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Behavioral Interview
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| 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 were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?

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Behavioral Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?

      The interviewer wants to see how well you work under pressure. Choose a situation that is simple to explain. Focus your response on the actions that you took to turn the situation around. Be sure to highlight the positive result that you were able to deliver in the end.

      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.

      Rachelle's Answer

      " (Situation) Last month, our corporate head office requested a full inventory count at random. We had just 48 hours to complete this count when these inventory counts typically take three full days to complete. (Task) I am the team lead, so it was up to me to determine how the team was going to make this happen. (Action) I rescheduled us to work longer split shifts to ensure we met the timeline without overworking anyone. I turned the task into a competition where the first person to complete their inventory section received two free movie tickets. (Result) My plan worked well! We finished the inventory count in just 39 hours, and the team remained motivated."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Admin interview

      "(Situation) My team and I were recently under a deadline to complete a global employee satisfaction survey. (Task) Our deadline was to execute the project from start to finish within six weeks. Before beginning, we came across one main roadblock that was going to prevent us from accomplishing this. Global customs would take six weeks to ship the surveys in and out of the facility. (Action) We came up with a solution to email the surveys and still include the coding that would catalog the results by location and department. (Result) It was our transparency in communications and collaborative work environment that helped us meet the deadline and deliver the results to the leadership team."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Manager interview

      "(Situation) This past year my Regional Manager wanted to have a new sales rep hired and trained for the first week of January. (Task) She informed me of this only on the first of December. (Action) To expedite the process, I requested a budget allowance to hire a recruiter. (Result) The recruiter worked fast, and we had an offer out to the perfect candidate in just three weeks."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Marketing interview

      "(Situation) I was once part of a marketing project that had a major set back based on the crash of our project management software. (Task) As the Marketing Manager, it was up to me to find the solution so that our team did not lose traction on our deadline. (Action) I went to the project backup database, quickly reviewed everyone's open tasks, rearranged the schedule, and called an emergency team meeting to set us back on course. (Result) We barely made it in time, but we did, and I was very proud of the hard work my team put in to make it happen."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Retail interview

      "(Situation) Recently, I was called into work at the last minute to help complete a buying deadline. (Task) Our previous manager had left suddenly, so I was asked to step in and make buying recommendations for next season. (Action) I stayed up for hours that night reviewing last year's data for the same season, to make educated recommendations to corporate. (Result) In the end, the company made many of their buying decision based on my recommendations. I was so nervous throughout the entire season that I may have made an inaccurate representation of our data and put my job at risk. As it turned out, I was pretty near dead-on, and we had a successful summer season."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Sales interview

      "(Situation) I currently work as a telephone sales representative in a highly competitive environment. I recently had a chaotic week where Monday was a holiday, and on Tuesday, our company database was down. (Task) Tasked with cold calling 100 prospects per day, my numbers do not change despite long weekends or tech roadblocks. This setback meant that I needed to complete five days of work in just three. (Action) I spent a few hours of overtime and skipped my lunch breaks so that I would meet my target. I called 150 people per day and 200 on the final day. (Result) My boss was thrilled with the dedication that I showed and thanked me for not making excuses and hitting my targets despite the roadblocks."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Teacher interview

      "(Situation) Last year, during curriculum writing, we had some conflict about what lessons would be added, cut, or kept. Because of this conflict, our faculty fell behind on the curriculum deadline. (Task) Of course, as a dedicated teacher, my students and their learning always come first. I knew I needed to hustle to reach these curriculum goals before the start of the year. (Action) Ultimately, I ended up working longer hours than usual to make my final recommendations and revisions. (Result) In the end, I was able to reach my professional deadlines. I believe that my passion showed in the inspired curriculum changes I contributed."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Optician interview

      "A common deadline that I have is to get our contact order out every Monday afternoon. There are times that our Monday's are quite hectic so I make a point to set aside 1 hour to get our orders out. I've also made a point to train each of our opticians to submit the contact order so we can cover each other if the other is busy or not at work."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Real Estate Receptionist interview

      "I frequently work on tight deadlines, which I throughly enjoy. To make sure I meet them, I anticipate and identify the most pressing project and use to-do lists and a calendar to keep track of all upcoming duties and important events. I review my list every morning and at the end of each day to ensure the duties assigned were completed in a successful fashion. I also do not hesitate to work overtime or delegate if necessary."

      Christina's Answer
       for a Corporate Copywriter interview

      "I find I do some of my best work under pressure because I am able to focus on the topic at hand instead of worrying about the other work I have for the rest of the day. I found that taking my day assignment by assignment makes it go by faster, and keeps me relaxed."

      Josh's Answer
       for a Civil Engineer interview

      "My team was facing an end-of-year crunch to turn in final plans for a highway bridge last year. I embraced the opportunity to work extra knowing that things would slow down and get back to normal after the submission. I don't mind working overtime if it's required to help our firm meet deadlines and keep clients happy."

      Christina's Answer
       for a Sports Reporter interview

      "I have experience submitting stories under a tight deadline, and my quality of work remains the same regardless of whether or not I am crunched for time."

      Christina's Answer
       for a Multimedia Journalist interview

      "There have been many times I have only had one single work day to complete a video story for television. Although there are so many aspects of the job to complete, including posting to social media, I consistently produce creative writing and good quality video, and I get better every time."

      Anonymous Answer

      "We currently have goals of 25 insights a week, which I have broken down to 5 a day, so it’s not so overwhelming. My manager one week upped ours to 35, which kind of threw my smaller goal system off. This needed to be completed by Friday night. I was behind because I was used to my five a day. I set myself up a tracking system on excel and tracked my progress. I did end up meeting this goal."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This answer shows your ability to adjust while also keeping yourself accountable and on track. Nicely done!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (1)
      Anonymous Answer

      "I don't like to miss deadlines because I take it very personally, and everyone I've ever worked with understands this about me. I find that if I am in danger of missing a deadline, it's best to make everyone aware ahead of time while also working like crazy to avoid being tardy. Sometimes there is just no way around it, and in my experience, having a talk with my team leader and explaining the situation helps with the pressure because they know my work ethic."

      Rachelle's Answer

      The interviewer should be happy to hear that you communicate potential hiccups to your team leader, right away.

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

      "It was my first time ever doing a journal club for one of my rotations. My preceptor had reviewed the first draft and I needed to make a lot of revisions. On top of that, I had to complete other daily assignments. I decided to make a list and prioritize my tasks based on importance and how much time it will take me. I was able to finish making the revisions in time for my presentation."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Great answer!

      "It was my first time completing a journal club for one of my rotations. My preceptor had reviewed the first draft, and I needed to make a lot of revisions. On top of that, I had to complete other daily assignments. I decided to make a list of all my tasks and prioritize my jobs based on importance and how much time they would take to complete. I was able to finish the revisions in time for my presentation."

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

      "I was preparing a report and realized that there were some gaps in the database and that the gathering of data would take much more time than expected. What I did, I reviewed my daily schedule, prioritizing this task over the others. At the same time, I informed my supervisor of my progress and the setbacks, so that she can assess the additional workload and foresee a new deadline."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your chain of action is perfect! You first assessed, then calculated the time you needed, while keeping your supervisor in the loop.

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

      "We were working on ITSM integration and we were in danger of missing our deadline since we were collaborating with the US. I requested a workshop and a budget for travel to bring the developers together. The results were impressive, and work was done efficiently. Now we spare some money for such travel expenses just in case."

      Cindy's Answer

      I like that your answer shows strategic problem-solving. Add a bit more detail to enhance it. Why was this the best solution? Were there other choices that wouldn't have been as impactful? Likewise, expand on results. Did the team work faster by being face to face? Were you able to unblock obstacles by working more closely?

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "We had a phone migration for the building of 200+ phones across the building that had to be setup to go to a different phone server and all had to manually be rebooted. We ran into an issue with the new server not accepting the phones. We ended up having to delete the old cluster off the server so that it could register on the new server. We were in danger of having employees come in the next day without phones. I stayed until a little past 2 in the morning to finish the phones up."

      Kristine's Answer

      Great response! You describe an intense situation where you stepped up to make sure you met the deadline. To help the interviewer understand the urgency of the task, you can discuss the tight timeframe you had to complete the project. I revised your response slightly to help with clarity.

      "We had a phone migration assignment for a building with 200 phones. All phones had to be set up to go to a different phone server and had to be rebooted manually. We ran into an issue with the new server not accepting the phones. We ended up having to delete the old cluster off the server so that it could register on the new server. We were in danger of having employees come in the next day without phones. I stayed until a little past 2 in the morning to finish the phone migration."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "At my current job, we had a cable catch on fire, causing a huge outage. We were under pressure to repair the cable before a storm came through that evening. I called another co-worker to come over and had a digging machine brought out. We ended up working through our lunch that day, but by working hard and being determined to get the job done, we were able to get the cable fixed that night right when the rain started pouring in. We only got a little wet, but the satisfaction was worth it."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your story is very engaging, and the interviewer should appreciate your approach! This example shows off your attitude of perseverance very well.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I was working on a large bid for a buying group. This required extensive work with different departments, such as pricing, regulatory, and procurement. Just my luck, the head of pricing was on vacation until the day before the bid was due. If I missed the deadline, I would have lost not only the bid but possibly any chance of working with them again. I received the pricing breakdown at 3 pm the day before the deadline. I worked on the presentation and bid all night, I might have gotten a few hours sleep, but it paid off because I got it done on time."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is a wonderful example of applying yourself to reach a very difficult deadline. Did you win the bid in the end? :)

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "As we were undertaking our offshore restructuring process, the managing director had given us a timeline on the share transfer process. This meant that we had to pay stamp duty and capital gains tax. We took a risk of applying for Stamp duty exemption. Assessment of the exemption is known to take a long time, but I cleared my diary, spent the day at the registry. We got the S. D exemption and saved the company 13 million and managed to finish the task on time."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds like you gained an exceptional result in the end, after taking some smart steps. Good work!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I was working as a freelance translator and we had a three-month-long project. I was delivering translations twice a week, and every delivery was on a tight deadline, meaning one delay would have a domino effect and potentially derail the whole project. In the middle of the road, the inevitable happened and I sent in a translation late. Even though the project was difficult and everybody understood it, failing to deliver it on time would cause a breach of trust between me and the client, which meant I needed to do something. Since the work I needed to do was the same but now I had less time to do it, I needed to streamline my workflow. I went back and took a hard look at how I translated. I realized that the checks and controls I had in place to ensure quality were too extensive for their own sake. I could touch up the draft more lightly and still get fully functioning and register appropriate target texts. This discovery not only allowed me to optimize my work processes, but I was also able to finish the project three days ahead of time."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good! This story-based response is well used for this question.

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