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.
"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!"
"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."
"My last challenge was to complete product testing within a deadline that was very tight. I was able to keep the test cells running 24 hours a day by monitoring their status from my laptop at home and by asking team members on later shifts to stop by and make sure they could hear it running."
"In my last position, I was tasked with fixing a very broken website. So, I not only learned WordPress, but shopped other providers and learned that WooCommerce was not the best fit for our needs, and migrated the site over to Shopify. I had to teach myself some basic code, as I had minimal resources or support within my organization. In any event, I got the site up and running and working better than ever!"
"When I first arrived in my position, the inventory management in our store was out of control. Clothing was stashed in the back room, in every nook and cranny imaginable. I decided to take hold of that project immediately, setting a new standard for the floor sales staff."
"I would say the biggest challenge I overcame in my previous position was my lack of outside sales experience. I had inside sales and account management but had never done a cold pitch. At first, it was uncomfortable, but as I became more confident in the company and my knowledge of the industry, I learned what an asset I could be in outside sales. By meeting prospects face-to-face, I could assess not only their sincerity and level of interest but also connect on a personal level. What's ironic is the thing that gave me the greatest pause about taking the position became my favorite part of the job. It's something I look forward to continuing to do daily with your organization, should I be offered the position."
"The district was running a referendum to pass what would get cut from the budget and had a list of proposed cuts; elementary Spanish was at the top of the list. Being told that, purely for budgetary reasons, my job and department would be gone was quite a challenge. We saved the program, in large part due to the support of my current and former students and their families."
"One of the most difficult situations that I have had to face on the job was a patient who suffered from dementia. He would frequently become agitated, restless, and sometimes angry. I would patiently remind him of a conversation in a way that suggested something rather than making him feel like he was forgetting. I also encouraged him to leave notes to himself for the purpose of recollection. Eventually, his state deteriorated and he needed more full-time care than I could offer but we certainly made his situation work well for him as long as we could."
"At my last position, I had to complete a project on a very short notice, as revised by the client. Notwithstanding the amount of work involved, I got to work immediately. I used numerous lists to keep track of the daily duties to be performed, and delegated some duties to ensure all expectations could be met. The project was completed by the deadline and the client was highly satisfied."
"The thing that scares me the most, I suppose, is that I will miss something that could make a difference in a patient's life. I don't necessarily mean a life or death situation. However, sometimes missing a diagnosis because of a lab error or because I wasn't aware of a certain medication the patient is on can make a big difference in a plan of care. I want to be vigilant in my practice as a physician so that my patients know they can count on me."
"A difficult situation I faced recently was working with an elderly client that had just suffered a stroke. After working with her for many months it was still hard to get potential employers to see past her age and it took longer than expected to place her in meaningful employment. The client and I had effective and positive sessions and I provided assistance and encouragement the whole way."