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Tell me about the most competitive work situation you have experienced. How did you handle it, and what was the result?

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

Updated January 22nd, 2020 | 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 question is designed to determine if you can function well in a competitive environment. Think back to a time when you were racing others to achieve the highest sales, were working towards a promotion, or eagerly trying to win a new contract. Show the interviewer that you rose to the challenge and that you were excited to push yourself to be the best. It is a definite plus if you have cheered on your competitors and helped them along the way. Finally, be sure to mention any successful outcome.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"My current sales position is highly commission based, so my colleagues and I are quite competitive. Despite being competitive, we have a great work environment where we help each other when someone is struggling to meet their quota. We coach each other on sales techniques and share success stories. The result has been a positive work environment with healthy competition."

Answer example

"There is not often a chance for competition, as an Administrative Assistant; however, our office does a fundraising challenge every Thanksgiving that involves raising sponsors for an office-wide 5K race. Every year, we donate 100% of the funds to sponsoring two families for their Christmas needs. It gets competitive, and all for a great reason!"

Answer example

"In my current role, we have four department managers. We are always in a friendly competition to see who can save the most money on hours per quarter, follow procedures the closest, and have an accident free month. It's fun, but we also take these KPI's seriously at the same time."

Answer example

"Our company introduced a 'friendly' competition between two agency locations. It turned into a fierce contest to see who could increase their productivity, decrease errors, and maintain our high-quality standards while earning the highest amount of positive client reviews. Our team worked tirelessly and harder than usual. We won, and all received a new iPad. The whole event was a lot of fun."

Answer example

"In retail, Christmas time can be the most competitive. Numbers are high, and everyone is trying to outdo last years' performance while also earning the most commission. This season is often the time when managers introduce an incentive program to make us hustle even further. Also, there were rumors of a promotion in the coming months, which, coupled with the sales incentive, really made me and another employee want to prove ourselves worthy of both prizes. We made a handshake deal that we'd play nice, but at the end of the day, each of us still wanted to win."

Answer example

"The most competitive I've ever been in a work environment was when I was up for promotion against another sales executive in another region. The leadership, brilliantly or otherwise, let us know that we were both the contenders and essentially pitted us against one another. I hunkered down and worked extra long hours and got my team on board to create and execute a plan to surpass our quota. It worked, and earned the promotion! I knew I could hold my head high about how I behaved during the competition."

Answer example

"Teaching environments are rarely competitive; however, I am internally competitive when it comes to helping a student to improve their performance. I like to set goals for my struggling students and coach them in a way that speaks to their internal competitive streak."

Software Developer
Answer example

"I can give several examples of Insertion Sorts, but I think to give you a better explanation, it would make more sense to list in detail the characteristics of an Insertion Sort. Let's start with the first one. 1. There are two types.........Selection Sort and Bubble Sort algorithms. 2. They are efficient for smaller data sets, but very inefficient for larger data lists. 3. The stable sorting technique does not change the relative order of elements which are equal. 4. It doesn't take up much space. Unlike bubble sort, an insertion sort also requires additional memory space. 5. An Insertion Sort is adaptive, which means it reduces the total number of steps required for a partially sorted array to provide input."

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: 01/22/2020

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about the most competitive work situation you have experienced. How did you handle it, and what was the result?
The most competitive work situation I faced was being a, server, making sure every customer was happy.
My supervisor threatened to give me tough questions for an exams by telling me he knew I will fail and he ended up doing it but I kept it cool and when I failed I promised my manager I will practice more and do much better in the second one. I was giving a second chance.
Supervising 125 employees. Scheduling and hiring the right supervisors. The result was no accidents and good customer service.
The most competitive work was in sales, there emplyees are all the time in competition because the sales give us the motivation to work, the results are the most important. Competitors also gives us difficulties, so practice, hard work, perseverance and persistence are the ace up the sleeve. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost.
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