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Tell me about a time when you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.

1 of 30 Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on December 23rd, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

This interview question allows you to demonstrate your ability to be a self-starter. Show the interviewer that you are a motivated individual by telling the interviewer about a specific time that you took the lead on a demanding project. Include details of your project timeline, which you led, or what you had to teach yourself for the project to be successful. Be sure to complete your answer by telling the interview what the outcome was.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"We recently had a major inventory count requested of us by the corporate head office. At the time, our manager was away on holiday. No one quite knew where to start or who should take the lead. I took the initiative to lead my co-workers through the inventory project. I taught myself the tracking software in a short amount of time and created a schedule for the inventory counts, so everyone knew the expectations. We completed the project three days ahead of schedule! It was a great success."

Answer example

"I was recently tasked with changing our health benefits provider. Completing this project was crucial to our employees and our bottom line. I made a lot of calls and RFQs, and spent a lot of time hearing proposals to make the best choice before enrollment time."

Answer example

"We recently switched over our entire leadership team. During the process, corporate decided to change our medical benefit plans. I took the initiative to manage the culture during this time by reaching out to all associates individually to gain their feedback on what changes they would like to see. I explained some possible options and gained their feedback for the new leadership team. With the day to day responsibilities of being an HR manager demanded strong time management and initiative. However, I am proud to have led the associates through a seamless benefits transition while gaining strong feedback on leadership changes."

Answer example

"The first time I was awarded lead marketer on a big client project, comes to mind. I had to lead the initial intake calls, be sure to ask the right questions, and correctly relay the information to my marketing team. If anything went wrong, it fell on my shoulders so, for that reason, I worked double time, and triple checked everything before it went out to our client."

Answer example

"Last year, corporate was renovating my store to match the new ones across the country. As soon as it came up that they'd need team leads for each department, I asked for the job. I was chosen to spearhead making their vision a reality, give store #21 its unique twist on that vision, and manage a group of 12 in the department. The nine months spent in transition was a blur of to-do lists, meetings, and collaboration. I am very proud of my team and the role I played in creating and executing that vision."

Answer example

"I was responsible for rolling out an entirely new sales territory from scratch. We had zero name recognition and no clients in that region to point to as references. It was a daunting task. I developed a plan of attack by reading what other high-growth tech startups had successfully done in a B2C model. Next, I identified the notable names in the area that would make us an influencer in the space if we partnered. Finally, I began digging in, calling everyone and anyone who would sit down and talk with me. It took a lot of legwork, overcoming objections, but it ultimately proved effective, and that territory is now one of the top producing markets for the organization."

Answer example

"While on the curriculum team, I volunteered to lead the entire rewrite of third, fourth, and fifth grade Spanish lessons. We had previously agreed upon targets that we wanted to keep, to stay in line with the goals of the middle and high school teachers, but beyond that, I was responsible for creating the key lessons that all teachers would use and with connecting them to the state standards. This project was a huge undertaking, and I recruited a few fellow teachers to help. I delegated the work, choosing the teacher's workload based on their strengths and favored tasks, and then took on the rest for myself, along with overseeing and compiling all of the collaborative work. While it took the entirety of the summer, when it was finally complete, we had an incredible meeting going over it all, talking about the upcoming year, and everyone was excited. What was even more rewarding was seeing the plans in action, both in my classroom, and hearing about the successes other teachers were having as a result of their own."

Reading Teacher
Answer example

"Yes, I have been overloaded with work before. When I first began my teaching career I did take on too much. I wasn't as experienced as I am now when it comes to time management. I worked many late nights and weekends. I do feel that it is par for the course in this line of work when you are starting out. Now, I seldom feel overloaded or overwhelmed since I have more experience."

Ultrasound Technician
Answer example

"If I feel overloaded at work I talk with my co-workers to see if they can help me out. I've developed a great working relationship with them so we never feel that we are putting each other out."

Answer example

"Last month my relief zookeeper fell very ill and she went on short term disability. This increased my workload significantly even though my employer tried their best to have others fill in. I handled it all in stride, knowing that this wasn't a permanent situation. I did take breaks to avoid over-exhaustion and was able to get all of the required work done. My supervisor was very thankful and gave me a small bonus at the end of the month to show her appreciation."

Answer example

"Just last year I paid for the Oren Klaff pitch mastery program called Pitch Anything. The program was worth every penny because what I learned dramatically increased my ability to write compelling sales copy and pitches. The basics of that course taught me how to set the frame, tell the story, reveal the intrigue, offer the prize, nail the hook point, and get the deal."

Sous Chef
Answer example

"I have been overloaded with work a few times in my career but that doesn't happen too often. When I am overloaded with work, I take time to ensure that I am delegating more junior tasks where I can. Usually that helps with the feeling of being overloaded."

Warehouse Clerk
Answer example

"Not too long ago, I was reading an article on voice-enabled technology and how some logistics companies were significantly reducing costs with this tech. Some of the improved areas included shipping, returns, inventory control, and increased employee productivity. I approached my supervisor on this, and he agreed to do some research to help me come up with a presentation to our head office next month."

Answer example

"Working as an underwriter means that there will be times when there might be a lot of work on your hands. But if you are good at your job and keep things organized and plan well in advance then you can avoid situations where things might go out of your hands because of the overload. Being a part of the industry even I have been overloaded with work once or twice. This happened when I had just joined and was a trainee working under a senior underwriter. I used to work on small assignments and for some reason used to spend more than required time on each assignment just trying to be extra careful with everything I did. As a result I was overloaded with work in no time. At first I got panicked but then I got hold of myself in some time and decided to sort it all out. I arranged all the cases according to the level of importance, the deadlines and also on the kind of cases they referred to and then started working on them. I did have to put in a few extra hours of work to sort this all out but eventually I was able to finish it all. I did miss a deadline or two but was excused as I was still a beginner. It was on that day that I learnt that in order to avoid such situations planning is the best tool. Since then I devote the first 15 minutes of my work day in organizing my day and arranging my tasks based on the priority. My supervisors always praise me for I never miss on deadlines."

Written by:

Heather Douglass
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 12/04/2010
Last modified on: 12/23/2018

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
6. Tell us about the last time that you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
Planning a baby shower takes alot of preparation and planning, but was alot of fun to decorate.
When my project topics are not feasible and I think it might not help us a lot, I take the initiative to look for other topics that will be convincing enough for my team members to drop what they previously decided. I have to get more information about those topics.
Building a 30 foot bridge to help a student with his eagle scout project and finding out we needed a back hoe because the ground was to packed to dig by hand. Contacted numerous construction firms who provided and machine on three different occasions.
I dint took any project.
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