Updated on February 13th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 17
What challenges are you looking for in a position?
How to Answer
You have completed 0 answers.
How to Answer
A perfect employment fit needs to go both ways. Just like the interviewer needs to know that they like you, they want to see that you love them back! Mention a few of the challenges that you are looking for in your next position and be sure to tie them into the duties and responsibilities mentioned in the job posting, or job description.
A challenge you may be looking for could be:
- Learning a new software program
- Leading a bigger team than you currently do
- Higher sales quotas
- A larger sales territory
- A larger client base
- A more prominent range of products or services
- Stepping into your first leadership role
"When I started looking for a new accounting job, it was important to me that I find a role that offered an opportunity to learn the latest and greatest accounting software. My current organization is very 'old-school' in their systems, and I do not want to fall behind in my technical abilities. I appreciate that you work with the latest software and even recently implemented cloud-based solutions for your clients."
"I have been an administrative assistant for some time now, and look forward to stepping into this challenging Executive Assistant opportunity. You will be the most senior executive that I have supported, and I am thrilled to be able to concentrate my time on making your work life easier, streamlining a variety of processes for you, and organizing your day."
"Currently, I lead a team of 25 production technicians and general laborers. I have successfully decreased accident rates by nearly 90%, raised employee retention by 35%, and am now ready for the next challenge which includes leading a bigger team. I am ready for the challenges that this management role will offer me."
"For the past six years I have worked for a wonderful agency with great clients; however, I now have bigger fish to fry! I would like to take on a larger client base with a more significant marketing budget. I know that your agency will be able to offer this challenge and I look forward to growing my marketing career with you."
"The challenge that I am seeking in my next role, which is a challenge that your store will offer me, is a wider range of products and services. Currently, I sell home computers and related accessories, but I have a much wider interest in all things tech. I also love that your company offers tech troubleshooting and repair services. Working for an all-encompassing business like yours would be a dream!"
"My territory is strictly the state of California at the moment, and I am seeking a challenge that includes a larger territory. When I saw that this position includes Nevada, Oregon, and Washington - I was thrilled. I am ready for a role like this and cannot wait to show you what I can do."
"The fact that your school is larger than my current posting is very enticing to me. I am seeking a larger community where my work makes an even bigger impact. I see in your job description that you are looking for someone who can step into an assistant coach role for the girls' rugby team. That portion of the job excites me as well."
What concerns do you have about working in this position or for this organization?
How to Answer
You have completed 0 answers.
How to Answer
Keep your concerns light. The interviewer needs to know if there is anything on which you need clarification. Always have a question or two prepared for the end of your interview and make sure they are insightful, rather than surface thoughts.
Concerns could include:
- What was the biggest struggle for the previous person in this role?
- What do you expect to be the biggest hurdle for me, if hired?
- What do you expect to be the biggest challenge for the company this year?
"I do not have concerns related to the job, but I am wondering if you could share with me some details on the new product launch you mentioned earlier. I would like to do some research and come well-prepared for my next interview."
"I would like to know what you foresee as the biggest challenge I will face, in my first 90 days of employment? I would like to start off with strong footing and come prepared for my first day, challenges and all!"
"You mentioned a high rate of employee turnover. I have a great amount of experience working with companies that need an overhaul related to employee engagement but would like to know what situation I would be facing. Do you have numbers or stats to share?"
"It is not a concern but more of an inquiry. Could you share with me the average marketing budget that your clients are working with?"
"Brick and mortar retail stores have taken a bit of a hit since the increase in online shopping. Do you plan to introduce an e-commerce option? If so, what is your timeframe for that particular launch?"
"I am not concerned, but I would like to have further details on the struggles that the previous sales manager in this territory had. You mentioned that he did not remain in the role for long."
"I am hoping you could share with me the struggles that your district is facing this year? Be it budget cuts or staffing shortages; I would like to come prepared for all challenges in this role."
Some interviewers will ask this question in a more round-about way, and others are much more direct. The point of the inquiry is for the interviewer to understand the circumstances surrounding the exit. Perhaps you were terminated, left without notice, or relocated and could not stay. The interviewer also wants to know that your reason for exiting your role will not happen again with their organization.
You should always have a rehearsed statement that includes an honest and unique reason for every position on your resume. 'The role was no longer a fit' is NOT an answer that will fare well. Neither is a vague reply like, 'There was no room to grow.'
If you do not have a rehearsed answer, you are at risk for speaking too long, too much and saying something that you will regret later. It's amazing what might come out of your mouth when you are nervous! Keep your answer neutral, never speak poorly of anyone, and end your response on a positive note.
"I left my last job once our Director announced that he would be selling the company. I truly joined the organization to learn from him, which I was able to do for the past five years. I did leave without another position lined up only because I had not taken a vacation in almost three years. I spent the summer in Italy with my family and am now ready to enter the workforce again."
"My most recent company went through a merger this year, and unfortunately I fell victim in the third round of layoffs. I had obviously hoped to have made it through the layoff phase; however, I believe this layoff means that there is something bigger and better out there for me. I hope to find that great long-term opportunity with your esteemed organization."
"Jumping from position to position is certainly not my forte, so it was a very challenging decision to leave my role after just a few months, without a new one in the works. The owner of the agency itself was a very nice person; however, the way the company operated was simply not for me. I would get phone calls from clients at all hours and had zero balance when it came to my personal life. I did a gut-check and knew that I could not keep up the pace and maintain my values at the same time. I have picked up some freelance marketing work in the meantime to supplement my income."
"I left my previous position after a falling out with my Regional Director. She was terminating staff across the country, without reason, and not in compliance with HR policy and best practices. I decided that it was in my better interest to distance myself from the situation than to stay. I realize that I left without another job, but maintaining my integrity means everything to me."
"I left my most recent job because the company was in dire financial trouble - you may have seen it in the news. I decided to be packaged out rather than stay with the sinking ship. Since then I have done some travel and have put out a few applications; although I am very choosy where I end up next."
"Relocation is my reason for leaving my previous teaching job. My wife transferred here for work, and I did not want for us to travel back and forth every weekend. I finished out the school year, of course. I am new to this great city and am very excited about the opportunities present, as well as the chance to become a solid fixture in this community."
If the position in question requires travel, it will likely mention in the job posting. If you applied, knowing that some trips were needed, then - of course, you are okay with travel! But before blindly agreeing to any travel, you can ask the interviewer the percentage of travel expected in the role. Be sure to clarify day trips versus overnight travel. If you have limitations, this is the time to bring those up.
"I did see that there is some overnight travel in this role. Could you clarify for me what percent of the month I would spend on the road?"
"Although I have never traveled for work, I do not have any personal circumstances that would get in the way of the odd travel request. Could you share with me more details on these potential travel needs?"
"Currently, I manage two warehouses which require some day travel from me, twice per week. I am completely comfortable with travel for work. Could you provide me with more details on your travel needs such as locations, and amount of time spent on the road?"
"I have traveled for conferences and larger client meetings. As long as the requests are in enough notice to make personal arrangements, I am more than happy to accommodate. Could you give me an example of the average travel time for this role?"
"I am willing to travel, yes. I think it would be great to visit other locations and get to know your team across the state. Any additional details you have on the travel requirements would be helpful."
"As a seasoned sales professional, I refer to myself as a 'road warrior!' I am on the road, with overnight travel, about 60% of the time. With that said, I would like to cut back on that a touch. When your job posting mentioned about 40% overnight travel, I thought that was perfect."
"Teachers do not travel too often, so I certainly welcome the opportunity whether it's to assist when your athletic teams make nationals or to attend education-related conferences. Some notice is, of course, appreciated - but I will always do what it takes to succeed in this role."
The interviewer would like to know if you are planning to complete some higher education. If you are, it is essential that you express your desire to work in tandem with your classes. The concern of the interviewer is that you will be hired, trained, and then want to leave your job to go back to school full time.
Some organizations will offer tuition support or a reimbursement program for their employees who wish to continue their education. If they do provide this type of perk, you can indeed show interest but make sure that your continued education aspirations are related to the industry and job. If you are an accountant at a firm, you want to avoid saying that you would like to take courses in zoology.
"I believe that continued education is always a good idea. I like to expand my knowledge when possible. With that said, my job would always come first. I understand that you have a tuition reimbursement program for your employees seeking related coursework. I would be interested in learning more about this down the road."
"I like the idea of taking some coursework in Excel and Powerpoint; however, I have no plans to exit the workforce to gain another degree for instance. If other industry related opportunities present themselves, I would be interested."
"Continued education is important to remain knowledgeable and relevant in your industry. As a leader, I also encourage my team to expand their industry related education where they feel led. I would be interested in earning my PMP Certification at some point; however, that would have to be in tandem with work."
"Being in Marketing, we are lucky to have a multitude of options when it comes to continued education. I love improving my work-related knowledge. Does your company encourage the completion of any particular coursework?"
"I do not have specific plans to continue my education. However, I would not turn down an opportunity to expand my knowledge in retail. Perhaps down the road, I would enjoy taking some courses to help me ease into a retail management role with your company."
"In sales, it is important to stay on top of your industry. For that reason, I believe that related coursework is always beneficial. I have had my eye on obtaining my Executive MBA one day. Of course, I would obtain this over the course of a couple of years as I work full time. Does your company encourage continued education, or offer tuition reimbursement?"
"As a teacher, continued education is vital to remain up to date and effective in the classroom. I am very interested in continued education opportunities. My current district has a few opportunities for professional development throughout the year, in which I always participate. Could you tell me more about your professional development and continued education opportunities?"
6. How do you handle sick days? The interviewer would like to know how you handle things when you need to call in sick. Do you email, text, or completely ghost on your employer? Be brief in your answer and reassure the interviewer that you are not the type to call in sick frequently. You can also ask them what their preferred method of communication is, should you fall ill. Here is an answer example: "I have called in sick just a couple of days in the last year or so. My current employer prefers that I remain out of the office if contagious! Could you share with me your sick policy and preferences?" Here is an admin answer example: "Although I do not call in sick often, my current company does have a specific email related to sick days. We send a note explaining how many days we expect to be absent. This implementation was my idea because we have such a high volume of employees. Do you have a process in place for sick days and day-off requests?" Here is a manager answer example: "What are sick days?! All kidding aside, if I am going to be out for a day, I will call my supervisor directly to ensure the situation is straightened out. He takes on my workload when I am away so I will debrief him on any urgent matters." Here is a marketing answer example: "I perform much of my job on the laptop, so if I am under the weather, I will work from home to avoid getting anyone sick. It's a policy in my current office. Do you have a preference in these circumstances?" Here is a retail answer example: "We run a pretty tight ship in my current job when it comes to scheduling. I know that a sick day can throw a lot of things off balance, for much of my team. I do not like calling in sick. Even if under the weather I will still go in and make it through as much of the day as possible. What is your sick day policy?" Here is a sales answer example: "My company does not offer sick days; rather, we have PTO's which are Personal Time Off. If we need a PTO, we text or email the boss. The expectation is that we do not leave any clients or deals hanging, of course, but we have the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making responsible decisions. Do you offer PTO's or specific sick days?" Here is a teacher answer example: "According to our union, if we are sick, we need to make arrangements for our substitute. I like this policy because it keeps everyone honest when it comes to truly being out for a good reason. Do you have a similar policy here?"7. What is the toughest problem you've had to face? And how did you overcome it? The interviewer is looking for an example from your work history. Avoid giving a personal example, unless you can very clearly tie the story back into your career. You do not want to be overly long-winded here. State the problem, how you approached it, and what the result was. If you received any accolades for your ability to problem-solve, you could discuss that as well. Here is an answer example: "The toughest work problem that I have faced recently was when our business went all systems down in the middle of tax season. We had our IT department on the issue immediately, but the situation took a couple of days to fix completely. At tax time, two days behind feels like years. I overcame the issue by staying an extra three hours late for five days. This commitment ensured I was ahead of the game again. It was a stressful time indeed, but nothing a little extra effort could not repair." Here is an admin answer example: "The most challenging problem I have faced was when I accidentally deleted a significant amount of important files from my computer, due to mislabeling them. I told my boss immediately and was incredibly embarrassed about the situation. This level of mistake had never happened to me before! I owned up to the situation immediately which made it much easier for our tech team to recover the files. Rest assured, I know what I did wrong and take every possible step to ensure it never happens again." Here is a manager answer example: "The toughest issue I have had at work was with my previous company. Our regional director and my territory manager quit in the same week. The CEO asked me to split their workload with two other territory reps. Unprepared nor trained correctly, but I did the best that I could with the resources that I had. With my clients, I explained the situation professionally and asked them upfront for their patience as I learned my new role and responsibilities. Eventually, the positions became filled again and I was off the hook. It was a learning experience, in a pressure cooker environment!" Here is a marketing answer example: "Earlier in my career, I worked for a marketing director who I did not get along with at all. I am easy to get along with because I practice a mentality of 'kindness first.' This particular director took that as a weakness and tried to railroad me verbally on a daily basis. I had never experienced this type of treatment before, and have not since. I did give my notice to that position before my professional reputation or integrity took a hit. I am a loyal person, so the decision to leave was one of the most challenging of my career." Here is a retail answer example: "The toughest career challenge that I faced was when my previous organization went into receivership. I had to help with blowout sales and questions surrounding the retailers very public bankruptcy. Customers were calling in a panic regarding their gift cards, and employees were quitting every day. I had other organizations trying to poach me to work for them, but I decided to stick with my job until the very end. I am glad that I did because loyalty is important to me and I wanted to maintain a good reference." Here is a sales answer example: "The biggest challenge I faced in my career was breaking into the SaaS business. Software sales are incredibly challenging and competitive by nature. To prepare for an opportunity, and to make myself a competitive candidate, I took multiple specific software sales courses for an entire year. The knowledge I gained was immense, and my dedication paid off." Here is a teacher answer example: "The toughest challenge that I face, and I meet it on a regular basis, is lobbying for proper assistance and help in the classroom for students with learning disabilities. Public school budgets often do not allow for the great resources that are out there. To overcome this, I call to my community for help, lead fundraisers, and contact local non-profit agencies to ask how they can assist. The opportunities provided to my students through my added efforts have been vast."8. Was there a person in your career who really made a difference? This question is different than the 'Who is the biggest influencer in your life' because the interviewer is now referring to someone industry specific. Perhaps a manager took you under their wing at the beginning of your career. Maybe someone significant took a big chance on you and hired you for a job above your level of expertise. You may have even had someone senior to you breathe some words of affirmation that gave you a boost of confidence. If you are newer to your career, you can refer to a Professor who changed your thinking patterns, or a Career Advisor who steered you onto the right path. Here is an answer example: "My English professor mentored me for the first semester of my initial year in University. She saw big potential in me and helped to nurture that with helpful feedback, and many resource suggestions. She even sent me this job posting, saying that she thought I would be great for the role. This professor will be one of my references when we get to that step in the interview process." Here is an admin answer example: "In my first administrative role, I worked with a more senior administrator to make it her mission that I succeed. It was such a thrill to experience that level of camaraderie, and I aim to do the same favor for someone, junior to me when the opportunity presents itself." Here is a manager answer example: "A few years ago I worked with an incredible Director who made it his mission to groom me into a senior leadership role. He sent me to a multitude of leadership conferences and gave me books to read. The confidence he had in me was so uplifting and molded who I am, as a leader, today." Here is a marketing answer example: "My current Marketing Director has shaped my career in countless ways. She has helped me succeed with challenging clients and encouraged me in ways she may never even know. She is aware that I am interviewing today as we both agree that I am now ready for my next challenge." Here is a retail answer example: "It's pretty amazing what I can accomplish when I have my boss cheering me on! I have been lucky enough to have my entire career under the same leadership team. They have trained me well, and my sales coaching has been impeccable. I will be sad to leave them when the time comes but, at the same time, completely stoked for a new opportunity ahead." Here is a sales answer example: "I was not qualified for my first sales job, but the manager gave it to me anyway! He said that he liked my 'grit' in the interview. Of course, he didn't want to see me fail, so for the first year of my employment, he took me on as his project. Coaching me in sales, negotiations, and writing quotes, he took the time to ensure my communication was perfect. I will never forget how generous he was with his time. It provided the start that I needed to succeed." Here is a teacher answer example: "The teacher that I assisted during my practicum is one of my best friends, today! We hit it off so well when I was completing my hours with her, and I knew that she genuinely wanted to see me succeed. I asked her to be my industry mentor, and she agreed. We grew a great friendship from there."9. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year? The interviewer wants to know that you are interested in your industry, and career growth, enough to take your professional development into your own hands. Even if your current employer does not offer perks like industry conferences or tuition reimbursement, there is no reason why you cannot take the initiative.
- Read industry or career-related books
- Subscribe to relevant podcasts
- Enhance your education with an additional certificate
- Attend a conference related to your career or personal growth
- Teach yourself a new software program
- Read established journals and websites on a regular basis
- Find a mentor who is senior to you, in your particular industry or career path Here is an answer example: "This year, I committed to improving my knowledge by reading one book per month. I mapped out my twelve books ahead of time, including topics on my career, the industry, personal development, politics, history, and leadership. I would be happy to share the list with you if you'd like!" Here is an admin answer example: "It is important to me that I continue to grow as a professional administrator. This year I took an Advanced Excel course so that I could take my competency from intermediate to expert. The course has helped me immensely, and I am currently looking into an advanced PowerPoint class." Here is a manager answer example: "I subscribe to a variety of management related podcasts, which I listen to every morning on my commute to work. The list of podcasts that I listen to include Gary Vaynerchuk's 'Ask Gary Vee' Show, 'What Great Bosses Know,' with Jill Geisler, and 'Dose of Leadership' with Richard Rierson. The lessons I have learned from these industry pros are invaluable, and I love that I can commit my driving time to developing myself professionally and personally." Here is a marketing answer example: "My current agency does not have a budget for a lot of additional training, coursework, or professional development. For that reason, much of my added learning opportunities are self-led. This year I decided to teach myself more about PhotoShop, with the goal of becoming so good that I could upload my own YouTube videos one day. I would say that I am 3/4 of the way there. It's taken great dedication and patience; however, this is a skill that I am very excited to add to my professional repertoire." Here is a retail answer example: "The retail industry is always changing, and it's vital that I continue to gain knowledge, to keep up with the latest and greatest! I refer on a daily basis to a variety of retail-related journals and publications such as National Retail Federation's news releases, the Retail Wire forum, and the Retail Minded website." Here is a sales answer example: "There are many conferences available to professionals in software sales. Luckily my employer will pay for me to attend two per year but I have to make the case as to why they are relevant. This year I attended DreamForce, and in a few months, I will be attending Topo Sales Summit. I have met some great industry connections at these events and always come back feeling refreshed with new ideas to implement." Here is a teacher answer example: "To improve myself professionally this year, I took on a mentor. I have heard many times that having a mentor relationship is incredibly beneficial and now that I have taken this step, I could not agree more. My mentor is a professor who I greatly admired when I was in University. We meet for coffee once per month, and she gives me tips on becoming a better educator, and comes up with unique challenges for me to stretch myself professionally."10. How would you ultimately describe your work style? This question is not referring to your personality or character, but more towards your methodology when it comes to getting your work done. Talk to the interviewer about your day-to-day approach to projects, communicating with coworkers, or collaborating with clients.
Your work style might be:
- Flexible or Adaptive
- Team-based Here is an answer example: "I would describe my work style as highly team-based. I keep in mind that my pace, quality of work, and the outcome will always affect multiple people on my team. If I am unsure of the path to take on a project, I will consult with my team to ensure that my ideas align well with theirs." Here is an admin answer example: "I have a well-planned and highly mapped out working style. Before I leave work for the day, I ensure that my following day is good to go! I like to come to work in the morning feeling organized, and in control. Being an administrative assistant, this level of preparedness is always welcome by my employer." Here is a manager answer example: "You could describe my work style as highly collaborative. It's cheesy, but I do believe that there is no "I" in "team" and I lead my department with that mantra in mind. Everyone's roles matter and so I make decisions based on the good of the group, and never with only myself in mind." Here is a marketing answer example: "I describe my work style as speedy! My marketing director calls me "Speedy Gonzales" because I am the fastest content writer in all of Denver! Jokes aside, I deliver quick work and am always accurate." Here is a retail answer example: "I have an adaptive work style that changes based on the customers that I am serving at the time. I like to work with my customers' personalities and needs. If they are the no-nonsense, busy corporate type, then I speed up my work. If they are elderly and need more time, I slow down to explain everything they need to make a decision." Here is a sales answer example: "My work style is best described as independent. Once I understand the goal in mind, I am ready to take on all aspects of the project on my own. I take feedback well, of course. I am great with using the resources given to me to make deals happen." Here is a teacher answer example: "I am very focused on the overall picture when I am working. As an educator, I try not to become hung up on the tiny details, but rather the blanket success of a lesson plan, a student's general improvement, or the big picture result."11. Are you applying for other jobs? The interviewer is looking for answers to a few points when asking this question.
1. The company wants to know what kind of timeline is present before you are scooped up by another organization.
2. They want to know how discerning you are with your job applications.
3. They want to know the types of roles that interest you.
4. They want to hear that they are your top choice.
You can certainly discuss your search but avoid giving too many details. Give the interviewer enough to satisfy the question without revealing your entire search. Some mystery is okay here. Here is an answer example: "I recently started my search and had found some interesting job postings related to my accounting degree; however, your role is the position I am most enthusiastic about." Here is an admin answer example: "I have had my eye out for the right opportunity but am not applying to just any random administration position. Your role stood out to me because of the industry you are in as well as the additional responsibilities in social media management." Here is a manager answer example: "I am applying to other roles. It is important to me that I gain employment as soon as possible; however, I am using discernment when it comes to the interviews that I am accepting. I am very pleased with the opportunity to be here today and look forward to learning more about your position." Here is a marketing answer example: "Because I have just started my search, my applications are limited. However, there has been strong interest in my resume so far. I do have a couple of other interviews for next week. With that said, I am excited about your unique experience because you offer more face-to-face client interaction and the role is more project management focused." Here is a retail answer example: "As you know, there are a lot of retail positions open at the moment. I am choosy where my applications go as I need this next step to be a long-term opportunity. I fully believe you are the company that will mold me to succeed in my career, and gives me opportunities for advancement, as I prove myself, which is why I applied here." Here is a sales answer example: "I have not been actively seeking a new role but am passively looking at new opportunities that pop up on LinkedIn. Your posting was a recommended job, and it caught my eye. I have put out a few applications in the last while but am not pursuing anything that doesn't excite me." Here is a teacher answer example: "I am not applying for jobs on a regular basis. Your school is on my short list of schools that I would be thrilled to work for so when I saw your opportunity; I knew I had to give it my best shot! Thank you for having me here today."12. What is your philosophy towards work? How you view work, and your career, will be a huge factor for the interviewer when determining your fit with their organization. Just like a company will have a value and mission statement, so should you. Your philosophy can be a quote that resonates with you or a list of values that are important to you. Be sure that your belief aligns nicely with the goals of the interviewing company. Be brief. The interviewer is not looking for a dramatic monologue. Here is an answer example: "I am tenacious and an eager learner. My philosophy is that there is always room to learn and that mistakes are teaching opportunities, not failures." Here is an admin answer example: "My philosophy in life, and in work, is to treat others with respect at all times. It's pretty simple! I approach clients with kindness; I deliver my work when I say that I will, and I am an active listener." Here is a manager answer example: "I like to let my team dream, feel involved, and approach me with their ideas. You could say my work philosophy is one that allows for brainstorming and encourages the creative use of resources." Here is a marketing answer example: "My favorite quote by Aristotle is "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in work." This quote sums up my work philosophy perfectly." Here is a retail answer example: "I read your company's philosophy, and it very much aligns with my attitude towards my work. I want my customers to feel like we know each other and that our store is like home to them. Nobody is a stranger unless you treat them as such." Here is a sales answer example: "My philosophy is "Relationship above all else." If I have a stable relationship with my client, I can maximize my sales opportunity while also maximizing the ways they benefit from my products and services." Here is a teacher answer example: "Funny enough my inspiration for my work philosophy, as an educator, comes from George Clooney. He once said that "Failures are infinitely more instructive than successes." I have this saying posted in my classroom to encourage my students when they make mistakes. We all make mistakes, but it's whether we learn from them that is important."13. Do you know anyone who works for us? Did you know that people with a friend at work are 7x more likely to engage in their work fully? (Source: Forbes) The interviewer would like to see if a friend referred you to this position, a former co-worker, or an industry acquaintance. This question is another way of the interviewer asking where you heard about the role, and if you have any connections from within. The organization may also have employee referral programs. You can keep your answer brief and to the point. Here is an answer example: "I do not personally know anyone who works for your company; however, I am connected with a couple of your employees on LinkedIn due to common group interests. I look forward to getting to know your team!" Here is an admin answer example: "I am friends with a professional recruiter who recommend that I check out your company's job postings. She mentioned that you had an excellent reputation and that everyone she has placed with your company has seen long tenure." Here is a manager answer example: "My former manager now works for your company, although in a different department. His name is James Smith. He's a great guy! I would be happy to fill out any referral paperwork if you wish." Here is a marketing answer example: "The marketing industry is a tight-knit one, and I have worked with people who left their jobs to join your company. I was always a bit envious, to be honest - this seems like such an incredible place to be. When I first saw your job posting I was very excited to sit down and create my application!" Here is a retail answer example: "My best friend referred me to this job posting. She is the manager of your Mount Royal location, Jessica Smith. She has said some incredible things about your organization, all which prompted me to apply!" Here is a sales answer example: "I have worked for your competitor for many years and have become familiar with many of your sales agents, and clients, simply from industry relation. I cannot say that I am friends, per say, but I am familiar with a few of your employees." Here is a teacher answer example: "My sister is a teacher at your school - Jessica Smith. She has been with your district for twelve years now. I recently relocated to this area because I wanted to be closer to her. I guess this is as close as it gets! We have always had a wonderful relationship, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with her, and the rest of your team."14. Have you ever been asked to leave a position? Being asked to leave, step down, or flat out being terminated are all very rattling experiences. If you have been asked to leave a position, the worst thing to do it allow it to shake your confidence. Think of the circumstances surrounding your termination and turn them into a positive. Take responsibility for your part in the situation and then complete your response with what you learned. Keep your answer brief and avoid going on about how unfair it was, or how the employer will be 'sorry' they ever lost you. An interviewer will see a chip on your shoulder a mile away. Here is an answer example: "Earlier in my career, I did lose my job about two months into the role. The reason was that of cutbacks; however, if I am honest - I am not sure that I was meeting their expectations when it came to learning their SAP modules. After the experience, I took a couple of SAP-related courses to improve my skills. I quickly found gainful employment again, and this company is still a positive reference for me." Here is an admin answer example: "My very first job ended in termination because of transportation issues. I was admittedly late more than I needed to be. As a broke student with an unreliable car, I thought that reason for lateness was understandable, but it was not. Looking back, I should have been more proactive by taking city transportation or riding a bike to work! Of course, I am completely reliable now... the new car and all!" Here is a manager answer example: "A few years ago I chose to step down from a position after the company announced major cutbacks. The result would have been a layoff at some point, and I wanted to leave on a high note. I quickly found a new role and maintained a solid relationship with the company even afterward." Here is a marketing answer example: "Earlier in my marketing career, I had a significant client tell my marketing director that he did not like my work. The director panicked, wanting to keep her client, and decided to terminate me. In retrospect, I was in a bit over my head with a client that had such significant marketing spend. I do wish that the director would have used the feedback as an opportunity to mentor and coach me, but I do understand that is not everyone's approach. I took the experience as a learning opportunity and took another role with a smaller agency, shortly after." Here is a retail answer example: "I can get along with nearly everyone; however, I had one manager who was like oil to my water. We did not mesh, and despite my trying to hide my dislike for her personality, it remained pretty obvious. I was the junior associate in the role, so I resigned knowing that the personality clash was hard on the team. My termination likely would have been the result, had I stayed. The manager pulled rank, and I was smart enough to know that. There are no hard feelings there as I still met my quota and was beloved by our customers." Here is a sales answer example: "I took an incredibly cutthroat sales role, right out of University for which I was most definitely not ready! It was a door-to-door residential alarm sales position. Someone was fired weekly, for not hitting targets. I made it eight weeks which was a record at the time, as most associates didn't even make it past week three. When I look back at the experience, I chuckle and how panicked we all were to make a sale. It was an eye-opening experience that I will never regret having." Here is a teacher answer example: "As an educator, I have never been asked to leave a position, or even become close to termination. I did get fired from a paper delivery job when I was nine though! I may have cut some corners in my delivery to make it for Saturday morning cartoons! All kidding aside, I am a very loyal and respectful teacher and plan to bring my high standard of work with me to my next opportunity. I have solid references ready for you as well."15. Why should I hire you over my other top candidate? Oh goodness, this kind of question can get your heart pounding if you are not fully prepared to make your case. Think of some unique and stand-out qualities that will stay with the interviewer, long after your interview. This reply is not the time or place to say that you pay keen attention to detail. Choose a specific skill that is a 'must-have' for the role, or focus on a pain point that you can solve by being hired. Rely on your past achievements to back up your reply. Make the interviewer feel as though they will not succeed without you! Here is an answer example: "You should hire me over your other top candidate because, in addition to being an expert level user in the specific SAP module used here, I also have recognition specifically for the cost savings I have uncovered for my current company. You mentioned that you are concerned about overspending. I will ease that concern for you in the first 30 days." Here is an admin answer example: "I AM your top candidate, and your obvious choice because of my ability to streamline your calendar and find new vendors with better pricing, within the first couple of weeks of employment. I am well-versed in supporting C-suite executives and know exactly how to jump into this role with minimal training which means less downtime for you." Here is a manager answer example: "You mentioned today that the biggest pain-point for your business is currently the bulkiness of some of your processes. Streamlining process is my forte. This stand-out skill is one of the reasons why my current company promoted me to management faster than anyone in their organization's history. I look forward to delivering the same results to your organization." Here is a marketing answer example: "In addition to meeting all of the must-have's for your role I also have an active social media following full of clients and followers that I can bring to your agency. I am an active vlogger on YouTube and a budding social influencer on LinkedIn. These days, effective marketing is all about social proof, and I have that." Here is a retail answer example: "You should hire me over your top candidate because I have the data and numbers to back up my statements. I have been retail salesperson of the month for the past nine months straight. This award is measured not only by sales targets but also customer satisfaction reviews. I will elevate the level of customer service here which you mentioned is an urgent need." Here is a sales answer example: "Sales is all about competition, winning, and results. I have brought with you my numbers from the past twelve months so that you can see I mean it when I say that I can perform a hard close, I negotiate well, and my customers come back again and again. I am ready to prove myself here." Here is a teacher answer example: "You should choose me for this role because I am already an active figure in this community. My children went to your school, and I have even been on the parents' association here. I am a major proponent of community development and fundraising. I can encourage more parent participation and community involvement, which are two areas you mentioned you needed to develop."16. How did you hear about this position? The interviewer would like to know a bit about your job search methods. Primarily, this question is for them to discover how they are attracting top talent like yourself! Your reply can be brief. If someone in the organization referred you, you should disclose that as well so that the interviewer can make the connection and the employee can receive recognition if there is a referrals reward program in place. This question is another opportunity to express your interest and excitement for the role also. Here is an answer example: "I saw your position posted on LinkedIn. It came to me as a suggested job posting. Their matching algorithm is super accurate; I have to say! I am so happy that I came across your job posting. Thank you for having me here today." Here is an admin answer example: "I saw your job posting on Monster.com when searching for administrative assistant positions in the area. The wording of your job posting caught my eye as it's a blend of fun but also hit a lot of great keywords that made it a match." Here is a manager answer example: "I heard about your job through an industry connection of mine; you may know him, James Smith. He knows your company director who mentioned this role to him during an industry golf tournament. He prompted me to apply!" Here is a marketing answer example: "This industry is small, and I know a couple of your employees because I went to University with them! John Doe and Jane Doe. We hang out on weekends from time to time. When your company announced this opening, they sent me the link to apply." Here is a retail answer example: "I applied directly from your website. I have a keen interest in your organization and have auto-alerts set up for new positions in my city when they come up." Here is a sales answer example: "Your position was alerted to me on Zip Recruiter. It's the only website that I used because the postings are very accurate, and I can filter better than with most job boards." Here is a teacher answer example: "I heard about your role from my previous Principal. When I told him that I was relocating to New York, he did some digging and tipped me off to this role."17. How would your references describe you? You have likely given the interviewer a list of references already; however, if you have not, be sure to bring a list with you to your interview. You should provide the names of at least two people who can give you recommendations, preferably individuals to whom you have reported. If you do not have any work experience, you can also refer to professors, high-school teachers, a pastor, a mentor, or even the parent of a friend who may know you well and can provide a character reference. If you have volunteer work, you can point the reference towards that experience as well.
Some ways that your references may describe you:
- Accepting of feedback
- Results-driven Here is an answer example: "In my references list, I have included my three most recent managers. I believe they would all describe me as highly-driven, commission motivated, and willing to help. I put a lot of effort into teamwork, ensuring that my teammates feel supported while we work together to achieve a common goal." Here is an admin answer example: "My references would describe me as accountable, and willing to take feedback. When I first started as an executive assistant, I had a lot to learn, and truly wanted to make an impact for the company. For that reason, I became a sponge when it came to gaining new skills, and gathering information. I ask if I do not know the answer, or take the time to research it myself. Also, if I make a mistake, I own up to it and learn from the situation." Here is a manager answer example: "My references would describe me as entirely reliable, results-driven, and focused on company goals. I have some wonderful references who will attest to my dedicated personality and character in the workplace. It is important to me that I act as a solid mentor and example to the team members that I lead." Here is a marketing answer example: "I am best described as creative, collaborative, and unique. I love to present new ideas to my team during brainstorm sessions. When a new client comes in and is open-minded with their marketing strategy, I have a great time thinking up ways for our team to take the best of our individual skills and create a mind-blowing campaign." Here is a retail answer example: "When you call my references they will let you know that I am punctual and reliable. I am the one they ask to cover a shift when someone cancels at the last minute or falls ill. I have no trouble offering overtime or staying late to ensure all of the new stock is received. I certainly emulate all the qualities of a team player and engaged team member." Here is a sales answer example: "If you call my references, they will let you know that I am competitive, self-motivated, and outgoing. I am unafraid to make cold calls, and I will not take the first 'no' as a final answer from a potential client. I like to win so if there is a sales contest present, I will push myself extra hard to win it. This extra push may mean working overtime hours, adding more cold calls per day, or following up more diligently than expected with prospective clients." Here is a teacher answer example: "My references will describe me as reliable, honest, and curious. I am curious in the sense that I love to dig deeper into an idea, conduct a great amount of research when an important question arises, and I love to read. I have not missed a day of work this year, and have never been late. I am agreeable but honest, meaning if I do not agree with something, I will ask questions until it makes sense to me. If I feel a new policy is not good for my students, I will speak up professionally and respectfully, to let my leadership know how I feel."
Writers for Direct Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 02/09/2011 Last modified on: 02/13/2019
About Our Interview Questions
Our interview questions are created by writers, almost all of which, have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates.
They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with companies, careers, or schools, in which they may write for on MockQuestions.com.
We do, however, strive to match their background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website.
Our careers, companies, industries, and schools may have duplicate interview questions and answers found elsewhere on our website.
Specifically, our companies and our graduate school interviews.
For these two, we use the industry in which we believe the company most well-represents and the graduate programs, as the basis for the interview questions and answers that generate for each company or school.
The intent of MockQuestions.com is for our users to build confidence for their job interview, by using our thousands of interview questions and answers as they practice and prepare for their interview.
We believe, most of our visitors can become more likely to succeed in their job interview with hard-work and practice. We believe, the key to success is for our users to rehearse with our interview questions while using our answer examples as an idea generator for their own interview answers.
We strongly want to discourage users from memorizing our answer examples.
That is not the purpose of our website.