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Behavioral Interview
Questions

| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to major change in the workplace. How did you cope?

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Behavioral Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to major change in the workplace. How did you cope?

      Change is prevalent in workplaces today, and interviewers want to know that you can embrace change. Perhaps your job duties shifted, there was a significant revision in policy, you had to welcome a new manager, or your company was acquired. These situations make great examples to draw on.

      Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered 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.

      Pick an example where you enjoyed the change, or where the result was positive. Explain how this change directly impacted your job and tell the interviewer how you maintained a positive approach during the transition.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) Last year, we changed our patient check-in process. (Task) I was required to learn a completely new software system in a short amount of time. (Action) To tackle this challenge, I took a weekend-long online workshop to master the program. (Result) I encouraged my co-workers to do the same course, and it was beneficial for them as well."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Admin interview

      "(Situation) At Company ABC, my management team was turning over due to a merger. (Task) I needed to avoid a layoff in the process. (Action) I began learning as much as I could about the new company, their style, and their leaders. These actions were to stand out as an enthusiastic team member. (Result) The leaders noticed my positive attitude, and I avoided layoff through the process."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Manager interview

      "(Situation) Last year, my company shuffled around a lot of our team members under no notice. (Task) This shuffle meant that, overnight, the team of 40 that I was leading, became a team of 60. (Action) I had a great rapport with the current 40 and needed to come up with a fast strategy for connecting with the additional 20. I chose to throw a team-wide after-work event so that everyone had the opportunity to get to know each other and make meaningful connections. (Result) My idea worked like a charm, and everyone clicked right away, making the best of an abrupt situation."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Marketing interview

      "(Situation) We recently hired a new CEO with many credible years of experience in global marketing. (Task) This CEO's experience brings great value to my team; however, their leadership style is very different from the former CEO. For that reason, I had to work hard to help my team to adapt. (Action) I shared with my team that change is good. I shared my belief that it is important to adapt, or we risk falling behind as a group. (Result) My team trusts me, and they agreed by fully buying into the new CEO's approach. The situation has been highly positive so far."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Retail interview

      "(Situation) My current company has very high turnover rates. On many occasions, I've had to adapt to a new manager. (Task) As the assistant manager, I've had to lead the proverbial 'welcome-committee' many times. (Action) I prefer to set an excellent example for the rest of my team, so I am quick to adapt and welcome any new managers, warmly. I am sure to provide them with the tools that they need to succeed. (Result) As a result, my team members follow suit and are kind, helpful, and welcoming as well."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Sales interview

      "(Situation) When our sales team was appointed a new VP of Sales, it was a huge culture and organizational shock to everyone on the team. (Task) The change was tough at first because this VP seemed to be less experienced than the person in the role prior. Overall, it felt like a bad hire. (Action) I decided, however, to keep that opinion to myself. I wanted to get to know this VP and learn about her past successes. (Result) In only a few months, her contribution has been hugely successful for our SaaS business. My team and I have come to appreciate her insight and perspective."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Teacher interview

      "(Situation) The founding member of my schools' ESL program ran it for 20 years. So, when she left, it was a big change for us all. (Task) The subsequent chair was a high school French teacher, so it was a 180-degree change to which I needed to adjust. (Action) It took a period of adjustment and a summer full of meetings, but we came to respect and understand each other. (Result) Ultimately, the change was beneficial. Taking this person's outside experience, we were able to communicate more seamlessly with the older grade levels, thereby ensuring that the entire ESL department connected in its goals, targets, and program execution."

      Heather's Answer
       for a Medical Coder interview

      "Last year we upgraded to ICD-10. I was required to learn a completely new software system in a short amount of time. To tackle this challenge, I took a weekend-long online workshop to master the program. I find that when there is a major change in the workplace it's best to take the learning curve on as a positive challenge. I encouraged my co-workers to do the same course and it was really helpful for them as well."

      Ryan's Answer
       for a Property Manager interview

      "I think most people would find major changes to routine procedures they conduct on a daily basis to be somewhat annoying. To be completely honest, I'd initially be a little bit annoyed, like most people. But then, I remind myself that these decisions are made in what upper management believes to be best for the company. And since I'm a team player, and I recognize that the company's best interests are also my own best interests, I just look for ways to learn the new procedures as quickly as I can. The change is going to happen anyway, so I may as well make the transition as smooth as possible.
      Last year, the management at my previous company decided to upgrade the system tenants used to report maintenance issues. The current system was easy to navigate, and I had a lot of information saved on that system from previous situations I had dealt with. Ultimately, I knew the upgraded system would provide a better, more timely service for the tenants, so I quickly adjusted to the new system and even committed to training other employees on how to manage work orders that came through."

      Anonymous Answer

      "When my manager, who I truly valued, was replaced by someone who had a whole different approach to work. I needed to understand for myself and set goals about what I can learn from this person, and I succeeded well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This would have been a tough situation! I recommend diving in a bit further on what you did to pivot your approach.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (3) or No (0)
      Anonymous Answer

      "We were asked to move from one side of the building to the other side of the building and went from 18' office space to 10' office space along with losing our common lab. I had to go through all the equipment in our work space to determine what equipment I had to have to do my job and what equipment I could do without since I didn't have the space to keep the equipment. We got moved over and it ended up being a good thing because we are closer to some other departments that we work frequently with."

      Kristine's Answer

      Good answer! The interviewer will be glad to hear you found something positive in the situation. You may want to mention your reaction to the change. Was it difficult to accept but you recognized you needed to accept it? Did you understand the need for it? I reworded your response slightly to help with clarity.

      "We were asked to move from one side of the building to the other side of the building and went from 18' office space to 10' office space along with losing our common lab. I had to go through all the equipment in our workspace to determine what equipment I had to have to do my job and what equipment I could do without since I didn't have the space to keep all of it. We got moved over, and it ended up being a good thing because we are closer to some other departments that we work with frequently."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)
      Anonymous Answer

      "When we acquired a new drug distributor, it was a difficult transition because their reps were servicing some of our current accounts. How the transition was handled was that we would split up the accounts that had two reps. It was difficult to give up a few accounts with only retaining some others. Little or no quota adjustment was given to the reps that lost accounts, so I handled it by just working super hard to open up new accounts to get me back to where I was before the merger. I was able to do this by merely hard work and determination."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Lesser people would have complained or given up, but you kept going. Well done! It seems your attitude is an employers' dream.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)
      Anonymous Answer

      "Major changes in the workplace, there was a time when a facility wanting to be ISO certified, because of this ambitious goal we had to organize ourselves a little differently. It was hard to concentrate on the work at hand with what seemed to be a daily change, towards ISO Certification. How I copped? I copped by discussing the matter with other colleagues and by staying a little later on some days to make up the work."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This response is a bit weak as far as how you coped. Dig in a bit deeper with what your discussions with colleagues were about. Were these organized meetings? Otherwise, this could sound like water cooler gossip. Also, there is no resolution. Did you achieve the goal of ISO certification? I have reworded this for you, below.

      "One of our facilities wanted to be ISO certified, which is an ambitious goal. To adapt to the changes and properly handle the project scope, I ensured that our team met regularly. Clear communication, some late nights putting in overtime, and a great deal of organization are what got us the ISO certification in the end."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (1)
      Anonymous Answer

      "This spring, the pandemic shook up our organization's operational workflow, including my daily workflow. I had to become the reliable source of information and education for much of the clinical team- introducing new procedures, policies and expectations. It was very overwhelming at first, but after putting a team together to tackle the details, we were able to change course in a short amount of time."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This response is a great start! As per previous feedback, I recommend adding in more details around your involvement and action steps. When it comes to the result, do you have anything tangible or measurable to share?

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (1)
      Anonymous Answer

      "When a company is growing and expanding, new people are hired, and personal gets switched around. I find that when I am given a new territory to manage and new people to report to, it's an opportunity for growth. I like to get to know the new folks right away by scheduling business plan meetings so that expectations are set, and we are all in alignment. I did this with a manager that was hired from outside of the company, and she told me that she appreciated the initiative I took to meet with her and set our common goals."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds as though you can adjust your approach to many different career settings, with various expectations and goals. Good answer!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "We are currently going through a change with our dispatch system at my current job. Previously we were able to see all of our work for the day at one time and route ourselves throughout the day to the higher priority work. The system has now changed, so we only see one job and won't see the next job until our previous job is closed. I do not agree with the new process, but I've adapted to it to make sure I'm still able to complete all of my work for the day efficiently."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This process sounds like a pain, indeed! It's completely okay that you do not agree with this change. What is most important is that you respectfully disagree but have adapted, regardless. This answer shows a lot about your work ethic and character. Good work!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I've experienced a lot of major reorganizations, including changes of managers and directors. Because this occurred so frequently, I made it a point to meet with my new colleagues and identify my roles and responsibilities before they came to their own assumptions. From there, we would exchange ideas on how we could collaborate and better understand how to enhance the event and webinar program experience."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your ability to adapt will certainly increase with multiple company reorganizations. If you have a specific story of a 'time when...' consider outlining one in more detail.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "The news filing software that we were using at work to submit news stories for editing and publication was given a major overhaul. The changes were so drastic that most of our team members were stumped and rendered dysfunctional waiting for the IT guys to come down and give them a hands-on tutorial. Interested in software and computers since my childhood, I quickly and easily found my way around the new interface, being the first to start using it effectively. When this caught the attention of my coworkers, they asked me for pointers, and I was more than happy to turn this into a quick workshop for the rest of the team, which allowed us to get back on track in no time. When the IT guys came in, they were surprised to find out that we were using practically all of the fundamental features of the new software."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Nice! It seems that your interest in computers and software has helped elevate your work many times. This story shows a great deal of leadership and initiative.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "When I changed to be the CSS at another clinic, it was a significant change for me to be the only nurse with several responsibilities that I didn't have at my other job. I stayed late and did what it took to get the job done."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds like you pushed yourself to learn new skills - could you talk a bit more about what those specific skills/responsibilities were?

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