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Competency Interview
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25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated May 4th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    

Question 1 of 25

What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?

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1.

What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?

The interviewer would like to know more about the types of decisions you are accustomed to making in the workplace. The way you answer this question will give them a good idea of your level of experience, seniority, and ability to handle the decision-making requirements in this possible position.

If the job you are interviewing for requires you to be decisive and quick on your feet, you will need to be able to provide examples of how you have done these things in the past. If you worked in tech support, you faced with problems that you needed to find solutions for regularly. If you worked as a sales rep, you might have required knowing how to negotiate and make decisions on prices and benefits you can give your customers.

You may have faced decisions that became so routine you didn't think twice! Refer to these decisions and be sure to highlight how they have prepared you for a role like this one.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my previous position I was quite often required to make decisions on staff scheduling as well as hiring and terminating. I feel that role prepared me quite well for a position like this one. I have well-honed decision-making skills and my intuition, when it comes to hiring, has been elevated."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"In my previous role, as an executive assistant, I routinely made decisions on vendors, locations, caterers, and airlines. I thoroughly enjoy making those types of decisions as I am decisive and a great researcher."

2.

Do you have confidence in your communication skills? What is your communication style?

Strong communication makes all the difference when it comes to workplace success. Never underestimate the importance of being able to express yourself adequately. Efficiently communicating through body language, and written or oral communication can make a huge difference in the relationships with your coworkers, your boss, and your clients!

Assure the interviewer that you are confident in your communication abilities. You can refer to any communications course or workshop that you have taken. Or, you can discuss a time when a manager told you that you had excellent communication skills! Reaffirm your answer by describing your communication style in a few words.

Some great options are:

- Professional
- Diplomatic
- Respectful
- Attentive
- Logical
- Energetic
- Objective
- Sincere
- Adaptable
- Mature
- Tactful
- Personable
- Perceptive
- Sophisticated
- Consistent
- Conscientious
- Ethical
- Trustworthy

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have always been a strong communicator; however, after I took a weekend long communications workshop last year, I can confidently say that my communication skills are above average. I would describe my communication style as respectful, energetic, and sincere."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"As an administrative assistant, if I am not effectively communicating, a lot can go wrong. I like to address complicated topics by breaking them down into simple to understand terms and turning large roadblocks into smaller goals to prevent anyone in the office from feeling overwhelmed."

Anonymous Answer

"Yes, I am confident in my communication skills. Partly I feel this way because, through my career, I have received a lot of positive feedback that reinforced my attitude. In particular, here in my organization, I had the opportunity to gain some training in active listening and communication strategies for a harmonious workplace. Moreover, I am personable by nature and very attentive."

Rachelle's Answer

It's very smart to mention the training that you have received on these topics. Great answer!

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Anonymous Answer

"Yes, I am confident in my communication skills, and I always aim to enhance my speaking and writing skills. Communication skills are important to deliver my internal audit results and are a key part of my day-to-day responsibilities. I attended several communicating with confidence sessions, and I started applying what I learned, such as body language, the right tone, adjusting the communication method dependent on the audience. My communication style is sincere, adaptable, and attentive."

Rachelle's Answer

This is a very thorough answer - you do a wonderful job expressing your communication skills and the depth of work you have put into improving them. Nicely done.

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3.

Tell me the ways in which you brought value to your most recent position.

This question offers another way for the interviewer to ask about your recent successes and bragging points. The interviewer wants to know which top skills you will highlight if you had to narrow down where you brought the most value.

Perhaps you influenced changes that saved the company money. Maybe you were the top grossing sales person on the floor. Think of your strengths in action! If you are reliable, talk about how consistent your work has been and how you are in constant support of your coworkers. If you have a strong work ethic, share how you accomplished a project in the midst of harsh obstacles.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"There were several ways I was able to bring value to my most recent company. First, I successfully surpassed each sales goal in my department. Second, I was able to motivate other members of my team and share my sales techniques with them. Third, I introduced two new procedures to the sales manager that helped us eliminate employee idleness between sales calls."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My organizational skills made an incredible impact on my current company. Upon my arrival, I quickly implemented new filing systems for both physical and digital files. I also introduced the use of Trello, a project management app that we use office-wide."

Anonymous Answer

"I think I have found a really good balance within my team, and this allows me to be a solid and reliable piece of my team. Considering how challenging is the organization of a conference and how good teamwork is essential for its smooth proceeding, I think this is a great value. Moreover, I am very proud of my section, and I work for anybody our organization knows how our section works and trust that we are there to help. Right yesterday, I went to the cafeteria for a quick coffee with my colleague, and a person for another team spotted me and said: "Hello, are you the conference girl? I am organizing something, and I would really need your advice...."

Rachelle's Answer

It's nice to be recognized for your work, isn't it! Try organizing your answer a bit more, to help with clarity. I have offered an example, below.

"I have found a good balance with my team, allowing me to be a solid and reliable addition. The conference organization industry is challenging, and good teamwork is essential for smooth execution. I am very proud of my work and that I am trusted when people need help. Yesterday, at the work cafeteria, someone from another team spotted me and said, 'Hello, are you the conference girl? I am organizing something and need your advice.' These are some of the big and small ways that I bring value to my company."

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Anonymous Answer

"I used to take on responsibility voluntary, and later I was being offered a position of the lead technician and which inspires other co-workers to take a responsibly optional."

Rachelle's Answer

Influencing others is a great way to bring value to your role. Great example!

"I brought value to my position by inspiring my coworkers to take responsibility and volunteer their time. By doing so myself, I earned a promotion to lead technician, which is a good example to others."

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4.

Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?

The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers, so it is essential that you can showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in workplace situations.

Patience is indeed a virtue but can be challenging to maintain when it seems that situations continue to push your buttons. Show the interviewer that you possess the ability to keep your cool in challenging conditions.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I do consider myself a patient person. I would rate myself an 8/10 for patience because I certainly have room to grow, but I do have a very long fuse. If I need a boost of patience in a challenging situation, I will take a step away, count to 10 and then return to the situation. I recently read a book, 'The Power of Patience' by M.J. Ryan which also gave me some excellent new methods for coping with stress."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am fairly patient, with other people. I tend to be impatient with myself if I am not finishing a project as fast as I think I should be. But, I am learning to be patient with myself as well. I find that breathing exercises, and closing my eyes for a few seconds can help me regroup."

Anonymous Answer

"I am a very patient, very emotionally disciplined person. When a situation is challenging, I take a break from it by removing myself mentally and changing my thoughts to something else. If possible, I'll go for a walk or listen to music. The important thing for me is to disengage until I've had time to decompress."

Rachelle's Answer

Highlighting the fact that you are emotionally disciplined will go a very long way with the interviewer. Well done!

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Anonymous Answer

"I can't say, but I have received this feedback often from colleagues, who consider me really patient. I would rate myself a seven or an 8 out of 10 because I know that there is always room for improvement. In general, I must stay professional and provide the best service possible to my colleagues, and this helps me to stay focus on the task at hand. In the end, the satisfaction to see your customer happy is worth being patient, at least for me."

Rachelle's Answer

It's great that you left room for improvement, but be sure not to undercut yourself. For instance, if you give yourself a 7 out of 10, does that mean you act impatiently 30% of the time? I like that you mention staying patient makes your customers happy. This shows where your values are, which is great.

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5.

Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to solving a problem.

The interviewer wants to see that you are capable of creative solutions to everyday problems. Think of a time when you had a fantastic suggestion in the workplace. Employers love to hire candidates who are innovative, and able to implement their ideas. Focus more on your creative approach, rather than the problem itself.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Our company canceled this year's annual holiday party due to budget cuts. Everyone was disappointed because it's a fun way to get to know your teammates on a different level. I decided to take my team out, on my dime, because it is a significant way to build engagement and excitement. They appreciated the gesture, and I was happy with how well they performed in the weeks to come."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Last week we were all systems down. A complete technical crash! In our office, we have all glass walls, so I made the recommendation that using dry erase markers, we turn our walls into a giant project management board. It worked well, and we ended up keeping the notes on the walls for an extra few days."

Anonymous Answer

"The management team implemented strict monitoring of our job assignments against the actual chargeable hours. There were times where I found it challenging to align my actual charges to my job assignments due to the changing schedules of my audit clients. Downtimes meant no chargeable hours, and that affects team profitability. When we had our last team meeting, I suggested keeping a list of people who updates the time charges accurately and every month end to give away prizes to those who stick with mid-Friday completion of timesheets. It resulted in almost 100% completion of timesheets since then."

Rachelle's Answer

What an excellent example of creative problem-solving. Very well done and a great outcome.

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6.

How do you deal with stressful situations in the workplace?

Ah, the challenge of stress management! Your ability to manage stress will directly influence your ability to do your job successfully. Before answering this question, think of some ways you have learned to deal with stress at work. You can't always take a break when you need it, so what will you do?

Some workplace stress management strategies are:

- Track your primary stress factors and make a plan for overcoming those
- Establish boundaries with distracting coworkers
- Breathing exercises, or meditation
- Be sure to recharge your emotional batteries throughout the day
- Express your stress to your manager/supervisor
- Ask for help

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I've learned some helpful breathing techniques that I can do while I'm at work. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a situation, I can slow down my breathing and remain calm. Once I understood that it was okay for me to take a minute for myself, I learned to handle workplace stressors in a whole new way."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I tend to work best under stressful situations. For example, the pressure of deadlines from my boss often drive me to work faster and better. I am resistant to stress and able to focus on the work that needs to get accomplished."

Anonymous Answer

"I confront the issue head-on. I remain calm, prioritize my time, and focus on what needs to get done."

Rachelle's Answer

Excellent! You show a great deal of determination in this response.

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7.

Name a few things you were asked to do in your most recent position that you weren't necessarily trained to do. How did you cope?

The interviewer wants to know how you approach a situation when you do not necessarily possess the knowledge to complete a task. Most of us ask others for help, or conduct research to find the answer. Highlight to the interviewer that you are competent when it comes to leading yourself to the right answer. Show that you do not get frustrated; rather, you take it as an opportunity to grow.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"When I first started my current role, I was asked to present to my team about an idea I wanted to implement that would save the company money and time. I had never done this before and the idea of presenting made me a bit nervous. I spent a good deal of time researching viable business solutions. I played around with PowerPoint and watched some YouTube videos on how to put together an engaging slide show. It turned out great and I learned a lot from the experience."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I worked for a lean organization that had a lot of crossover between HR, Marketing and IT. Often, I would be asked to perform the functions of a department for which I did not work. We are all on the same team so I would figure out what to do and get it done, then later recommend a process to better handle the type of situation in the future."

Anonymous Answer

"I was not trained to do most tasks in my current position. However, I'm resourceful and a self-starter. For example, I was asked to step in as an Accountant I Specialist because we were short-staffed. I enlisted the help of co-workers by asking questions. Asking questions helped me learn, and I was able to finish the tasks."

Rachelle's Answer

Your answer is excellent! You show the ability to learn new tasks and a willingness to jump in, even when it may be uncomfortable for you.

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Anonymous Answer

"I started to work in this organization literally a week before their huge annual meeting took place. Most of the colleagues had been already transferred to the venue of the conference (which is one of the most famous conferences in the world), and there wasn't anybody around to onboard me or to give me training, so I had to function, and be as helpful as possible, with the little advice received by the IT technician who set up my computer, and a few written guides provided to me by the HR staff). I used all my patience to figure out the internal tools, and I tried to research what I didn't know and leverage my network of people I knew that were already working in the organization to ask for direction and best practices. I honestly do not think that I was already at 100% during the first week, but what's matters are that I was helpful to my supervisor (who was at the conference and able to deliver what was needed)."

Rachelle's Answer

Wow, this sounds like a massive challenge and a lot of potentially uncomfortable situations for you. BUT, you powered through and delivered what you needed to do. Fantastic example!

"I started to work for Company ABC one week before their huge annual meeting took place. Most of my new colleagues were already at the conference venue, which is one of the most prestigious conferences in the world. Nobody was around to onboard me or to give me training, so I had to function and be as helpful as possible, with the little advice received by the IT technician who set up my computer, and a few written guides provided to me by the HR staff. I used all my patience to figure out the internal tools, and I tried to research what I didn't know. I leveraged my network of people I knew that were already working in the organization to ask for direction and best practices. I honestly do not think that I was at 100% function during the first week, but what mattered was that I was helpful to my supervisor, and delivered they needed at the conference."

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8.

How do you deal with conflict on your team?

The interviewer is looking to hear about your ability to communicate with your team and professionally handle issues when they arise.

Think of an example where you worked closely with your team to resolve a conflict. You could also offer a scenario where you mediated an issue between two coworkers. Show that you can keep your head on your shoulders when dealing with conflict.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have strong conflict management skills and in my current position, have had to exercise those skills from time to time. We are in a high-stress, highly commissioned work environment which can cause a lot of unnecessary conflict among the team. When a conflict arises, I like to deal with it swiftly, openly, and with poise. Transparency and openness are how I lead my team, so I will call a group meeting where we express concerns and get it all out on the table."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When there is conflict, I will address the issue head-on, with expediency, and open communication. Hearing the problem before deciding on a solution, and perhaps most importantly, hearing the parties out is most important. I believe in allowing the stakeholders have a say in what they think will work best for them, and then work together to create a solution that will work best for everyone."

Anonymous Answer

"I deal with conflict diplomatically. I believe in resolving conflict through open communication and understanding the other side's point of view because I might not know the full story of why the person is acting negatively towards me. It could be that the person is undergoing something personal. Through communication, I could show empathy and positively resolve our misunderstanding."

Rachelle's Answer

Showing empathy and a full understanding of the situation is a strong approach to ensuring any conflict is kept to a minimum. You sound like a very clear and conscientious communicator.

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9.

Give an example of when you used your listening skills to complete a task properly, or solve a problem.

The interviewer wants to see that you have strong listening skills. They want to know that you aren't the type to interrupt before hearing your co-workers out. You know that asking for clarification can save you a lot of grief down the road! Show that you are one to check for full understanding when you are navigating new territory. Highlight to the interviewer that you are the type to listen and troubleshoot problems in a collaborative style attentively.

Someone with excellent listening skills will:

- Give the speaker their full attention
- Maintain proper eye contact
- Show invested interest by nodding or agreeing
- Avoid interrupting
- Ask for clarification if needed
- Make statements such as "If I understand you correctly..." or "Do you mean that you want..."

Give an example that demonstrates how you avoided miscommunication by using your stellar listening skills!

Rachelle's Answer #1

"If I understand you correctly..."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I often use very sharp listening skills when the executive needs something. She rattles off her needs so fast that I can barely keep up sometimes! I have now taken to recording our conversations on my iPhone so that I can revert to her needs, ensuring I don't skip a beat. Her previous assistant did not do this, and she appreciates my ingenuity and willingness to implement new methods of working."

Anonymous Answer

"I think listening skills are very important when working with representatives of Member States coming from all over the world. There can be language issues, accent differences. The strategies that I use in these cases is to adopt a positive body language; e.g., smile to welcome them, keep eye contact, focus on the person, and not on the computer. I also sum up what has been asked to make sure that I understood correctly. This facilitates things a great deal for delegates who feel like they can come to the counter for any issues they might have during the week."

Rachelle's Answer

Fantastic! You show a great deal of self-awareness (body language) while displaying that you care about clarity in communication.

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10.

Are you capable of handling disputes in a professional manner? How do you respond to customer complaints?

If you are interviewing for a customer or client facing role, you must show off your conflict management abilities. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling uncomfortable situations while nurturing valued client relationships and still keeping the company's best interests in mind. Give an example of a time you successfully resolved a customer-related issue.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Last week, a customer called me very angry regarding a glitch in one of our software products. I listened and told them I would be happy to help. I asked more questions to understand the problem and then suggested once I had a better idea of what might solve it. The customer was very relieved and grateful that I took the time to listen and make sense of the issue. I was able to de-escalate the issue very quickly. I believe that most customer complaints come to a resolution through a gentle and collaborative approach."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I can always handle disputes professionally. In a call center, you have to learn to put yourself in the customer's shoes and recognize that you are not personally responsible for the problem. Once I separate emotions from the situation, I can speak calmly and clearly over the phone."

Anonymous Answer

"When a customer is complaining, I first listen to them carefully, actively, trying to understand what went wrong and what caused his/her discomfort, and then I apologize for the shortcoming- if there was one. I take immediate action to fix the problem. If the issue is sorted, and the customer is happy, that's great. However, i still make sure to discuss the matter with my colleagues and supervisor and generally take note of what happened, so we can prevent the same situation from happening again."

Rachelle's Answer

This answer is all-encompassing, and the interviewer should be happy to hear that you know how to handle the situation while also taking the opportunity to learn from the situation.

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Anonymous Answer

"Yes, I can handle it professionally, I explain both parties to focus on the task, not the particular problem, we come here for work, not any disputes. Customers are a most valuable person, so first I try to understand what they want, is it solvable promptly and if the answer is yes try to, I will try to find him the solution."

Rachelle's Answer

It sounds like you are very level headed in the workplace. I have reworded slightly for flow, focusing more on the customer aspect.

"The customer is the most valuable party so I will always try to understand the core of what they want. I ask myself, 'Is this problem I can quickly solve?' If the answer is yes, I will find a solution. If I cannot quickly find a solution, I will escalate the issue to my supervisor."

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11.

With the ongoing changes in this industry, how do you keep your knowledge current?

Employers expect employees to stay up-to-date on their respective field, and today's technology makes this reasonably easy! List several ways that you receive your industry knowledge and stay on top of trends. Tell the interviewer about those daily update emails you receive from professional organizations, conferences you attend, seminars you have taken, and professional organizations you of which you are involved.

Lastly, it's a great idea to ask the interviewer what resources they refer to for industry trends. That question can start up a great conversation, and you may learn a thing or two as well.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Every morning I listen to the podcast Rise & Grind because I find the information to be fresh, and valuable. In addition to this podcast, I also subscribe to a couple of industry blogs. One is ABC, and the other is XYZ. I greatly value the information shared among fellow professionals. What resources do you prefer to stay on top of industry trends and changes?"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am an avid reader. I read about the industry news through various resources online. I am a member of many key associations that allow me the opportunity to attend industry conferences, receive newsletters and network with top professionals in my field."

Anonymous Answer

"There are a number of conferences and lunchtime learning and other learning opportunities via various channels at the U.N., and I make sure to attend all training classes I am interested in."

Rachelle's Answer

Perfect! Taking advantage of learning opportunities that your employer presents you is a wonderful way to keep your knowledge current.

"I make sure to attend all the relevant training classes available to me. My employer offers conferences and lunchtime learning, offering opportunities to gain knowledge in a variety of topics."

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Anonymous Answer

"It is important for internal auditors to maintain a current understanding of the latest global developments, regulatory and legal requirements, and assesses the relevance to the audit engagements and to the industry where the audit clients operate. To keep myself updated, I signed up for IIA publications for the internal auditing trends, and I leveraged the use of LinkedIn for any trending news about the industry and the company, I signed up for regulatory reports and emerging regulatory risks. I attended courses which are relevant to the upcoming regulatory and accounting changes such as IFRS 7."

Rachelle's Answer

You lean on a variety of reputable resources which the interviewer should be happy to see. Good answer!

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12.

How do you handle a larger than average workload?

The interviewer wants to know that you can handle the workload required of you in this position and that you will not become overwhelmed if/when workloads unexpectedly increase. When workloads increase, stress levels do too. How do you react?

Here are some suggestions on how to handle a large workload:

- List your tasks and prioritize them
- Think of which jobs add to the company's bottom line, and start there (Closest to the money!)
- Exhale. Relax for a minute and collect yourself
- Organize your tasks by which ones you can complete independently and which ones you need help with
- Take sufficient breaks, so you do not exhaust yourself
- Communicate your struggles with your leadership or team

Rachelle's Answer #1

"When I have a large workload on my plate, I do not stress over the tasks that are in front of me. Rather, I make a simple plan of which tasks are a high priority and which tasks are a lower priority. The higher priority tasks, I complete first. Through this system, I can focus on my tasks individually, rather than stress out by the multitude of tasks ahead of me."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When I have a large workload on my plate, I do not stress over the tasks that are in front of me. Rather, I make a simple plan of which tasks are a high priority and which tasks are a low priority. The higher priority tasks, I complete first. Through this system, I can focus on my tasks individually, rather than stress out by the multitude of tasks ahead of me."

Anonymous Answer

"I’ve always worked well under pressure. I remain calm. I make a to-do list of everything that needs to be done. I prioritize assignments. I manage my time well. I keep track of each project independently so I can see the progress."

Rachelle's Answer

These are all excellent ways to manage a heavy work load. Good answer!

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Anonymous Answer

"By staying focused. Before diving into work, I come up with a strategy. I divide the work, assess the workload for each piece, and establish a list of priorities. If I realize that there are any of the items on the list which would be challenging to achieve within the deadline, I might speak with my supervisor and ask for extra help."

Rachelle's Answer

Great response! It sounds as though you are very organized, and take the time to think about your approach before jumping in.

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13.

In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?

This answer may seem obvious to you because enjoying your time with coworkers is sometimes the best part of the job! If you aren't a naturally social person, this question may seem more challenging to answer.

Talk to the interviewer about how you develop relationships with coworkers when you start a new job. Think about what is important to you about these relationships. Do your co-workers motivate you when you feel overworked? Do your coworkers give you a reason to show up to work when your boss has been giving you a hard time?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I value my relationships with my coworkers because we support each other and make each other laugh when the work environment becomes intense. I have a coworker that I eat lunch with every day. We've helped each other out by simply listening to what's going on in each other's lives. It's nice to have colleagues who understand you on a personal level."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"People are the bread and butter of any organization. Our ability to work well together determines our success. Therefore, it is critical to create great working relationships."

Anonymous Answer

"I believe that develop a healthy and positive relationship is key, in particular in a role like this one. My colleagues know me for my reliability, and, with time, I have shown them that I am a team player, and they can trust me. This makes the daily flow of activities much smoother and, sincerely, the opportunity of working in a good environment, with a little laugher ( in particular when a committee has long hours of informal consultations or night sessions), it's a great added value."

Rachelle's Answer

These are all excellent reasons to maintain great working relationships. Your answer shows clear insight. Great work!

"I believe that to develop healthy and positive relationships is key, in particular for a role like this one. My colleagues know me for my reliability as I have shown them that I am a team player, and they can trust me. This trust makes the daily flow of activities much smoother. To work in a good environment, with a little laughter, is a great added value."

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Anonymous Answer

"Practically because, out of 24 hours a day, I spent 8 hours on sleep, 16 hours awake and out that 8 hours I spend at work, ad rest 8 hours doing other necessary tasks. So working hours, I spend almost 50 % of my awakening time. So, it is essential to develop a good relationship with a co-worker because he or she can be a real help when sometime you need a find a solution or need a second set of eye."

Rachelle's Answer

I see what you are going for here, and it's a great point! I have reworded slightly to help with flow and avoid repetition.

"I spend nearly 50% of my time awake at work so, practically speaking, it's important to enjoy who I am around. I also like to develop good co-working relationships so that we can rely on each other for solutions and feedback."

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14.

Give me an example of a challenge you overcame in your last position.

Demonstrate your positive approach to problem-solving. Show that you are proactive and competent when it comes to challenging workplace situations. Perhaps you went over and above to meet a tight deadline while taking over the responsibilities of a co-worker who was out sick. Another example could be that you trained yourself on a new software that was difficult to understand.

In your answer, focus on the steps you took to overcome the challenge, rather than the challenge itself. The interviewer wants to hear that you are determined and able to problem solve.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The biggest challenge that I overcame in my last position was that I was brand new to the industry. I had sales experience; however, I knew very little about the oil and energy industry. I took my evenings and weekends to study hard on industry background, and trends. It didn't take me long to feel comfortable and confident when speaking with potential clients. All it took was some time and dedication!"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When starting my last role, there were 35 critical leadership openings in the business. It was causing a huge challenge for the businesses to function and meet their key initiatives. I worked closely partnering with talent acquisition to accomplish the successful hiring and training of all roles."

Anonymous Answer

"In the international organization I was working in at that time (before my current job), I started as a team coordinator. All of a sudden, a task force was created within the team in order to better coordinate and supervise the massive project the team was working on at the time, and I was invited to join the task force, with an almost immediate start, as the project was running behind. At the very beginning, I read the job description and felt like I was matching it only for 60% of the requirements. Nonetheless, I felt grateful and empowered by the fact that my director believed in me so much to offer me the position, and I was sincerely excited about such a learning experience, so I accepted. I admit, there were a few tough weeks, when I had to hit the ground running, learn a few new software and get used with a new style of work, but, all my hard work paid off, my contract was extended, and I was offered to remain in the organization until the end of the project."

Rachelle's Answer

This sounds like a challenge, indeed! It's great that you stepped up despite any hesitation or fears. Nice answer!

"At Company ABC, I started as a team coordinator. Suddenly, a task force was created within the team to better coordinate and supervise the massive project at hand. I was invited to join the task force, with an almost immediate start, as the project was running behind. At the very beginning, I read the job description and felt like I was only a 60% match for the requirements. Nonetheless, I felt grateful and empowered by the fact that my director believed in me so much to offer me the position. I was sincerely excited about such a learning experience, so I accepted it. I admit, there were a few tough weeks when I had to hit the ground running, learn new software, and get used to a unique style of work, but all my hard work paid off. My contract was extended until the end of the project."

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Anonymous Answer

"It was the first week of my current job; I was working on the system test, getting trained for the test. One day the guy who was teaching me was sick, and he calls off. On the same day, Engineers have done some change in the configuration file of the testing SW, so we have to follow his procedures, his steps he writes it down in his language which was difficult for me to decode. But I try to make sense on his code with a google search and try to find meaning in his speech, and I asked for help and made sure that what I understand and what you mean is the same. Then I have done testing, and it works."

Rachelle's Answer

This is a good example; however, it's difficult to follow. I recommend organizing your thoughts and sticking with the facts. Please see below.

"The first week of my current job, the person training me called in sick one day. The same day our engineers changed some configuration files that impacted our testing. The colleague training me wrote down the steps for me to follow, but it was in his language which was difficult for me to translate. I utilized Google to translate and asked others for help. In the end, I performed the testing, and it worked out well."

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15.

How do you deal in uncomfortable situations?

Often, our work environment holds the possibility for awkward or tense situations. It can be challenging to know how to respond when you have a coworker who is moody, or when your coworker lacks social skills and continuously asks inappropriate questions. The interviewer wants to know that you can keep your cool in situations like these.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have had my share of awkward situations and having raised two kids, I am no stranger to them! In the workplace, if an uncomfortable situation arises I tend to face the issue head-on, but tactfully. Sweeping things under the rug rarely helps. I have no problem being open with my team or colleagues if I am not feeling comfortable in a particular situation."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have learned over the years that if something makes me uncomfortable, I better dive right into it. Change and growth happen outside of your comfort zone. I embrace this!"

Anonymous Answer

"I take a deep breath, tell my self don't panic and try to understand a person's perspective, and if necessary, I clarify the situations."

Rachelle's Answer

These are great steps to dealing with uncomfortable or challenging situations. Good answer!

"When faced with an uncomfortable situation, I take a deep breath and tell myself to remain calm. If the situation involves someone else, I will take a moment to understand that person's perspective and ask for clarification if necessary."

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Interview Questions

  1. What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?
  2. Do you have confidence in your communication skills? What is your communication style?
  3. Tell me the ways in which you brought value to your most recent position.
  4. Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?
  5. Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to solving a problem.
  6. How do you deal with stressful situations in the workplace?
  7. Name a few things you were asked to do in your most recent position that you weren't necessarily trained to do. How did you cope?
  8. How do you deal with conflict on your team?
  9. Give an example of when you used your listening skills to complete a task properly, or solve a problem.
  10. Are you capable of handling disputes in a professional manner? How do you respond to customer complaints?
  11. With the ongoing changes in this industry, how do you keep your knowledge current?
  12. How do you handle a larger than average workload?
  13. In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?
  14. Give me an example of a challenge you overcame in your last position.
  15. How do you deal in uncomfortable situations?
  16. Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What skills did you use to achieve this goal?
  17. How has your current job changed over the years?
  18. Have you requested extra responsibilities in any of your previous roles?
  19. When have you taken an unusual risk in the workplace? What was the outcome?
  20. How did you maintain a good relationship with your most recent boss?
  21. How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?
  22. How did you go about suggesting changes in your most recent company?
  23. What feedback did you receive from your most recent manager?
  24. What skills did you learn in your most recent position that will help you in this new role?
  25. Why are you the best candidate for this position?
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