Being experienced, and in a senior role means that you will face significant dilemmas in your career that could potentially affect many employees or the company as a whole.
Some crisis you may have faced could include:
- The bankruptcy of your organization
- Major Layoffs
- Significant budget cuts
- Negative Press
- A major product recall
- Cybersecurity hacks
- Natural disasters
- Senior level misconduct
Give an overview of the situation, ensuring that you do not breach any NDA or confidentiality agreements surrounding the issue. Highlight the part that you played in recovering from the crisis and your overall attitude and mentality through the situation.
"In a previous company, when I was the VP, our President and CEO was publicly accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. Our board went into action mode immediately asking him to step down until the investigation was complete. I was acting President, taking on his responsibilities in the meantime. Our responsibilities were quite fluid and intertwined already so taking on his workload was not the issue. The challenge was not commenting on the situation as it seemed everyone I came across wanted to know. I maintained confidentiality and did not speak about the situation until given the green-light by our legal team."
"My current organization began major layoffs about six months ago. I have made it past three rounds so far, but am unsure of the future. Being an executive member of the administration team, I must remain positive at all times. I encourage our more junior administrators and take the opportunity to coach them to help improve their work performance, hopefully increasing their chance of keeping their job. For myself, I am actively searching, but quietly. I am seeking a stable opportunity where I know my job is safe."
"I was a club manager at a high-end yacht club in Hong Kong when the SARS crisis began. It was an incredibly challenging time for our club members in a panic and tourism dropping nearly 85% overnight. I worked closely with the Marketing Director of the club, and we put out a public statement outlining the actions that we were taking to ensure the safety of our club members and tourists. The release improved our situation, and we were able to break even at least until the crisis was over."
"I was part of an agency that went bankrupt in the middle of some major campaigns. The chaos was something I had never experienced before. There were multitudes of angry clients and unpaid bills. I quickly found a new agency to work for, and they agreed to take on the clients from the dissolved agency, at a discounted service rate. I successfully brought over 45% of the accounts that I had prior."
"I worked for Company ABC when our systems were hacked, resulting in the exposure of over 1 million customer credit card numbers. I traveled from store-to-store, putting out fires, as I was the regional manager at the time. It was pure chaos with employees quitting, customers showing up to demand if they were exposed, and even the local news showing up. I coped by following the direction of our hired PR agency, to a tee. Luckily I made it through in one piece!"
"We had a major airbag recall when I was the Sales Director for Company XYZ. The damage control was something that I have never experienced before, and hope never to experience again. Luckily I had some strong Marketing and PR departments to rely upon through the crisis. I followed their lead, and the recommendations from our legal team of course."
"Last year our district had significant budget cuts. These cuts meant that we were no longer eligible for a pay raise, we experienced the skimming of our benefits package, had zero budget for classroom materials and the inability to attend professional development courses. Luckily, our parent community and the city were incredibly passionate, and they helped us to raise enough funds to help with the cost of new materials and in-class technology. It was truly heartwarming to see what could happen when the community came together."
"My colleagues will tell you that I am a team player and that I am someone they feel comfortable coming to when they need an extra hand or someone to talk to."
"I think one of my biggest weaknesses is that I can get sidetracked easily. I recognize that in myself and have made a conscious effort to plan my day as much as possible and to stay on target."