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What is the toughest problem you've had to face? And how did you overcome it?

This question has been answered 18 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

Advice
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.

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."
Bacteriologist answer example
"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I chatted with her one day at lunch, and she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."
Basic 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."
Court Clerk answer example
"My biggest challenge as a court clerk was learning all of the legal jargon. It's endless! I spent many hours studying, working weekends, and taking additional coursework so that I could come to work confidently in my knowledge."
Elementary Teacher answer example
"I had a violent student who would lash out at students and staff. I had to be very patient with him and I had to remain very calm when dealing with him because I knew that, if he saw my stress or any sign of aggression, he would lash out even more. I overcame the problem by showing him compassion."
Loan Officer answer example
"Think back through your career thus far. If you are a more recent graduate, include your schooling too. What is the hardest day you have faced? What challenge kept you up at night? What problem took the most amount of time to solve? The answers to these questions will help lead you to the toughest problem you have faced. Begin by sharing a high-level overview of the problem. The interviewer is most concerned with how you overcame the problem, so go more into depth with how you worked through the problem. Be sure to mention how long it took you to overcome the problem, and share that you never let the problem get the best of you. A positive attitude is key! Finally, mention what you learned from that experience and what you would do differently if a similar problem occurred again in the future."
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!"
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."
Millwright answer example
"One roadblock I recently encountered was when I was tasked to replace defective parts on one of the lathes only to find out that the particular part was on backorder with our supplier. I was able to track one down online and had our supplier purchase it on our behalf and then ship it. It was a longer work-around than I would have liked but it got the job done."
Physical Therapist answer example
"The most difficult problem I faced this week was working with my schedule to get two walk-in appointments in between scheduled patients. I made a point to explain to the walk-ins that I would do my best to get them in but they may have to wait a bit. The fact that I was up front with the possibility that they could wait made them understand why they had to wait a bit longer than normal."
Private Tutor answer example
"Think back through your career thus far. If you are a more recent graduate, include your schooling too. What is the hardest day you have faced? What challenge kept you up at night? What problem took the most amount of time to solve? The answers to these questions will help lead you to the toughest problem you have faced. Begin by sharing a high-level overview of the problem. The interviewer is most concerned with how you overcame the problem, so go more into depth with how you worked through the problem. Be sure to mention how long it took you to overcome the problem, and share that you never let the problem get the best of you. A positive attitude is key! Finally, mention what you learned from that experience and what you would do differently if a similar problem occurred again in the future."
Proofreaders and Copy Markers answer example
"Truthfully, no professional obstacles or major challenges come to mind. I believe my high degree of meticulousness, as well as my other skills and educational/professional qualifications ensured negative or significantly challenging situations would rarely occur."
Recreational Therapists answer example
"Overcoming challenges shows you have perseverance and determination. It shows you can accomplish goals even in the midst of trying circumstances. Having a hard time thinking of a good example? You have accomplished a lot more than you realize! Think about the obstacles and challenges you have gotten through in order to make it to where you are! Maybe you took on a tough course load your first year in college. Or maybe you were asked to give your first presentation with little time to prepare. Once you identify the challenge, talk about what you did to overcome it. Focus on the lengths you took to make sure you finished your semester strong or how you researched and practiced to make sure you nailed the presentation. Remember, there's no right or wrong answer. Simply give an example that shows off your skills and instills confidence that you will continue to overcome obstacles in the future!"
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."
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."
Teacher answer example
"The toughest struggle I faced in high school was my chemistry class. No matter how hard I worked, I always got a B or a C on my tests and assignments. When my classmates studied for 40 minutes, I studied for 4 hours. I gave myself a lot of pressure. I decided to reach out to one of my good friends who was a chemistry whizz and asked her to tutor me after school for every assignment, ever day for an entire semester. I really stuck to it. At the end of the semester, I ended up with an A- and I was happy. It was the toughest semester but I learned to never give up."
Ticket Agent answer example
"A big challenge I have had to overcome was when working as a/an (X position title) for (X company). I was responsible for (X duties) and one day I (X example of a big challenge). I nevertheless remained calm, collected and professional and did not let this situation affect my performance."
Warehouse Supervisor answer example
"Supervising employees can come with all sorts of challenging situations! Have you ever had to let someone go for theft? Have you ever had an emotionally challenging situation such as an employee passing away outside of work or a life-threatening illness? Have you ever had an employee who did not understand right from wrong? These all make solid examples for this question. Begin by telling the interviewer a high-level overview of your scenario. The key is explaining how you worked through the scenario to make the best of the situation. Explain what steps you took to work through the problem and how that scenario helped you become a better supervisor. "

View user-submitted Answers

What is the toughest problem you've had to face? And how did you overcome it?
1.
Losing the data in a system crash and had a deadline to meet. Had to work around the clock to restore and get back the data and finish the project on time.
2.
Friends will not co-operate with the work, its highly irritating. Just be patience and had tolerance. Slowly cope up with them and complete the work.
3.
Well the toughest decisions that I had to make was leaving my job that I was employed at for seven months I left behind my colleagues and friends but I learned how to cope with this lost by keeping in touch with my co- workers.
4.
The toughest problem I had to face was when the time the computer crashed right at month end. Instead of the inital response of panicking I contacted my IT department to see if I could retrieve the material somehow. After about 35 minutes the result was successful once the power came back on and the system had an autosave..
5.
I had to face myself and improve who I was as a person. It is easy to overcome challenges and obstacles at work because there is always help available but facing your own demons is an entirely different situation all together. I am not the person I once was. I am more mature. I am more patient, I am and a better person. Once I fixed myself, with help of a support network, I am confident I am able to face any problem and overcome it.
6.
Dealing with a customer who was in love with me. I had to remain professional in the execution of my job.
7.
Working through the consistent changes in bank of america has been tough. I have learned to just adapt to the changes and meet the expectations in place.
8.
The recession of 2008. As you know, it was tough to get financing and leasing was totally eliminated for 2 years. I made it through by what I did when times were really good, by providing great service to my customers. Although financing was very tough, they knew that I could and would go the extra mile to meet their needs in an automobile.
9.
Not really had any trouble yet. Will look forward to it.
10.
Dealing with a customer who was madly in love me, I had to handle her proffessionaly in respect to the rule and regulations of the company.
11.
Is finance problem during study in university I try to build good relation ship with different collie so be easy for me to get help during my recession period.
12.
I had a plan to start business because I have been working environment for over a decades. This business like retailer shops and wholesalers then I found it is not easy as I thinking. So I need to improve more and learning more as professional manner.
13.
Having to finish my first degree, it was quit a challenge but god being so good I manage to get my self a job.
14.
One of the toughest problems I faced was working at Kohls during christmas season and having a women yell at me about her purchase that I rang through already because she was on the phone and did not give me the coupon. I had to tell her let me call my boss to see if we can void out the purchase start over and use the coupon.
15.
Miss understanding with a busyness partner. I had to have a discussion with the partner and explain the issue and the solution.
16.
The toughest problem I had to face was scheduling a patient for 3 different types of therapies for 3 days per week for a month and riding a bus.
17.
The toughest problem I had to face to date Is work on a shift basis and going to school at the same time, I had to be well organized and strategic in my planning in order to make both work and school worked and that I did. I graduated with honors and got a double increment.
18.
Losing my mother. I overcame it with time and prayer. This relates to all issues in life and work as patience and hardwork will get you through any obstacle.
19.
My husband in mexico, I am still working on it but what has helped me is trying to better myself.
20.
Giving out a loan without security. Be befriended the client and he paid.
21.
During my attachment I was assigned to work as an acting supervisor monitoring the stock control activities.My work involved working with senior people and also the general workers who had little technical know-how of the job.I had to be patient demonstrating what was required of the job and keep attention to the work that they where doing.As for those who where older than me I strengthened myself to uphold the morals of the organisation that age and work are two different things . I would even assign work to those who looked older than me.
22.
Reduce in sales. I plan stages in increasing sales, including promotion, advertisements and interesting pakages.
23.
I had to deal with an irate client who was not paying his loan and he attempted to physically hurt me while we were discussing his non payment. I calmly told him that the matter could be dealt with without any altercations by maintaining the professional as well as cordial relationship that we have always had. Then I quickly excused myself and informed my manager and had the client speak to him.
24.
I called problems challenges. The toughest challenge I have had to face was to go through school with little financial support and I still managed to graduate as top 5% in my class.
25.
I've had to overcome many obstacles in my life. The toughest situation in the work place was an unmanageable classroom, etc, etc,
26.
Absolutely I would say the toughest challenge I had to face was being engaged with school and life in general during the first couple years of high school. Luckily the administration at Gunn asked me to leave, and the one on one style of teaching appealed to both me and my parents as a tool to keep me engaged during class. Luckily, I blossomed and became a huge fan of learning and knowledge, leading to me being a philosophy major at Occidental and generally spending my time trying to cultivate my mind.
27.
When customers upset.. Talk.
28.
My toughest problem was preparing for GRE in 3 months. I put myself in deep, studying. I studied for 8-20 hours in the day.
29.
I cant think of any considering my teaching work, but I had one in my educational career, I coludnt manage to pass my master degree and in still in the middle of it, the same was with my bachelor degree but I finally manage, I told myself that I had to d it I had to suceed to prove not to everyone but to myself that its important and that I can do it!
30.
In MS and solve by spending lot of time on it.
31.
CAPA for systemic problem with label management. Involved updating/clarifying procedure, retraining of warehouse and production staff, reinforcing importance of checks and balances and constant monitoring to ensure standards are maintained.
32.
The toughest problem I've had to face was making the transition from being a medical student to becoming a doctor and helping people in real life situations. I overcame it by developing a close relationship with both my peers and my mentors and by constantly practicing and honing my skills.
33.
In my last position, I was training a sales team member in procedures and common phone manners. She was very organised, but lacked in being able to have a sales "conversation" with the clients - it just did not flow. These things are difficult to teach, especially because she spoke in the same manner with me, meaning that it was a personality trait. My supervisor had a particular way that he wanted our team to speak with clients and so we needed to practice. Unfortunately, it was just not "her" to speak like that and she valued professionalism above "fun" phone manners. In the end, we were able to use this to her advantage. Together we practiced positive words instead, which was one of the issues. She began to understand that how one uses words is highly important. Thereafter, she sounded happier on the phone because she knew how to express it through the words she was using, but maintained her professional manner.
34.
Young learn with a short attention span. I am still working on it.
35.
It was while I was working with a very mixed level students at the migrant shool in Athens. I did not work with a textbook; I used activities from books and modified them and then monitored students closely while they were working on them.
36.
I had to prepare a dyslectic student for university entrance exams-I focused on his oral performance by improving his confidence.
37.
It would probably have to be losing my brother my freshman year of college. It was just before school started and I was still dealing with the death. I had to write a paper and present my paper to the entire class. The paper was about the person that influenced and inspired us the most. I decided that as difficult as it would be to talk about, I wanted to share my experience to see whether it could help others. Maybe someone else was dealing with the same thing. So I ultimately decided to share it with the class and do the presentation.
38.
When I arrived at Texas A and M, I knew what I wanted to do in life and I chose my major accordingly. However, soon after that, I realized that I didn't know what I wanted to do and I felt lost. For days and even weeks, I considered my major. All I knew is that I wanted to do something that I loved. My major wasn't right for me. As I moved forward, I considered French as a major. I discussed it with an advisor and she explained to me where I could go from there. This led me to study abroad and eventually graduate with French as my major and Communications and English as minors. This left me able to pursue a career that involved many people and that I know I will truly enjoy.
39.
I have faced lot of challenges in my organisation like customers being rude, irritated to us. I have faced the challenge by being polite the Customer, Apologies for the inconvenience, being calm etc. Overall It has given me a good experience how to interact with annoyed customers. The only way to overcome challenges is to face them.
40.
There is no toughest problem and easiest problem .. Once you got some problem it does not matter .. Whether you over come it or not .. We should face it.. Everyday I am facing my boss... Every week end I am overcoming it ....
41.
A problem is said to be tough only when it is not understood. Problem is not tough if it is understood. The key point in software is understanding, once done problem is over.
42.
I think I did not take up that situation still in my life.
43.
Tell something about past experience, like some critical work how you handle and manage well.
44.
The problem is not neither toughest nor easiest, problem is a problem. Daily I am bearing my boss which is the toughest problem and over coming by co-operating with him and working with him.
45.
Problem is a problem, we need to face it, there is no tough tougher or toughest.
46.
Cofiguring mail server. I have overcome it by patiently learning the mail server setup and by doing on trail and error basis to find best approach to setup mail server.
47.
I had faced problem when I worked in a first project. I had tried to understand the flow of the project. And how to start, but I asked my colleage and I followed them and I gave some time to the project.
48.
If I face any problem I will have a discussion with my senior person and take there advice and follow them.
49.
There is no toughest problem, only problem. If we got the solution just it because easier for next time, else prolem still.
50.
Export Excel from web application with pound cost it show in different format and junk values are adding in front of pound cost. i am encoding the cost column values and get from class library.
51.
I do my work 100% so I easily handled the toughest problems.
52.
Well I am sorry to describe that previously I was faced most difficulties at the time of getting any reports but I believe I have strong communication skill by which convinced all those related people who helped me get those reports to produce the best result.
53.
Its really important to face problem in daily activities.
54.
In the previous concern, the dealer has not credited the money for payment and due to absence of my immediate superior, I was handle the bank statement and without knowing that another order released to that dealer. Next my superior asked regarding this issue. I personally informed the dealer that the payment not reached by tomorrow. Maybe dealership right can be cancelled by company according to their company policy. Again I remind that dealer regarding this payment and make them to pay a part of the current and previous invoice.
55.
Failure in class 12 board exam & then rebuilt my weak points by attaining highest marks in B. Tech & Pgdm.
56.
Its when I was asked to go to banagalore from delhi in my last company. Initially I was hesitant to go so far from north India but then I gave a thought to the coming opportunity and accepted it.
57.
Whether it is tough or smooth, I have to face the problem and has to make the right decision in hard time also when I am having. So I should be more flexible in the practical life and making the decision as soon as possible in correct manner.
58.
Transition from undergrad student in India to a grad student in the US. Initially I tried to collect a lot of information about each and every thing before doing anything. Tried to keep in mind the various differences before doing a particular task.
59.
Sprint deliverable estimation. Explained clearly why we need more time.
60.
Used my problem solving skills to resolve the customer issue.
61.
Whatever the problem is only way to beat it is to make a note of my weakness and overcome them making them as my strengths.
62.
So many I have taken hellp of sernior mangers.
63.
When customers think that we dont add value. Only way to overcome is Prove the value addition.
64.
Sprint project delivery estimation and clearly explained why we need more time.
65.
Self Management is the toughest problem I face Bringing discipline.
66.
Handling multiple engagement. Handling hard headed staff.
67.
I did not pass my licensure examination. I was really down and depressed but I help myself up because no one can help me but myself.
68.
Making Sales compensation accessible anywhere and anytime. Created a mobile app with Responsive web design.
69.
Built a unique solution to provide unique value for a unique issue.
70.
Item design for retail company.Change Matrix Item Design and Prepare custom Financial Report and Inventory Availability Report.
71.
.SET-OFF OF A/P AND A/R and Prepare Item Design for Retail company.
72.
In my opinion life is a set of challenges that you have to face every day. The main question is how do you face it. It is very important to face them with a positive attitude and learn from them. My toughest problem was after moving to the US. It was very difficult for me to immerse in the local culture and transitioning to a fast-paced life. Hence, I took some time to adjust to the new environment and new people. I started by making more friends and focusing on achieving my career goals. It took me a good 3 months and now I ready to adapt to any new places.
73.
The toughest problem that I had to face is a business unit team member refusing to be in compliance with federal regulations. Upon research and verification of this non-compliance I reported this issue to the ethics line.
74.
Working with unusually stressed manager and I put in extra work to assist and keep stress level down by setting deadlines and managing time to provide a efficient work flow.
75.
When my nucor guy wasnt really helping me out in the tundish yard I went to the lead man and said something about it and it got fixed immediately now we work great as a team.
76.
Once my designed machine creating problem while operation. And I did, nt get any fault. But I make my mind I tried for a day and then I got a solution and I implement it to operate it nicely.
77.
I don't see a toughest problem, because I have had many issues and concerns and problems in my life and setbacks, but now that I have overcome them, I don't see them as problems but as lessons of life.
78.
Completing a project in 1 week. I did that with complete dedication.
79.
Being asked to reduce inventory to lower than recommended levels.
80.
Being stuck between a rock and a hard place the summer the new lab leadership took over. People were trying to pull me different ways and I had to think really hard before I acted to maintain lab diplomacy.
81.
When given a failing project, I was able to sort out thing and make it work.
82.
Enforcing safety rules which no one agreed with. Stood firm it is my job to enforce rules and be strong.
83.
Grandmother passing. I learned to love life, and go after things I wanted and to work hard for my dreams.
84.
There was a situation that I have not had any experience regarding the import procedure documentation. I have solved it by asking other experts.
85.
When my grand mother died my dad was the one who was crying like a baby, so at that time being the eldest son I have to make him feel warm and make the situation better by calming him down and move on with what had happend.
86.
During telecom project, dere was a shortage of material. At that time I prioritised the requirement and acted accordingly.
87.
Memory lose for which I keep revising my work.
88.
To deal with an very angry customer. I solved it with proficiency and calmness.
89.
The toughest problem was when I my Agent was called a racist. I had to come in and tell my passenger that I do not tolerate this behavior and he has to apologize to my Agent!
90.
Product acceptance.AIDA. Attention, interest, desire and action. No matter how much buyer is disoriented, value proposition, technology, after sales service support. Track record of good sales governance brings customer to our doorstep.
91.
Customers and dealer complaints regarding the spare parts quality is the main issue which came across. A thorough quality check will avoid such complaints and returning.
92.
It would probebly be my education backround, I studied mechanics but I always work in business.
93.
Work under stress, when everything is important and has to be done immediately. Just be calm and do step by step, in order to be calm I attend fitness club and practise yoga.
94.
Yes I had faced many challenges in my life. But I challenged myself to solve that. And I take is as a opportunity to learn skills and new things. In my thought challenge is the most important thing in each and every one life.
95.
Yes I had faced many challenges in my life. But I challenged myself to solve that. And I take is as a opportunity to learn skills and new things. In my thought challenge is the most important thing in each and every one life.
96.
In my opinion every work have toughest problem but we should have patients and sloving skill.
97.
Folder level search in alfresco, through investigating some cmis lib.
98.
My toughest jobs are updating out side data in alfresco machine and mail sending to other people,I over come through forums and support from my lead.
99.
When I was asked to write webscripts in an alfresco project as I was new to the technology, but the very 1st day was given a task with no prior knowledge of alfresco I started and learnt a lot on the job.
100.
Dealing with lazy staff and dealing with tight deadlines.
101.
A client was injured in a foreign country and I was asked to help them deal with the Insurance issues. I used my contacts, and researched information and sent to them by fax and email. They were successful at filing a claim and the injured client was treated and medivac back to BC.

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