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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 showed initiative by taking the lead on a team project.

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Behavioral Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you showed initiative by taking the lead on a team project.

      The interviewer wants to see that you are confident enough to take the initiative when the opportunity arises. Talk about your motivation and passion for being an active leader in the workplace.

      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.

      Describe any project or learning experience where you saw a chance to lead and took advantage of it. Talk about the success of the project and your biggest takeaway from experience.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) In my previous role, I recognized that we needed a better training program to onboard new hires at a quicker rate. (Task) As the leader for onboarding and training, it was up to me to create such a program. (Action) I took the initiative to create this training program, incorporating all the work we did in a way that new hires could easily learn and replicate. (Result) The team loved having this guide, and more so, enjoyed feeling empowered when it came to training new hires the right way."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Admin interview

      "(Situation) When I first started my current admin role, I took it upon myself to organize the digital files for the company. (Task) The files were a mess, and I was the person who had the time to take care of it. (Action) Organizing these files was a huge challenge, but I tackled 100 documents per day, on a schedule that I had created for myself. In 20 days, I finished. (Result) I was pleased with my ability to take on a project that nobody else wanted to do, and my boss was thrilled with the initiative that I showed."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Manager interview

      "(Situation) In my previous role, I took the lead on a critical communication project. (Task) As the morning Shift Manager, I needed help pass along pertinent information to our 2nd and 3rd production shifts in a more effective way. (Action) I made the recommendation of hanging announcement screens throughout the building, ensuring that everyone had the same information at all times. (Result) We installed these announcement screens, and in no time, we encountered much less stress and confusion during shift changes."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Marketing interview

      "(Situation) Last year, our company was discussing a potential product launch in the European market. (Task) As an intermediate project researcher, I knew this was my chance to be noticed. (Action) I reached out to the head of the marketing department and asked if I could be the lead product researcher. I stated my case by discussing why I would be the best fit for that opportunity. She agreed and allowed me to take the lead. (Result) The project was a great success, which gave me the confidence to speak up again. Next week I will be starting another project where I'll be the lead product researcher."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Retail interview

      "(Situation) In my current store, when the merchandise for the next season arrives, our team needs to put in a lot of extra hours to get everything out onto the floor. (Task) Although I am not a manager, I do see the importance of jumping in to help. (Action) During our last season change, I helped to organize the team while ensuring that the sales floor remained attended. I showed a positive mindset and enthusiasm. (Result) Because of the energy I exuded, others naturally wanted to follow me. The change-over was a success, and our team had more fun than usual."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Sales interview

      "(Situation) Last year, I identified the need for ongoing learning and sales training for my company's junior sales reps. (Task) As the Sales Manager, I knew I had a lot of ideas to offer for mentoring and growing these reps. (Action) I founded Friday lunch-and-learns with a different topic presented every week. I worked across departments to feature guest lecturers and industry experts via Skype. (Result) As a result, I was able to educate the sales team further, improving retention. Today, we are all more effective in our sales pitches, and our numbers have increased by 15% overall."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Teacher interview

      "(Situation) This year, I took the lead by testing a new tech platform for our online learning students. (Task) I am quite a tech-savvy individual and had already been researching the topic of online learning for quite some time. (Action) I performed more specific research, spoke with many tech gurus, and created a presentation for our Board of Directors that included three viable options. I presented the data in a way that was easy to absorb and considered multiple critical factors to student learning. (Result) The board decided on my top recommendation, and now, four months into the launch, the revised online learning platform has proven very effective."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Bank Compliance Officer interview

      "The accomplishment I am the most proud of is managing a very large project on a very tight deadline. The project was (X project related to the position you applied for, as per the job posting), which I successfully led and managed while employed for (X company) as (X position title). The project involved (X further information pertaining to this project, including areas related to the position you applied for, as per the job posting)."

      Ryan's Answer
       for a Ramp Agent interview

      "With my current company, I was tasked a couple of years ago to lead a team on offsite projects that come up once in a while. My supervisor saw my ability to think on my feet and delegate duties to my team as a great sign that I was ready for this challenge and when asked if I would, I graciously said yes. If I were to become a Ramp Agent, I feel very confident in my ability to give direction to others, if it became necessary. My current experience would fare well for me because I've learned how to do this confidently and with class."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Youth Worker interview

      "(Situation & Task) While working at a small all-boys youth center, myself and two co-workers took the group on an outing. Due to the size of the group, we were traveling in separate vehicles. In one car were myself, my co-worker who was driving, and four youth. In the second vehicle were my third co-worker and another three youth. As we were driving, one of the boys in my vehicle began to foam at the mouth and seize. To my knowledge, this boy did not have any pre-existing medical conditions. (Action) I asked the driver of the vehicle to pull over immediately. One of the other boys began to go into shock from the stress of the situation, and I knew that I needed to give each youth a 'job' so that they would be kept busy rather than going into shock. I asked one boy to use the sick boys' cell phone to call the parents. I needed to find out what was going on and discover what I was missing regarding this boys' medical history. Then, I asked another youth to call the leader in the second vehicle to fill them in on the situation, ask them to turn around, and come to help. In the meantime, my co-worker called for emergency assistance. Admist all of this frenzy, I used my first aid training to get the siezing boy into a safe position and ready for the paramedics arrival. (Result) In this critical situation, I took the lead and kept everyone safe. I spoke with the paramedics, and they confirmed that I did the right thing in this situation. Had I not put the boy into a safe position, and used my first-aid training, the boy could have sustained severe injuries. In the end, the boy was treated and did not suffer any permanent medical issues."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Audio Engineer interview

      "In my previous job, I was the motivating force to help everyone get our work done on time. While everyone else preferred to work slowly, I would get my work done quickly and help everyone else so we could check over our work and make sure it was error free."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Wildlife Biologist interview

      "I lead a team of individuals when working as (X position title) for (X organization). In this role, I was responsible for (X number of professionals) and (X further related duties, relevant to the job posting). As a result of my leadership and team management skills, we were able to complete the projects ahead of the deadlines and my employer proved highly satisfied."

      Ryan's Answer
       for a Property Manager interview

      "In college, I was on the leadership board for a club called Outdoor Adventures. The club was focused on leading groups of students on day-long trips in the great outdoors. This often involved hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, swimming, climbing, etc. As we thought up new ideas for trips in our area, I had the idea of starting a quarterly triathlon-style trip. The trip would include an opportunity for swimming, biking, and running in the same day-long trip. I scouted out some locations, put together an itinerary, planned transportation and meals, marketed the trip to our members, and ended up leading four very successful trips that school year. I loved the opportunity to see this project through, from a simple idea to a really unique experience that the club still offers to this day."

      Allison's Answer
       for a Engineer interview

      "Last summer, I interned at a company that did municipal sewer projects. The community they were working with wanted to obtain funding through a state loan program, and, as you may know, government programs usually have specific requirements for how the requests are put together. Most of the other team members were busy with other work, so I took it upon myself to research the loan requirements and be the primary contact with the state. In the end, the project went well."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a School Cross Guard interview

      "Our company was discussing a new product launch into the European market, I reached out to the marketing department and asked if I could be the lead product researcher."

      Audra's Answer
       for a Video Producer interview

      "I have lead a team of individuals when working as (X position title) for (X organization). In this role, I was responsible for ten representatives and (X further related responsibilities including, e.g., the management of numerous duties on a short deadline). I realize this particular experience is not related to this position, however the team management skills acquired in this role will highly benefit me in this position at your company. I thoroughly enjoyed taking on a leadership role as I love leading team members to success."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I recently sat down with two new sales team members who do not have much experience with our business's technical side. I realized then that if we did not submit the documents needed, we would miss out on a lot of order intake. After reviewing the documents and explaining the technical side for three hours, we were able to submit the proposal to the client and secure the project for the next quarter of order intake."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is a good start! Be sure when you are answering 'Tell me about a time' based questions using the STAR framework that you are also providing enough background information and detail for your answer to have the most impact.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I managed a team of sales reps with various degrees of experience in sales and almost no knowledge in medical sales. I developed a training program that paired those on my team with the most experience with those who hardly had any. What I found was that it created a cohesion on my team as it allowed me to delegate some of the coachings. As a result, everyone had something to learn from one another while also instilling some valuable leadership skills to each member of the team."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Smart move, to delegate some of the coachings. This example shows smart leadership and a willingness to put trust in your more seasoned team members.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I managed all the breakout session room, and producer assignments for our Sales Kick off. With the challenge of the event going completely virtual this year due to COVID, my team wanted to ensure that we were still creating a consistent experience with certain breakouts still occurring simultaneously as others and overall creating a fluid experience. I created a tracker where I could manage the status of all our breakout rooms, what my team could take, what we need to assign to IT Conferencing support, and gaps we would need to fill with a vendor. In addition to this, I arranged training for my team to attend that would enable them on webinar tools we were not familiar with for the success of the event. It was a heavy lift, but in the end, we were able to pull it off, even when the sessions were changing platforms and times, and as a result, I was recognized by my manager, Director, and LEader of my organization for my success."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This sounds like quite the accomplishment, and it seems you worked very hard to maintain some normalcy despite COVID and the events going virtual. It also seems you learned some new approaches along the way. Good ending - showing the interviewer that you earned recognition for your diligence.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "While working as a news reporter, our chief editor gave the team the responsibility of covering stories coming out of an international conference that took place in our country. It would take the whole day and since he left us to our own devices, we needed leadership. I took up the mantle and commissioned an angle to each of my colleagues, and put two of them on background research while I wrote the lead of the story. We put out a satisfyingly long and detailed story, and we kept updating it throughout the day. Towards the end of our shift, the chief editor came in to congratulate the entire team and praised me for being the bonding agent that kept the team together."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is an excellent story and a strong example of your leadership and initiative. It must have felt hugely satisfying to earn this praise from your chief editor.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "The company I work for decided to change phone systems to save money, I volunteered to take lead on it because of my IT background. I worked with voice team to migrate all of our users from our old phone system to new phone system and I helped them do the testing ahead of time. We worked through several different issues including re-recording our phone system message and made the switch successfully without any issues."

      Kristine's Answer

      Great answer! You share a great example of a time you took the lead at work. There was contradictory information in the final sentence likely due to wording, so I revised that part for clarity.

      "When the company I work for decided to change the phone system to save money, I volunteered to take the lead on it because I felt my IT background prepared me well for the role. I worked with the voice team to migrate all of our users from our old phone system to the new phone system, and I helped them do testing ahead of time. We completed tasks such as re-recording our phone system message and made the switch successfully without any issues."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I was on many teams and committees outside of my actual sales duties. One of which was the healthy lifestyles committee. After one meeting, I asked if I could lead the upcoming project of getting everyone to track their food and steps. I am passionate about health and helping others. I created a fun project where everyone participated, and there were prizes at the end of it. It brought the entire office together and helped people achieve their goals of losing weight and getting fit."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Awesome work! This answer is lively and shows a bit about your personal interests as well.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "During my studies in Singapore, I was tasked with a group project that required us to use data to solve a business problem. Being such an open-ended task, everyone in the group wanted to do something different, and we wasted a lot of time arguing over what we wanted to do. I decided to step in and run a mediation process and got everyone to outline their ideas and discuss each group's pros and cons. In the end, I decided it was best to have an amalgamation of the ideas and combine them into one that worked towards our strengths as a group. One student suggesting using interactive dashboards to present our results, and another suggested making our project around real estate, both of which our group had some experience with. In the end, the group spirit really lifted, and we ended up putting an excellent project together that achieved an A+ grade"

      Rachelle's Answer

      Terrific story-based example! You do an excellent job highlighting your analytical skills and ability to bring a group of people to an agreement. Also, nice use of the STAR framework.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I initiated a project to put the business online which involved getting buy-in at a time when online selling was just taking off. I had to put a team together involving the store manager, admin person (to set up stock items) and myself. If was a great success where online sales became 5% of store sales."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's amazing that you offered up the 5% stat, to fully support your answer. Nice job!

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      Anonymous Answer

      "In my current job, I recognized that to do another genome annotation we needed a detailed pipeline, once it has several steps along the way and we could bring others in at a quicker rate. I took the initiative to create the pipeline, incorporating all the work we did in a way that people could easily replicate. My supervisor loved having it, and more so, enjoyed having others using it."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Wonderful! Your example is specific and showcases your ability to take creative initiative.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "In my previous role, I was assigned to lead my team during a cyber breach situation. It was during a critical time because accruals were due but most laptops were compromised during the incident. My laptop was one of the unaffected ones so I took the initiative to collaborate with my coworkers and cross-functional team to meet the tight deadlines. As a result, we were able to process the accruals and met expectations."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good for you! It sounds as though you took control, knew what to do, and led your coworkers with ease.

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