble, and I was unaware. They went into receivership, and I lost my job. (Result) Now, I ask many more questions before joining a new company. My success and the company's success should go hand in hand."
Example #7
"(Situation) Last year, I missed a major marking deadline. (Task) I was newer to my teaching career and, although it is a steep learning curve, that was no excuse. (Action) I have spent the past eight months working on my time-management skills through online workshops. (Result) I took that missed deadline very hard. I do not like to disappoint anyone or fall short of expectations and will never do that again."
Example #8
"Currently, I handle anywhere from three to thirty calls per hour, on a twelve-hour shift. This volume means that I can take upwards of 350 calls per shift, as a Police Dispatcher. I love working in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment not only because I enjoy the challenge but also because the days go by so fast. Rest assured, I am ready to meet the needs and volume of your department."
Example #9
"At my last role, I was an usher at a local movie theatre and a customer complained that the picture wasn't in the correct screen ratio for the previews. The movie started at the point when they came to complain, so I apologized and rushed upstairs to the projector room to correct the issue. Later on, they complained to corporate and said I should have done more. I agreed, I should have stayed after the movie ended and apologized again to the patron and if they were still unhappy offered them free tickets to their next visit."
Example #10
"I was tasked with increasing standardized test scores for math by 25%. I worked hard all year and was able to increase it by 19%. So I looked back on the year and took stock in the things that I could do better. I asked teachers for feedback, and I asked the principal for feedback as well. I even sent a survey to the students' parents. I took all that information and identified areas of improvement. Then I made a plan to improve on each area and invited school leadership to give me feedback and suggestions."
Example #11
"I remember the first time I had to talk to a parent regarding a student who was caught pushing another student. However, the parent was not that amenable to meeting with the school due to her busy schedule. I was a bit too assertive when talking to her which angered her, and so she didn't attend our initial meeting altogether. I apologized sincerely, and explained to her the urgency of the meeting, and we were able to settle the issue. So if I could redo that incident, I would have been more diplomatic when I first talked to her so we could have settled the issue sooner. Because of that, I realised that I should also learn how to talk to parents because it is a part of my job."
Example #12
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