Tell me about the most competitive work situation you have experienced. How did you handle it, and what was the result?
This question has been answered 7 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.
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.
Admin 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!"
Basic 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."
Manager 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."
Marketing 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."
Retail 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."
Sales 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."
Teacher 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."