The interviewer would like to know how you assess problems at work. It is vital to be able to quickly, yet efficiently, evaluate an issue in the workplace. Talk to the interviewer about how you handle a problem at work.
"I have been with my current company for many years, so the majority of problem-solving comes second nature to me at this point. However, when I first started this job, I would have to spend more time in careful consideration before jumping in. I would say that when I have a problem, I have a healthy balance of the two."
"That depends on the situation and seriousness of the problem. I will not jump in with rash decisions on a problem that has a major impact on our business, but I will change coffee vendors on a whim to save money or increase satisfaction."
"Warehousing is not an overly reactionary business; however, we do have tight deadlines. I find that careful planning is what saves my day most of the time. For that reason, I would say that I am more one to consider what is at stake when a problem arises, carefully."
"As a Marketing Director, I have to be 100% ready to jump at any changes, last minute, and other. For that reason, I would say that I am more reactionary- jumping in and hoping for the best. With that said, I am an absolute expert in my industry and know my clients incredibly well. This expertise allows me to make fast, yet highly educated, decisions."
"My current company encourages me to consider which problem is the most costly if left unattended. This question is the basis of my start. Do you have a preference when it comes to problem-solving methods?"
"I am in sales so, of course, I jump in with both feet and pray that I don't drown! Kidding, for the most part. I am a calculated thinker when it comes to customer service, booking my calls, and building my pipeline, however, when it comes to putting out fires I have to jump in immediately and rectify the situation to prevent further damage."
"I work with children so, for that reason, everything that I do must be carefully planned and calculated. I have a lot of policy to consider before any decisions are made."
The interviewer would like to know how you first approach a critical assignment. Are you the individual who will take an assignment head-on, or do you need to research and plan early? Do you jump in and get it all done immediately or do you balance it with other assignments? Talk to the interviewer about how you approach essential tasks at work.
"When my supervisor gives me an important assignment or task I am sure to assess the depth of the project then take a look at my schedule to see how I can appropriately balance it with my other work. I do not procrastinate because then it's easy to forget to fit them in."
"I lay out all the deadlines, figure out the deliverables, priority order, and then do all the research needed to make informed decisions. I keep a written "to-do" list and transfer project deadlines into my calendar to stay on task."
"When given an important project I will read through the requirements, ensure that I understand the end goal, and then determine which of my team members I need to engage in making it happen. From there, I brief those team members, and we get started!"
"I tend to jump right into an assignment and plan my steps once things are underway. It's the best way that I can create a marketing strategy without wasting any time at the start."
"I approach assignments head on. I like to get my hands on a project, conduct research by various methods. Sometimes it's trial and error, but most of the time I nail it on the first try. "
"I love to read so when I have an important assignment or project I will first do as much online research as possible to ensure that I understand the full scope. From there, I create milestones for myself."
"I am a planner. You have to be, to be a successful teacher. If given an important assignment or project, I will research the heck out of it before I begin. Then, I plan what steps I need to take to reach the end goal. If I need to bring others in to help me, I approach them early on in the process to avoid roadblocks."
The interviewer would like to know which tasks you tend to leave for last. Often we will move the tasks that we don't want for last in the act of procrastination. Other times, we will mindfully leave a specific responsibility for last because we feel that it makes the most sense. Help the interviewer to determine which personality type you are by answering this question.
"If given a choice, I would leave my documentation tasks for last. I say this because I like to spend my time selling and hitting targets so anything to do with documentation during business hours - I feel takes away from my business development tasks. I do understand the importance of it, though."
"I tend to leave the hardest assignments for last. It is not because I dread them, but because I can make a lot more people happy by completing their small requests first and getting them back to work."
"If given a choice, I would leave my corrective measures last, meaning to the end of the day. I prefer to terminate employees at the end of the day when it's a bit quieter. It's easier to do a smooth exit interview and walk out at that time."
"I have always been told first to do the work that I enjoy least! In a way - I guess you could say 'leave the best for last.' I do this so that I don't lose steam as I enter the final stages of a task of a project."
"I am not a procrastinator; however, I would push the store cleaning to the end of the day if it were possible. It feels better to leave the store in pristine condition!"
"I prefer to get my sales calls in, first thing in the morning. It's easier to catch people on the phone that way. Because of this preference, I tend to leave my in-person client visits for the end of the day when I'm done in the office and can hit the pavement."
"If given a choice, I would put off marking papers to the end of the day. I prefer to do my marking when the classroom is quiet after everyone has gone home."
The interviewer would like to know if you are the type to proofread your work before submitting it. Double checking and proofreading are vital parts of a job well done. Assure the interviewer that you are diligent when it comes to presenting good, clean, work.
"Spelling and grammatical errors are a pet peeve of mine. I will triple check my work if there is time! I feel that it is essential to submit error-free work."
"I try to, but in today's quick response age, I know that I send emails with mistypes. I concentrate very well on reports and presentations, and I do ask other people to review important letters or emails before sending them."
"I am so accustomed to working under pressure and tight deadlines that I do forget to double check my work at times. This habit is one that I have consciously been working on to improve."
"Submitting perfect work is what my clients pay me thousands of dollars for! I triple check everything before it goes to my client including running it through a couple of grammar and spelling applications."
"I would like to say that yes I do, but I do not 100% of the time. During peak business hours it can be easy to become swarmed with work. Luckily I know my job very well and can point out a potential error very fast."
"My RFP's and other quotes have to be complete perfection, or it could cause a major upset for my organization. For that reason, I always double check these and then have my sales assistant review the numbers, before they go out to my client."
"Absolutely! As a teacher, I had better submit error-free work. The odd time that I have made a spelling error on a worksheet has proven to be quite embarrassing. My students are mischevious and will never let me forget!"
The interviewer would like to discuss the last time you took on a course to learn a work-related task. Once you are in your career, it certainly doesn't mean that you need to stop learning. There are many job-related courses available. Talk to the interviewer about the last time you took advantage of these open courses.
"I recently took a course in Accounting Basics so that I could make better sense of my finances but also offer my employer more value when it came to managing budgets. I am a full believer in continued education."
"I took a one-day seminar in Microsoft Excel. I already knew the basics, but my boss likes using macros and pivot tables, and I was spending a lot of time reading the support section to figure out how to use them. The course was very informative."
"Last year, I worked towards my Project Manager certification while working full time. That experience alone greatly increased my multitasking skills. The PM Certification is a great addition to my already existing management skill set."
"This year I have taken another workshop on Facebook Advertising and Algorithms. It's an ever-changing beast, and as a marketing professional I need to have the right strategy for my clients."
"I like that you asked this question because it means that continued education is important to you as well. This past year I took an arts program geared towards merchandising. I want to offer my employer more when it comes to creating eye-catching window displays."
"Our company offered the Sandler Sales program to anyone in the company who was interested. I took this workshop in 2014 and enjoyed it. My sales increased by 23% that year."
"I like to spend a great deal on my personal development. Currently, I am earning my certification to become a yoga teacher. I believe that I can bring these lessons into the classroom by helping students learn to breathe, handle stress, and be mindful."
The interviewer would like to know if you take the initiative in the workplace. Have you ever considered the opportunity to present your employer with potential change? Talk to the hiring manager about a time when you took the initiative in the workplace.
"I was able to present and implement one specific change in the office this past year. It was a recycling program that I felt was very important, even for our smaller office. We had significantly less waste after my initiative, and I enjoyed seeing others take pride in helping our environment."
"I took the initiative the past month to completely revamp the file room as well as organize the drive that held our digital files. It was a mess, and with tax season upon us, I couldn't ignore the need. My boss was very thankful for the initiative that I took."
"In my current position, I noticed that our written procedures were not exactly how the employees were doing things. I decided to interview the employees and compare it to the written procedures that management wanted. We were able to come to a compromise that met all of the safety and quality requirements of the company, but still worked a bit faster and easier for the staff."
"We had an awkward intake procedure when I first started working for my company. New clients would hire us, and we would phone interview them - taking notes along the way. I made the recommendation that we send them a fillable form where they can think about their answer and type it out, make edits, and then send to us. This form was implemented, and now our clients can give us a much more thought-out and thorough idea of their needs and vision."
"Our store was experiencing significant issues with theft. I created a proposal to head office that included a paid security officer at the door during peak business times. I researched the cost and compared it to the cost of what we were losing. It was less than 25%, so I figured it was certainly worth the investment. They agreed!"
"Our sales script was very outdated, so I chose to use my time to revamp the book and then submit the potential changes to my boss. She loved the initiative, and after some minor edits, we introduced the new script to the sales team. It was a proud moment in my career."
"I implemented a new routine in my classroom where the day begins with physical activity. We take a walk outside around the schoolyard or do jumping jacks when the first bell rings. It gets everyone's blood flowing, and the kids start their day in a fun way. It was so successful that the school started 'morning fitness' where the K-6 kids assemble in the gym for a quick few minutes."
The interviewer would like to know about your dedication to being present and on time. A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
"I come from the old school way of thinking where if you aren't in the hospital, you show up to work. I can honestly say that the last sick day I took was about six years ago. I expect dedication from my employees which I first need to demonstrate."
"This past year I missed three consecutive days due to illness. I am very dedicated to my projects, and my employer. I had strep throat and still worked from home!"
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
"My current employer allows us to work from home if we aren't feeling well. I take my laptop with me nearly every day anyway so if there is a day that I am under the weather, and potentially contagious, I will work from home. This past year that has happened only twice."
"Missing a day of work is a challenge for me since I am responsible for locating my substitute teacher and I have to pay them from my budget. For this reason, and the fact that I am a dedicated and truthful person, I will only call in sick in dire situations. Through my six-year career as a teacher, I have called in sick just a handful of times. Thank goodness for ColdFX and immunity boosting vitamins!"
You can say that you will go the extra mile, but it's best to give a real-life example to the interviewer about a time when you did just that. Offer up your references as well and discuss with the interviewer what you feel your most recent employer would say about you. Give examples of how you go the extra mile in the workplace. Here are some ways that employees will go the extra mile: - Starting on an upcoming project ahead of time, without being asked. - Taking action on any feedback, they receive from their manager. Taking action means attending a class to improve a required skill or reading a self-development book to help with communication skills at work. - Coming to meetings ready to brainstorm or, better yet, with ideas already jotted down - Creating new ways for themselves or their team to maximize efficiency - Going out of their way to make their customers happy
"I sure hope so! I have always put my best foot forward, and I very much dislike being bored. I go the extra mile whenever possible because that's what great employees do! I have received very positive feedback from all of my previous employers."
"I am always creating new ways for myself and my team to maximize efficiency in our day. I often like to try out a new process to ensure that the owner of the company is getting his money's worth from our work. He will be a great reference for me when we get to that stage."
"We recently had a client who wanted an expert in Facebook algorithms. I was a bit rusty, so I enrolled myself in a half day webinar to ensure I had the level of knowledge the client was expecting. I certainly believe my boss would have great things to say about my level of diligence."
"I fully believe that my current employer would describe me as a diligent go-getter. I like to work on upcoming projects without being asked. For instance, I will re-merchandise before the scheduled time so that we aren't scrambling when our new inventory comes in."
"My former boss would describe me as an employee who goes the extra mile. In my most recent position, I was always available on my email, and many of my service clients had my cell phone number just in case of an after-hours emergency. When you call my reference he will be happy to expand on that for you, I am sure."
"I initiated a faculty-wide meeting so that we could all discuss the concerns our students had surrounding a couple of cyber-bullies that had surfaced. All of the teachers met after school and brainstormed how we would address the issue and put an end to it. The plan was successful; we identified the perpetrator who we expelled. I will always go the extra mile and be an advocate for my students. My principal will attest to this when you call for a reference."
The interviewer would like to know more about your attention to detail. It is always best to support your reply with a real-life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to the smaller details.
"My co-workers would describe my attention to detail as very strong. I can very easily point out spelling discrepancies in communication and will notice the small things. I think big-picture as well but have always had a knack for details."
"I can't necessarily speak for them, but I think they would say that I have above average attention to detail. I make mistakes, but I usually catch them before passing my work on to the intended recipient."
"I have a well-honed ability to point out discrepancies in my work, and the work of my team. Being in this role for seven years has helped me to streamline many processes and avoid a lot of error. I plan to bring this same discretion with me to your organization."
"As a marketing professional and an overall creative person, I tend to move quickly but can take count of my work and notice mistakes just as quickly. My coworkers seem to enjoy my style of work so I would say they'd have nice things to say about me and my attention to detail!"
"Before I give a customer their total, I count the lines on the POS and compare them to the items in front of me. I would never want to miss charging an item or double charging for an item as I would feel so bad. My coworkers tease me about this a little bit."
"My attention to detail is a point that I have been working on a lot this past year. I am meticulous but, in the past, have pushed my documentation back a little bit. It's something I am conscious of and continually working on."
"Being a teacher, I need to be diligent and detailed every step of the way. My students like my step-by-step teaching style and my colleagues would attest to my strong attention to detail as well."
An interviewer needs to hear that you have a plan in place to keep yourself organized. The interviewer wants to evaluate your time management skills, and diligence when faced with prioritization. Start off by mentioning that you are typically an organized person. From here, dive into a recent time-consuming project for which you were involved. Tell the interviewer that you started off by ensuring you had your schedule mapped out before you dove into your workload. Discuss if you made a to-do list, updated your calendar, or created a color-coded agenda. Share whatever organization method worked for you! Talk about how you diligently stuck with this plan for the duration of the project and how it allowed you to complete the project on time successfully.
"I am a naturally organized individual. Without proper organization, a project can get out of hand quite quickly. I was recently involved with a project that required 30 hours of my time in a two week period while I was also in the middle of several other projects. I was able to stay on track with visual reminders, mid-day check-ins, and a strong support team. I ended up working some overtime, but that is par for the course in project management!"
"We recently took on a revamp project updating our software to streamline our work better. With this, on top of the high demands of our day to day roles, we had to master the art of prioritizing to get the new software launched on time. We did what needed to be done. If that meant multitasking or putting in extra hours, we made it happen."
"When collaborating on and executing corporate's vision for a store rebrand, I had to be very diligent. If we were to achieve the vision that would make our store fit cohesively with the company nationwide, head office would implement the rebrand nationally."
"Every new client project that I take on requires a great deal of time from me. To minimize time lost, I like to map out my plan of attack and then start the action sequence. I use a few tools like FreedCamp and Evernote to help me remain organized."
"We had a customer that placed an unusually large order that consisted of similar, but different times. I counted and recounted that order probably 20 times before giving it the go-ahead to ship. I was happy to put forth that much effort for our customer."
"I had a customer place a request for 100 different units with a commitment to buying at least 20 of them. We had a list of precisely what each requirement was, and by the time we had 100 different units with varying features, the order was complex. I spent hours compiling the different approved scenarios in a spreadsheet. I was able to pitch 62 units to him that met his demands, and he purchased 48 of them."
"Since I teach in other teachers' classrooms, I have to plan around their schedules as well as be sure that I can physically make it into each class on time. My timing has become impeccable! It's like a puzzle trying to get it all planned out seamlessly."
It is essential that, as a professional, you can remain on task and focused even when your motivation levels may not be high. The interviewer would like to know that you are highly diligent and disciplined. Nobody is wholly motivated 100% of the time but do assure the interviewer that you can quickly get yourself back on track.
"When I am not feeling completely on task, I will take a quick walk or run to the nearest Starbucks for a coffee. I am usually very focused, so if I am feeling foggy, it's just my body telling me to change my pace for a few minutes."
"I like to give myself a few rewards throughout the day for completing tasks that are not the most fun. For example, if I have to call some clients that are not the kindest to me, I will tell myself that once I complete them, I can do some design work, which I enjoy."
"As a manager, I need to keep myself, and my team motivated as much as possible. I will run contests for gift cards or inter-office competitions with some reward attached. Seeing the energy from my team keeps me motivated on days that I may not be feeling as energized as I could."
"My clients depend on me every step of the way, from project start to end. I cannot take much downtime so to remain motivated; I like to research new concepts and learn new skills. Each skill I gain, the better my delivery will be to the client."
"If I do not feel motivated it is because I am not busy enough, I do not enjoy downtime on the job. I will create jobs for myself or take on extra tasks to keep my motivation levels up."
"In sales, motivation can be a challenging thing to maintain at all times. Salespeople are usually very competitive and like to win, which is a significant source of motivation. Because I like to win, I will complete the more menial tasks of my day as soon as I enter the office. This way, I can spend the remainder of my day focused on tasks that I enjoy doing."
"On my toughest days as an educator, I will remind myself why I teach, and that keeps me motivated. I look at my students and how much they are growing and learning. This approach helps me to stay on track and keep going when motivation levels are low."