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.
"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."
"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!"
"Uncomfortable situations do not weigh on me. I have learned how to face my problems and persevere, and I never take my feelings home with me. I encourage this mentality with my team as well."
"I try to avoid conflict, but I have a high tolerance for discomfort. I've learned to try to let the people in question sort it out, but have no problem rolling up my sleeves and diving in to help mediate the problem."
"When working with the public so much, awkward situations are going to arise. I have had my fair share and knew enough to either walk away or fake it till I made it! A smile and nod can do wonders!"
"As ridiculous as this sounds, I am comfortable in awkward situations because I've had decades of awkward family dinner parties when one side didn't get along well with the other! I've learned to be the go-between who smoothes things out while finding common ground where all parties can agree. While the foundations are odd, this has proven a beneficial skill in the workplace."
"Uncomfortable situations don't phase me. It takes a lot to make me uncomfortable, and I just roll with whatever awkward thing is happening and try to either make it normalized, especially in the case of a student, change the conversation, or address the root of the awkwardness. It's all part of the gig."
The interviewer would like to know that you are capable of setting goals and reaching them. The person who aims to achieve more and more every day is the exact person that every manager wants to hire! Discuss an example of when you overcame obstacles to reach a career related goal that seemed impossible. Or, share a time when you received an award, and talk about the most challenging parts of achieving that award. Highlight your determination and focus.
"My company has a President's Club for all top sales reps. When you reach PC level, you earn a trip to Mexico! Last year I told myself that I was going to reach the President's Club level, no matter what it took. I worked an average of 50 hours per week, I doubled my cold calling numbers, and utilized areas of our Salesforce program that most people in our company don't even know. Mixing my strong determination with sound technical skills, and willingness to push through, I made it! I was proud of this achievement."
"I recently earned my Degree in Business Administration while working full time. This goal I set for myself so that I could readily earn an Executive Assistant position like this one."
"After recently hiring an entirely new team of people to roll out a critical project, I realized they needed to learn to work together. I created a leadership training program and cross-functional work group sessions to bring this team closer at an accelerated pace. It was a challenge to schedule and break the ice early, but we did it well."
"I am proud of the fact that I started this marketing career from scratch. My background is in service and sales, but I knew I needed something different and wanted to utilize my creative mind, so I leaped out on my own. The last two positions I landed because of creativity, perseverance, and hard work, which is the best way to get anything in life."
"I am proud to have won an award for highest sales in my district. My ability to analyze market trends and engage customers are the two skills I attribute this honor to the most."
"I'm proud of the fact that I was promoted the fastest in the organization's 5-year history, and followed that up by setting another record in fastest promotion to deal closed. When I took this position, I set the goal for promotion within twelve months. I was able to achieve that within six months. As you can see, I set lofty goals for myself and am sure to create milestones and check-ins with managers to ensure I'm hitting the targets along the way to achieve those goals."
"I am proud of having been chosen to be a mentor to new hires in the department. I think I've informally mentored and exhibited leadership since day one, and to be recognized for being a great teacher and being able to train and shape the new additions to the department is an awesome pat on the back."
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
"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."
"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."
"When stressed, I try to take a break, re-focus, and then get back to work. I also like listening to music in my office when it's appropriate. Not all businesses are OK with that, and I understand."
"Stressful situations are bound to happen, and I typically take them as they come and they don't ruffle me too much. I know it's part of the creative process and it's going to pass soon enough."
"Retail can be very stressful, especially during the holiday season, Black Friday, and other major sales. I resist the stress by being prepared, taking one task at a time, and encouraging teamwork."
"I do well under pressure or stress, within reason. I obviously need to balance myself and my workload out, as much as possible, or it can become an overwhelming workplace vibe. I know myself and my triggers pretty well, so when I feel like there's too much on my plate, I know how to center myself and just dig in and get through it, knowing I'll come out better on the other side."
"I take stressful situations in stride, as much as possible. I'm a mom, a teacher... not a whole lot can phase me at this point, honestly."
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 questions 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 on a regular basis. 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 types of decisions and be sure to highlight how these types of decisions have prepared you for a role like this one.
"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."
"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."
"I routinely make decisions around hiring, career advancement, associate development and talent management. I am very comfortable in these areas."
"I was responsible for planning the content calendar which included emails, blog post topics, and timing, social media posts, in addition to actually executing the plans. That means everything from creating a copy, to choosing images, and the like. Also, I collaborated with management to decide what promotions and sales we will be running and when."
"I regularly made decisions regarding pricing and discounts for customers. I had a standard set of criteria that I created, and I tried to let that guide me for consistency."
"On a day-to-day level, I chose the city of focus, prioritization of prospects, and delegation of tasks. The higher-level decisions I made were regarding hiring and assignment of new hires. I also had a large influence on the employee terminations. I feel that these two sets of responsibilities have positioned me well for this role and I look forward to continuing to leveraging my experience while learning from the more seasoned members of the staff."
"I write my lesson plans, execute them, and tweak them as I go through the day from class to class. Classroom management is obviously a big part of my job. Since I like to have fun with my students' learning methods, it's especially important to make sure that we're being energetic but staying on task and learning."
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?
"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."
"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."
"As a manager who runs a team of 15 people, I fully understand that coworkers can make or break you if you have to depend on their work to do yours. It is always best to have friendly working relationships with them."
"To accomplish anything in a job, you need your team members. They are who you rely on to get a project done, to call in when you need advice, and to help pick up the slack when you're in a pinch. If you don't have a good rapport with your co-workers, you won't be able to do any of those things, and therefore, you cannot be as effective at your job."
"You spend more times with your coworkers than anyone else! If you don't get along, you are in for a very long week. I get along with my coworkers by being courteous, helpful, and respectful of their time. I show up to my shift when expected, bring them coffee after my lunch break, or assist with product questions when they come up."
"Culture is an important aspect of any organization. I've had toxic workplace cultures where it feels like high school, and I've had pleasant collaborative ones also. It's essential to me to like at least some of the people I work with, so I make a point to grab a coffee, lunch, or a drink with the ones who seem like-minded."
"To get anything done, you need to have a good relationship with your teammates. For me in particular, I know that I have to have a strong relationship as much as possible with the classroom teachers since I conduct my lessons in their classrooms. I need to make sure that we have a mutually respectful relationship."
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.
"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."
"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."
"Conflict is a normal part of running a business. It can help to offer clear, open, and honest communication among team members. To prevent conflict, as much as possible, I manage my team with those particular values."
"I think a bit of conflict is good for a team: we all have a right to voice our opinions and know it's okay to disagree. As we disagree, we find new spaces for growth and new directions to take because of those uncomfortable conversations. As long as it remains in check and everyone behaves as adults and treats one another and our differing opinions with respect, conflict can be very beneficial."
"Conflict in teams is inevitable, especially when you work long hours or are in danger of hitting specific sales targets. I handle conflict with respect, and the intent to understand the other person by listening."
"In a sales environment, competition is necessary and its integral to the fiber of the organization. However, it can prove problematic, especially among those on the same team who are supposed to work collaboratively, but ultimately are competing. On one occasion, the two buyers who reported to me got into a verbal argument. I calmly pulled them both off the floor to a private room. We were able to get to the heart of the issue. It boiled down to one feeling the other was trying to be his manager when he had no authority over him. By communicating job tasks and making a clear division of power, we solved the issue."
"We often have philosophical differences in how we approach teaching, so these typically came to a head during curriculum writing. When we disagree, I try to take a leadership role and mediate the disagreement. Let everyone; myself included, have their few minutes to speak on the issue and then see where we can find common ground. Usually, there's at least a sliver of commonality, and we can all get through the disagreement."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I like thinking outside the box. I was once tasked with better tracking our inventory to make sure small parts, like nuts and bolts, were ordered on time and not too early causing a surplus. I spent time counting how many screws were in a full bin vs. avg how many we used per day. I then took a piece of red electrical tape and made a line on the bin that would give us a rough estimate of a week's worth of screws left, enough time to order and receive some more. A simple and free solution."
"Black Friday, two years ago, my company at the time launched its new website. I noticed it was going rather haywire when people were trying to place orders, so rather than basking in the glory of a turkey leftover breakfast, I was on the phone with our backup provider in India getting the ordering issues sorted out. Since our website builder is in the US, they were off that day, but knowing that it was just another Friday evening in India, I was able to get the problem resolved and get our orders pushed through."
"Creativity is the best way to solve problems. Two associates were having trouble understanding the work that the other one did, and this was impacting the overall group. I pitched that the two individuals switch roles for two weeks to better understand their impact on the organization's success. They both came out of the experience having felt a new appreciation for another's job, and now they are cross-trained too!"
"Our sales organization was struggling with the buyers and salespeople. We were supposed to be working collaboratively, but it became a finger pointing battle when a deal would fall apart. I suggested that, instead of having the buyers and salespeople report to different bosses and essentially working against one another, we switch it up to force collaboration. We reorganized the sales teams, so there were pods where a salesperson worked with two buyers, and they were a team. They became experts on the same customers, and their financial targets were tied. Very quickly the attitude shifted in the office, and people were teaching each other and learning from one another rather than pointing and placing blame."
"I have a student mainstreamed for only Spanish and no other specials. He doesn't have an aide for it, either, and while he's very good at language, following all classroom instructions isn't easy for him without one on one instruction. So rather than let him flounder, I made him my assistant. I was able to give him one on one instruction, he got to be a special helper by passing out papers or organizing students, felt like a million bucks, and was super engaged in the lesson every single day."
The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of taking calculated risks in the workplace and that you understand the difference between a calculated risk and a risky choice. Think of a work-related risk, like trying out a new idea to solve a problem. You may even take on a new responsibility for which you are not trained, which is a little bit of a risk. Give an example that shows you are thoughtful and strategic when taking risks. Do you weigh the pros and cons first? Are you considering how it will affect others? Do you believe in the company's bottom line? These are all things that the interviewer will be looking for in your answer.
"Last month I took an unusual risk by taking an outside sales call when I am an inside sales employee. My client asked me to meet him because he had some additional business he was thinking of giving our company but wanted to make sure we had strong rapport before he handed the business over. I met him in person, and we got along so well that he gave me an additional $1M in annual business. I knew it was a risk because my boss preferred that I stay on inside sales accounts but I knew the reward was greater than the potential risk, so I took it. Well worth it!"
"I once took a risk and rearranged the file room without asking. It seemed like we were running back and forth and I thought an alternate layout might make it run more efficiently. I was right. My boss commented on the layout and was impressed with my diligence."
"I took a risk this year by hiring a candidate who did not meet all of the requirements for the job; however, she showed more initiative and grit than I had seen in a long time. I trained her on the areas for which she was lacking, and she ended up outperforming some of my more tenured staff."
"I once took a risk to pivot my career out of marketing and into a sales role, with the intent of rounding out my business experience for future growth. It was a risk because it was something I had never done before and something I did not want to do long term. Having done it, it made me a better leader in the marketing director role I am in today."
"Probably the most unusual risk I've taken was applying unsolicited to the current position I have. My boss, the owner of the company, didn't have a position posted but I reached out pitching my services. She said it was perfect timing, interviewed, and hired me. It goes to show that taking some unusual steps or risks are often worth it!"
"I certainly took a risk by leaving my strategic account management position to take an entry sales position in another organization. While it was risky, I wanted to get into sales and a startup environment. My family thought I was nuts. It worked out great, as I got basic sales experience, and earned a promotion within months. I was then headhunted out of that position to a strategic senior account executive role."
"I had put my neck out for a classroom teacher when a parent was complaining about how she handled a situation with her son. The teacher was a first-year teacher, and I was in the class at the time of the incident. It was controversial that I got involved, but I was not about to see a good teacher get railroaded for something that was not her fault. The outcome was positive, and though uncomfortable at first, it led to a great rapport between the mother and teacher once they were through the controversy. I am happy to have played a part in that and will always put myself in the crosshairs to do what is right."
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
"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."
"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."
"I first take a step back and make a list of all the deliverable work that I have. Then, I prioritize the list by deadline and ease of completion. I always try to hit the easy tasks first and get them off my to-do list. Feeling like I am making progress keeps me motivated."
"I always make lists and have a pretty good handle on what I have on my plate, but when the list starts to get long, I just make sure to work more hours if needed, or get strategic about double dipping the projects to be most effective. I try to balance my work and a home life well so that if the situation arises in which I need to spend more time at work, I feel I'm balanced and prepared to tackle the stressful, long hours."
"With enthusiasm! Having a large workload is part of being in retail. I prioritize the work and enlist additional resources where necessary."
"I learned in both college, but especially in my account management role, that I do best with a larger than usual workload. I do a better job time managing and just crank out the work. Obviously, I need a balance to this overload, so I don't burn out, but I enjoy the challenge of extra work in the same amount of time."
"My workload is packed but consistent. The only time it gets hectic is if we've had a lot of assessments and I've fallen behind in grading. My work schedule leaves no room for error; I have a class starting at the same time the previous one ends. So, I am accustomed to having an incredibly full workload."
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
"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."
"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."
"I do have confidence in my communication skills. I have always had to speak in front of teams, some small, some large. I am comfortable speaking to groups, and I tend to get positive responses from my audience."
"I had better have confidence in my communication skills, seeing as I am in marketing! But yes, I do. I would say I'm rather direct, but try to gather as much information as possible before approaching an issue. Once I have it, I am direct and to the point. I find it gets things done effectively and without any convulsion."
"Communication is everything! When my last company acquired another business, there was a great deal of change going on at once. People felt uneasy and out of the loop. I recommended implementing various communication methods to help everyone learn what was going on in a timely fashion and introduce transparency into the mix. People were happy to be apart of what was happening at the moment."
"I'd say that communication is one of my most significant assets. As an English major, I have trained academically in productive written discussion and verbal arguments. I also have given over a dozen large and small group presentations, including a keynote speaking engagement in front of several hundred attendees, so I would say I'm comfortable presenting. In the workplace, I have been a part of teams both in a subordinate and leading role, and I would describe communication as one of my skills in the office as well. I am professional and respectful, yet I am also able to meet the audience where they may be. For instance, I have experience dealing with anyone from a truck driver or warehouse employee to the CEO of an organization and can adapt my tone and presentation style, written or oral, to the audience."
"I'm a powerful communicator. I am a great active listener, which helps me be effective in communicating with both adults and students alike."
The interviewer wants to see that you have a desire to learn, grow, and try on new challenges! No hiring authority wants to hire the complacent employee so show them you are willing to see opportunity when it arises! Your willingness to take on additional tasks, with a positive attitude, gives the interviewer all the more reason to want to get to know you better. Hiring managers are looking for people who will be proactive and help to carry the team. Here are some ways you can gain extra responsibilities in the workplace: - Talking to your boss about your career goals and having a conversation about new tasks that may help to get you there - Offering to take work off of a colleague's plate, if they seem stressed. - Studying hard to become an SME (Subject Matter Expert) in software or topic that your boss would find useful - Just jumping in and take on a new responsibility!
"In my current role I asked my boss if I could take over the social media marketing. We are a small company, and my supervisor was struggling with it. Being a millennial, I am always on social media, and I understand what types of posts gain attention. After taking over the task, I grew our Instagram following from just 400 to 2000 in 2 months! I am always game for taking on new tasks, especially when they are in my wheelhouse."
"Most of the time, yes. I don't like to get "bored" or have an empty to-do list. Working hard makes the time go by faster. I don't ask for more work when I have a full load and am staring at overtime possibilities, though."
"To be an excellent manager and leader, I need to show that not only am I proactive, but that being so will positively impact career growth. I need to lead by example, so I am always looking for more projects or responsibilities."
"I like to take it on myself to figure out the fastest way to get something done while maintaining my high standards. Then, I continue to innovate on that. I like being efficient and effective. The most recent addition to my responsibilities includes planning all promotions for the 2019 calendar and coordinating with sales on how they will pitch and execute those promotions."
"I ask for extra responsibilities all of the time! I am constantly seeking out new ways that I can learn more and exceed customer expectations in my role."
"Yes, I will request extra responsibilities when it's appropriate. I will on occasion ask 'what more can I do?' or 'what's next?' I like going above and beyond, and I always have my eye on the end game prize. I know that often the way to get there, faster, is to request the extra responsibilities and demonstrate my want for it."
"I often seek out more responsibility, either in mentorship or curriculum writing, for example. Even if it's nothing specific or mandated, I take on these responsibilities willingly. I want to help better the department and myself. Also, I am the freshman girl's soccer coach at the district's high school."
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.
"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."
"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."
"In my last position, I brought value through delivering an increased customer base. My ability to build strong relationships helped me secure and maintain all new business."
"Most recently, I developed a marketing campaign across platforms to launch our newest collaboration. Not only did the option sell out in record time, but it also got featured on some different "best holiday gift" lists, which helped also get our name out there. I have helped increase exposure by over 124%, and engagement in our fashion challenges has followed suit. To sum it up, I bring both financial value as well as vision and experience in long-term planning of strategies and promotions that will increase engagement and ultimately revenue."
"I cared deeply about delivering value to the businesses I supported in my last position. I worked hard to understand the business so I could position my talents to serve the group best. By learning more, I was able to be a better partner to deliver successful practices across the group."
"I believe I bring value in many ways to my current organization. As a sales rep, obviously, I bring financial value. I've been among the top three sales reps since starting in the role. Also, my pod transacts the most frequently and has the lowest claim rate, meaning we are making good deals and not costing ourselves money on the backend just to get the front end "yes." I also helped create a community within the organization that spearheads tackling projects that impact the culture and productivity of the company."
"I pride myself on having been a key part of saving the department when the board put it on the chopping block. Due to the community I'd created in my tenure as a Spanish teacher, I had dozens of students and their parent's rally on my behalf, and behalf of the department as a whole, to speak out against cutting the elementary Spanish department. I believe this indicates how impactful I've been as a teacher and all I've contributed to my students' education, as well as to the department and district as a whole by helping save the program."
The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of maintaining a harmonious relationship with those who are considered your leaders. If your relationship with your boss wasn't fantastic, what efforts did you take to make it better? Here are some suggestions: - Try to understand what your boss values the most - Keep your cool, even when you want to lose it - Anticipate their needs and stay one step ahead - Take leadership opportunities to show your worth - Adapt to their preferences Some basic ground rules for a stable working relationship with your boss are open communication, proactive listening, and not taking things personally. Discuss the ways that you cultivated a healthy relationship with your boss.
"My current boss is a very particular individual. Over the years I have taken the time to understand her preferences, her stress triggers, and what she enjoys seeing in my work. I find that if I stay one step ahead and maintain a positive attitude, we can work productively together."
"I value having a strong working relationship with my boss. I want to learn what they do and take on as much work to help our team as possible. I scheduled regular update meetings with my boss and went the extra mile wherever I could."
"Communication. I always let my boss know where I stood on projects. Sometimes the communications were daily, sometimes weekly, depending on the situation. There were never any surprises."
"I genuinely like my current boss. I reached out to her specifically because I liked her, her company, and platform. We have good communication and can give each other honest and open feedback, which I think is important for our relationship as well as the business."
"I maintained a great relationship with my most recent boss by readily accepting feedback and implementing it immediately. He is a very busy person, and I learned early on that he needed to know that his advice meant something to me."
"I find it important to understand what motivates my boss and what his pain points are. I can not only make myself more valuable by taking some items off of his plate, but I can also help collaborate on issues with him. Spending time understanding who he is as a person, so we develop a strong rapport, allows us to work collaboratively and effectively, all the while enjoying our time together."
"I find maintaining good relationships with bosses pretty natural. I show them respect as well as maintain interest in their professional opinion and personal life and treat them with kindness. It's a pretty sure fire way to stay in good standing. I ask her opinion on my curriculum, to be observed and evaluated, and for feedback. All of these factors culminate in a solid relationship based on mutual respect."
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.
"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."
"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."
"As uncomfortable as customer complaints are, it's part of my favorite part of the job, because I get to problem solve and get creative with our clients' needs. If the complaint is due to employee behavior, I handle that concern discreetly and never in front of the client."
"I'm capable of handling disputes professionally and have plenty of years of experience, from my jobs in the service industry to sales, and marketing. Though I no longer work directly with customers often, I do see the complaints when a marketing campaign didn't live up to their expectations, or we didn't deliver on a deadline. I believe customer service to be of the utmost importance and pride myself on understanding the situation and always going above and beyond to make sure the customer is happy."
"I handle customer complaints with extreme care! Customers and clients are the lifeblood of any retail business, so it is important to hear them by empathizing, understanding and initiative to resolve the issues they bring to you."
"Unfortunately, customer complaints happen all too often, but that's part of the job. One instance that comes to mind is when we were expected to update a feature set for a particular client. We missed the deadline. I called the client to let him know that we would have an in-between solution, but his ideal deadline was not feasible. Understandably, he was pretty livid. By demonstrating active listening, legitimizing his concerns, and assuring him of a more realistic timeline, as echoed by the stakeholders in the project, I was able to calm him down."
"I'm comfortable handling parental complaints when they occasionally happen. I know, as a parent myself, that almost any concern or complaint stems from looking out for what they believe the best interest of their child to be, and I can certainly empathize with that. I approach all complaints or concerns with delicacy and an open heart and make sure they feel heard and understood. By doing so, we can always find a better path forward together."
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!
"If I understand you correctly..."
"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."
"Listening skills can serve you well in any role. In a heated meeting where two groups were debating about a specific issue they were having, I sat back to listen carefully to identify the root problem. Both teams were passionate about the work so could not hear over their defense mechanisms. As their leader, I was able to hear through this and recommend solutions for them to be successful working together."
"I was in a meeting when our owner and the operations manager and I were discussing how branding would look for the following calendar year. It was clear that the other two were not understanding one another, and I was the junior marketing person in the room. Never the less, to accomplish our task, I had to work as the mediator without making them feel like I was biased. I listened very carefully and reworded what each of them said in order to get us all on the same page. By using careful listening and tact, we left the meeting all on the same page, which gave us a great way to start off the year."
"Active listening is a key quality to have. I recently hosted a district retail meeting with a team that seems unhappy and discontent. I listened as they explained their issues. While some things I could not change, some of their concerns were easily rectified just by understanding the issue."
"Listening is crucial to closing a sales deal. I make the prospect feel as though they're my most important call of the day, listening to what they're saying, and not saying, and clarifying their statements. Not only is it helpful to help uncover any potential objections on the spot, but also it helps to confirm their understanding and reinforce a resolution."
"Even when I disagree initially with a colleague or even a student, I make sure not to show it. Rather, I wait to hear them out. If needed, I ask pointed questions to see if what I'm hearing is what they meant to communicate. Once it's clear that we understand one another, we can go from there; even if there is a disagreement, at least there is an understanding. This example applies to building curriculum, scheduling classes, or even answering homework questions. Clarifying questions and active listening will always go a long way."
The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of explaining complex ideas without being condescending to your co-workers or talking over their heads. Give the interviewer an example of how you break down information to make it more easily digestible for the average person. Think of a presentation about a complex topic, as a proposal to solve a challenging problem. The solution may seem obvious to you, but everyone else in the room is scratching their heads trying to figure out what you're saying. When you can define key terms and phrases to make them more relevant to your audience, you have skill! Not everyone can do this. Prepare an example that demonstrates your communication skills and your ability to convey complex information in easy to understand terms.
"I find that when there is a complicated concept to teach, visual aids are always the way to go. Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners and that presentations with visual components are 43% more persuasive? I took a course on creating effective info-graphics and will often implement those in my presentations."
"Keep it simple silly! If you cannot explain a concept simply, then you do not understand it well enough. I recently rolled out a complex compensation plan with many anomalies. I took the approach to share a broad overview and provide detail for reference. I often try to make analogies or share complex information in the form of a story."
"I try to use written and verbal examples. If possible, I like to have hands-on examples, but that is not always feasible. Communicating in more than one way helps those with different learning styles."
"I often have to explain things to others outside of marketing, the how and the why, but not get stuck in the minutiae. It comes down to keeping it simple and talking in their terms while remembering what motivates them: sales, operations, or what have you. Keep it short and sweet. We can dive in in further detail later, but just give an overview that plays to their interests and move on."
"If a concept is difficult to explain, or understand, I will find visual aids to help. Most people are visual learners who will better understand if they see the concept in action."
"I find the best way to explain a topic is a multifaceted approach. If possible, I like to send a quick email memo summarizing or teasing what we'll be talking about, so the team comes in with the right mindset. Then, a quick overview in person, check for understanding or questions. I then recap and summarize or clarify, followed by asking for another summary of what we've discussed from another teammate. Then, I wrap up clarifying any outstanding issues. Following this, I send out an email blast that summarizes what we talked about, the questions asked, and asking for feedback or questions. This process allows for various types of learners to be engaged, and I find that giving collateral to review later is impactful to all. We all need a quick reminder sometimes."
"This one's easy. I have to target my language to 8-year-olds every single day. Just break it down in simple terms and give them more credit than you initially want to. If you can't explain it to a kid, you may not understand it as well as you think."
The interviewer would like to see that you proactively go after what you want and that you will act as a positive change-agent when you see room for improvement in the workplace. The worst way to answer this question would be to say 'I didn't have the power to change anything in the organization, so I quit.' This question is not an opportunity to complain about your previous job or company! Think about personal changes you could make that would have made your job easier, improved your skills or furthered your education. You cannot change others, but there is always the option to develop yourself!
"My previous company did not allow for a lot of employee feedback or input so I chose to focus on ways that I could better my performance instead. I took many weekend workshops on various topics such as Excel, Communication in the Workplace, The Art of Negotiations, and some human resource related courses as well. My boss did notice an improvement in my performance, so I formally suggested that the company pay for every employee to take one course per year. They agreed and implemented my suggestion. I believe it's easier to 'do' rather than 'tell.' My example of performance improvement was what they needed to make some changes."
"In my previous role, I had regular one on one meetings with my supervisor. In those meetings, I would offer suggestions. I was always prepared to go into detail on my ideas, and the analytics to back them up, should my ideas pique any interest. Never ask for a change without being able to justify it."
"I would keep a running list of areas for improvement, and as the opportunity arose to bring them up in a tactful manner, I would voice the appropriate, related concern. If anything were pressing, I'd make sure to raise my concern immediately."
"Marketers are known creative types, so we always love to explore alternate scenarios and ways to improve a process. I keep up to take on technology trends and would often suggest we open a free trial of the latest and greatest. Sometimes we would permanently implement the recommendation, other times we would toss it."
"I currently work in a franchise environment so there can be a lot of red-tape surrounding change. I have made suggestions for small changes such as adding a flashing "open" sign to the front door, handing out napkins rather than leaving dispensers out to prevent waste and that type of thing."
"When starting my most recent position, I would have the occasional 8 AM check-in with the COO, who was my direct boss. I was able to give him direct feedback on what I saw, as a newcomer. Many times, he took my suggestions on how to change things, but there were plenty of times when we just had to leave the situation alone. I trusted that he had a plan, or that my feedback was at least heard and perhaps change would be made at a later juncture."
"If asked, I can readily suggest change; however, I avoid unsolicited recommendations."
Every manager has a different approach to giving feedback. Some prefer to save it for the performance review while others dish it out on the regular. Your response to feedback is much more important than the feedback itself. Even if it was negative, if you can take it as constructive criticism, you can improve yourself and your skills.
"My manager told me that I was spending too much time on the details of a project. I realized that I could be such a perfectionist that I lose track of time and am often hyper-focus on things that just aren't that important. I'm learning to prioritize the steps I need to take, and the required tasks when working on a bigger project."
"My last performance review was positive. I was given kudos for completing tasks on schedule and occasionally ahead of schedule."
"As a manager, I most often give feedback to my team, so when I receive feedback, it feels great. Recently my operations director asked me to give more detailed notes in our CRM. He felt that I wasn't as thorough as I could be. Since then I have readily implemented his feedback."
"My most recent supervisor commended how hard I worked and gave me additional responsibilities beyond what I was hired to do, which was a huge compliment. I feel highly of my work ethic and talent. The areas for improvement she pointed out where not getting caught up in the details of a project, which I know I can spend too much time on."
"I frequently received and gave feedback on my last job. I proactively scheduled a weekly touch base with my manager to seek out feedback and connect on pressing issues. The feedback was often positive, and I would take the lead navigating situations I was unclear on by enlisting the expertise of my peers."
"My manager and the company as a whole had the philosophy of on the fly feedback. Something my manager pointed out to me was that I could get possessive about a project and want to complete it entirely on my own, rather than bringing in help when I should. Since then, I have worked to determine the best partners for any given project, collaboratively work on an outline and delegation of tasks, a simple project management system, and scheduled check-ins so we are all held accountable and can ensure we are each making it happen in a timely fashion. I appreciated this feedback. It's helped me address something that has been hindering my growth and productivity for some time."
"I'm happy to say that I typically have received glowing reports from my Principals. The main area for improvement noted would be incorporating more standardized type testing into my teaching. I suppose it's a necessary evil, so I've begun doing cumulative unit tests four times per year so I can assess how they're learning, what they're retaining, and what we need to work on more."
Before answering this question, you need to know which critical skills are a must in this new role. Review the job description, compare it to your most recent job, and give examples that demonstrate your competency in these skills. For instance, if the interviewing company is looking for someone with experience in a particular technology, talk about how you learned the ins and outs of this technology in your past job. If the company is looking for someone with excellent customer service skills, give an example of how you learned to meet the needs of customers in your last role by listening and positively communicating with them.
"In my current role, I grew my sales skills an immense amount. I was pretty good at sales previously, but the amount of training I have gained in cold calling, prospecting, and pipeline building has been incredible. I look forward to taking this knowledge and applying it to this role with your company."
"I learned the ins and outs of the accounting system in my most current role. I was responsible for migrating our information into the same system, so I spent a good amount of time researching and training within it."
"In my most recent position, I learned how to be a better strategic manager, and I think this will help me better balance being both tactical and strategic in this new role."
"I've been in both inbound and outbound marketing, and in my current role, I plan the entire content marketing schedule and strategy, in collaboration with the owner of the business. Because it's such a small business, and because of my hand in the entire marketing strategy, I feel as though I am equipped to jump in just about any role in the company."
"I learned the art of upselling! Coming here today I see that you have many items available to upsell which means I can easily take my current skills and apply them here."
"In my most recent position, I learned the ins and outs of Salesforce.com, which I understand are what you use as your CRM. I am accustomed to detailing my conversations, calls, and follow-up tasks within the CRM but I also have some experience in customizing fields and setting various alerts and reminders. We house everything in Salesforce.com, rather than in the CRM, emails, and chats. It helps increase productivity."
"I've learned classroom management, curriculum development, and also working well in other people's spaces. I have refined the art of coming in on a tight schedule, but developing a consistent routine with my students so they know what to expect, that we'll have fun and get down to business all at once, and how to pack the most punch into my shortened class periods. These are all valuable skills that make me the best candidate for your position."
Bragging about yourself in an interview can be tough to do, but this is your time to shine! Which characteristics and career accomplishments have made you a stand-out candidate? Perhaps you have received some academic awards or have been given special accolades in your most recent position. There is nobody like you, and now you need to express that to the interviewer.
"I am the best candidate for you because I have a consistent history of exceeding my targets and goals for the past three years. I have been promoted two times in the last year which is nearly unheard of in my current company. In addition to these successes, I have excellent cold calling skills which I will put to work immediately after being hired by your company."
"I am the best candidate because I have the right type of administration background, education, and experience. I know that I can jump right in and get going with very little training time."
"I have the necessary experience, skill sets, and high level of ambition to add great value to this department. I come well trained in inventory management, team leadership, and productivity methods. In addition to this, I have led teams up to 50 individuals with minimal employee turnover."
"In my current role, I have worn every hat in the marketing department. I manage the website, social media marketing, planning and running promotions, and all written copy that is published by the company. Because of my involvement in so many different areas of the company, I feel that I can bring a unique advantage and insight that other applicants won't deliver."
"I feel that I am the best candidate for you because I am looking for a company that I can stay with for the long haul, something that you mentioned you value earlier as well. Retail can see a lot of employee turnover as colleges start up in the fall. This path is a long-term career option for me, and I would like to be groomed into a regional manager role one day."
"I smiled when I read the job description because it was as though you had written it with me in mind. I know that I am the best candidate for this role because I have three years of exceeding my sales goals, inside and outside sales experience, and I know the industry. Also, I was the fastest promoted in my previous position and have led the rollout of new markets in my current position, making me ideally positioned for helping you continue to build your sales organization, markets, and exceed financial metrics."
"I am ready for a change and have always targeted this district as my dream one. I am passionate about teaching, about the language, and about making learning fun. I know that I will be a valuable asset to the school and district by breathing life into the program. I work well with others and am constantly innovating, so I look forward to doing that in your premiere district."
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.
"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?"
"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."
"I follow a multitude of management thought leaders on social media. I also read a lot of books. My favorite people to gain knowledge from including Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, and Tony Robbins. Which are your favorite ways to stay up to date on trends in management?"
"I am a member of several professional associations and receive regular marketing e-magazines. I also follow multiple influencers on LinkedIn including Grant Cardone and Neil Patel."
"It's so easy to stay up to date these days, so I have Google alerts set for industry trends. In addition, social media is really a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of things. As silly as it sounds, Instagram lets you see what is trending, and who is trending, so that you can pay attention to upcoming styles on the runway that will hit stores in the next 12-18 months. I love to create some "look-alike" outfits in my department based on what big celebrities are wearing. It drives interest and sales for our department, and shows we are up to date on trends and news."
"I have Google News alerts set up for industry-specific keywords, am subscribed to multiple newsletters, and follow the three leading industry associations on social media. I also receive their quarterly updates. Also, I love to learn about the latest OEM trends and always draw on the experience of my industry contacts who have been working in the industry as long as I have been alive."
"Like all teachers, I do continuing education hours both through the district in-service days, as well as seek out additional learning opportunities. At an in-service event a few years ago, I was introduced to TPRS, which teaches you how to teach language through telling stories. As a result, I've plugged into their community, and it's been a great resource for me. Also, we have bi-weekly departmental meetings, and I am currently enrolled in grad school to get my masters, beginning next fall."