Part of the fun that life brings is that we can daydream about crazy goals that we want to achieve. Everyone has a wild dream some sort. Think about goals that you have set that you know are a bit out-there. You can have some fun with this answer to make yourself memorable; however, if possible, bring your answer back around and relate it to the position for which you are interviewing. Some near impossible goals may be: - To run an ultra-marathon in another country - To win a world record of some sort - To train yourself to run a sub 6-minute mile - To enter and win a bodybuilding competition - To complete five Masters' degrees before you retire - To travel the entire world - To go on, and win the show Survivor - To create zero waste for one year - To go to space - To become a millionaire Many of these examples, as you can see, are goals that you can likely achieve with some serious dedication, drive, and a solid plan. Show the interviewer that you believe in yourself and can create a strategy to get you there. Now you have set the stage to bring in a lofty work-related goal.
"I like to dream big and would say that my biggest goal at the moment is to enter and win my first bodybuilding competition. I realize that winning in unlikely; however, I love the idea of putting that much dedication into my health and bettering myself. I have already hired a personal trainer who will help me get there. As you can see, I am not afraid to take steps towards the seemingly impossible. I plan to be your highest producing sales professional in the next 30 days and will bring the same dedication to you as I bring to my personal goals."
"I am a major researcher and total geek when it comes to education. I have set a goal to complete five Master's degrees before I retire. Continued learning is a passion of mine and, although it seems forever away, I am consistently chipping away at my goal. I take one correspondence course at a time so that I can reach my goal in tandem with working full-time. This goal will help me greatly when it comes to my knowledge and skill set as an administrator. Being highly educated will only help me in this role with your organization."
"One near impossible goal I have set for myself is to go to space one day. I am a major space enthusiast. I often bring fun facts from my space research into the workplace. Recently I did a presentation to my staff discussing the dedication required of an astronaut long before they ever get to the actual launch phase. The lessons of an astronaut can apply to any workplace. You need to dedicate yourself to training, personal betterment, and prepare yourself for a multitude of trial and error situations. If you remain focused, you will get there, and the reward will be like nothing else."
"This goal may seem impossible now, but I know deep down it is not entirely impossible. I have a dream of being a regular contributor to Forbes. I know that my marketing knowledge is vast, and my outlook is a refreshing one that people will enjoy taking in. Being noticed in this space can be challenging; however, I am looking into more networking events that will introduce me to the right people. I have also taken a variety of writing courses to improve the quality of my articles. Once I reach this goal, it will be great exposure for your business as well! You will have a Forbes writer on staff!"
"I would love to have my own successful fashion line one day. As you can see, I have a major penchant for fashion and design. This passion leads me to do an incredible amount of reading and research on the latest fashion trends. Because of this goal, I fully immerse myself in the fashion industry. This interest of mine will have an incredibly positive impact on my in-store performance with your brand."
"I have found that running is not only a sport but that every run is a lesson in mental agility. I have set the goal to run a sub 6-minute mile by the year 2020. While I am running, my head is clear, I am in stealth concentration mode, and I focus solely on my goal. Interesting enough, this uber concentration has helped me in my sales immensely. I have a new found focus at work."
"I have set the goal to spend my summers traveling to new countries, and I want to have traveled the entire world by the time I am 50 years old. This goal means that I will need to travel to eight countries per summer, giving me approximately one week in each country for July and August. This goal is a major challenge, but I am excited about the knowledge I will be able to bring back to my students every September!"
This question is another "Tell me your greatest weakness," but in a clever disguise! Your answer can have a twist of humor to it if that fits your personality, but be sure to bring yourself back to reality and discuss how you are working to improve this weakness. Make sure that your example is not one that would make you ineligible for the role. For instance, you do not want to say that you are painfully shy if you are interviewing for a sales position. Here are some examples that you could use: - Mathematics - Delegation - Spontaneity - Public Speaking - Software (non-core programs) - Perfectionism - Providing feedback
"Tell me your greatest weakness,"
"One weakness that I am currently working on is my ability to delegate overflow work to others. I would rather stay late to complete a project than potentially inconvenience someone by asking for help. I know it seems silly to not ask for help, which is why I am consciously working on this. Last week I passed a few A/P entries to our junior clerk. She was appreciative of the fact that I trusted her to do a good job, which made me feel great in return. It's a work in progress, but I am getting there!"
"Not raised in a highly technical generation, if I had to choose a weakness, I would say that my understanding of cloud-based software is something that may humor you. Initially, I thought that information was just 'out there.' Like a cloud! One of my more tech-savvy team players took the time to explain the concept to me, and I have a much better understanding now. It's much more secure than I initially thought and I am teaching myself to trust the cloud now fully!"
"I am not a strong public speaker, and this is a weakness that I would like to improve. Because so much of my work is performed online, and behind a computer screen, I have not needed to develop my public speaking skills. I find myself watching Ted Talks and being a little bit envious of the skills these speakers have. I am currently looking into Toastmasters clubs in my area to help me develop this skill."
"I am a perfectionist who has, in the past, slowed down my work a little bit. I should have been a merchandiser. You will never see a jean display so perfect! My current boss recently gave me the helpful feedback that there are some things I just need to move on from such as the perfect fold every time. I like my store to look tidy and neat, but I was going overboard. Now that I received the feedback, my perfectionism is very much under control."
"I must admit that math is not my strong suit. I tried so hard in school but it just never quite came to me. Of course, I am fine with basic math concepts, but once you throw algebra or calculus in there, I am an absolute mess! I found a great YouTube channel that teaches these concepts, and I have had some fun with those recently. All in all, I am happy to be blessed with the gift of sales to offset my poor math skills!"
"If I had to choose a weakness I would say that spontaneity is my biggest hurdle. As a teacher of young children, I love to be organized, ready for anything, and prepared with plan A, B, and C! The thought of throwing out a lesson plan and just going with the flow makes me panic a bit. I am working on incorporating more off-the-cuff lessons in my day and know that the more years of teaching experience I have, the easier this will come to me."
The interviewer would like to understand the types of tasks that you, without a doubt, do not enjoy doing. This question is closely related to the "Tell me your greatest weakness" question because it is human nature to dislike doing the things which we are not skilled. Ensure that your answer is deeper than "Taking out the garbage." The interviewer needs to gain real insight into you. Be sure to wrap up your answer by reiterating your ability and willingness to be a team player and perform these tasks despite your dislike for them. Here are some tasks that you may not enjoy doing: - Full inventory counts - Organizing the file room - Getting coffee and lunch for the office - Making photocopies or sending faxes - Taking on responsibilities for which you are not adequately trained - Heavy lifting - Terminating employees - Explaining benefits packages - Training temporary employees
"Tell me your greatest weakness"
"Organizing the file room is one task that I admittedly dread in my current role. The fact that the file room quickly becomes a dumping ground for files drives me crazy! I will try to visit the file room on a daily basis now, at the end of each day, so that the task does not become too overwhelming."
"Many managers will attest to this - firing an employee has to be the most dreaded task of all when you are in a leadership role. I grow to care about my employees and never enjoy seeing someone fail. For that reason, I choose to coach as often as possible. However, some people simply are not coachable. When I do need to terminate someone, I do so with utmost empathy."
"As the marketing director, I am often onboarding new creatives into the agency. We do not have an HR department, so it is up to me to ensure the hiring package is properly filled out, and that the new employee understands their health benefits. I don't know about you, but I find health benefits packages to be so convoluted and confusing that I dread trying to explain the ins and outs of it all. I have made an infographic manual to help me explain some of the concepts!"
"Monthly inventory counts were a task in my recent role that I did not always appreciate. This dislike was not because I do not understand the importance of regular inventory checks but because the corporate head office would want them submitted every Saturday by 7 PM Eastern Time. We are located in Pacific Time, three hours behind. This time difference meant that we needed to submit a full store inventory on a Saturday, at 4 PM- our peak traffic time! It did not make sense, but corporate refused to flex. It made my job very stressful those days."
"In my most recent position, I dreaded compiling the quarterly scorecard. As the sales manager I was very busy with a multitude of tasks which, in addition to, I was only given two days from month end to check the accuracy of thousands of transactions and key in manual entries. My department had the most KPIs to track so it would have been nice to have been offered an assistant during that time. It was tight deadline every time."
"If I could pick one dreaded task, I would say it's operating the photocopier. As funny as it sounds - I swear, it does not like me. Our administrator usually takes on the task for me when I need manuals copied or faxes sent. I much prefer being in the classroom teaching a lesson plan. I will do the work in a pinch, of course."
The interviewer would like to know how you view your coworkers. Your answer should show the interviewer that you appreciate others, respect their skills, are excited about their input, and are willing to implement their ideas. Give an example of a time when you welcomed collaboration from a coworker.
"I assume that everyone is just as capable as I am until they prove me different. I always hope my coworker ends up being MORE capable than I am because I embrace opportunities to learn from those around me."
"I am not one to jump in, unsolicited, to help out a coworker with their workload. I like to believe that everyone is capable of doing the job that they have, without my help. Once they ask, I am more than willing to lend a hand."
"I only hire those that I know are very capable of working as a team, and autonomously. I train my staff so well that I know I could be unexpectedly away for a day and they would not skip a beat."
"Collaboration in a creative setting is vital, and not an option. If I assumed that my coworkers were incapable, I would be railroaded pretty quickly. Our environment is one that gives everyone the opportunity to shine in their particular area, which I greatly appreciate."
"I have asked my coworkers for help many times when it comes to troubleshooting the POS system or making sense of the latest planogram from head office. I assume that my coworkers are more capable than I am in some areas, and perhaps less in others. This balance is what makes teamwork so important."
"My team of salespeople is full of those more capable than I am in some ways, and I am more capable than they are in others. We have a great balance that I, and our customers, appreciate. I am certainly not one to take advantage of my team and assume that I am more capable than they are."
"My students are incredibly capable. Many teachers underestimate the abilities of their students, but not me! These whippersnappers are incredible with technology these days - it amazes me! As far as my colleagues go, everyone is highly educated and capable. I am happy to work with such a talented faculty."
Hiring authorities are very focused on numbers, percentages, and results. Chances are if you are in for an interview, you highlighted a few successes on your resume that the hiring manager could not resist. Take the time to walk the interviewer through your proudest accomplishment. Extra points if you can include some concrete numbers when discussing the results of your actions.
"My greatest accomplishment in my current position was when I delivered a perfect inventory count for the first time in company history! The business has been around for seven years, and they have never seen a completely perfect inventory count. I implemented a new system and software which attributed to the success. Normally, our count was off by about 8%, but I managed to bring that number to zero."
"There was a lot of disorganization in the accounts receivable department when I first joined, and the outstanding client accounts were unbelievable! I got to work right away, issuing past-due invoices and sending pre-collection notices to accounts past 90 days arrears. In just 90 days I was able to recover almost $60,000 for the company. The business owner was thrilled!"
"Since joining my company in 2015, staff retention has improved by a whopping 30%. I attribute this success to my managerial style which is hands-on with an open door policy. I encourage participation in meetings by asking for their ideas on our operational standards which everyone seems to appreciate."
"One fact that I am very proud of is that I have grown our department by $2M since becoming the head of marketing. These results are due to my ability to introduce new clients to the business. In addition to marketing, my business development skills are also on point."
"After being promoted to the assistant manager, we have seen a great improvement in productivity and sales have increased by at least 5% month over month. I believe this is because I am more hands-on with training and our new hires come onto the floor with better customer service skills."
"I won President's Club last year and was the highest in my entire company, out of 159 sales representatives, when it came to new territory growth and upselling ratios. My sales target for the year was $1.5M, and I finished at $2.2. I am incredibly proud of this achievement. I worked so hard, and many hours of overtime to get there. My reward was a company paid vacation to Mexico!"
"My greatest accomplishment this year was helping a student with a learning disability pass his grade when everyone thought that he would not. We spend extra time after class for the last half of the year, and I gave him special assignments with small tweaks to account for his challenges. Events like these are hands-down the most important of my teaching career."
The interviewer is checking to see if you keep up to date on industry related news and trends. Briefly discuss the ways that you keep up to date on your specific industry. This question also offers you an excellent opportunity to ask the interviewer how they like to keep up to date on industry trends. Perhaps you can learn about a helpful new resource.
"I often listen to accounting-related podcasts, as unexciting as that may sound! My personal favorite is 'Accounting Best Practices' with Steve Bragg. It's on iTunes if you are interested. He covers best practices for acquisitions, investor relations, payroll, and more. I have found it to be beneficial. Do you have any favorite resources you would like to share?"
"I guess the latest was the recent political drama, but that is unrelated to anything here. I do follow the news, but I don't get too wrapped up in things that do not directly affect me. I prefer to spend my time on developing my professional skills like taking Excel courses and customer service workshops."
"Because I love to read, I often take the time to read the latest and greatest books related to management, organizational structure, and productivity. The book I am currently reading is 'Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity," by David Allen. He discusses focusing more on relaxation and creating a fun work environment for your employees. He claims that in this environment, employees will be more responsive and will end up getting more done in a day. Have you read this book?"
"The latest piece of marketing news I have read was a free download from Izea.com, and it was a LinkedIn content marketing guide. Many marketers feel that LinkedIn is a dated tool; however, I recently learned some amazing stats on how LinkedIn is a major player in B2B selling. Do you have any recommended reading for me?"
"I try to stay away from the typical news as I find it depressing. So, to get my news on the latest and greatest tech gadgets, I subscribe to a few blogs as well as Google alerts. My favorite blog at the moment is 'Electronics Hub,' and it comes to my inbox nearly every day. It's quite educational, and the website also offers free project ideas geared around electronics, circuits, and tools. How do you prefer to keep up to date on the news related to our industry?"
"I get a lot of information from all over the place, but always reputable sources. The latest article on software sales related news that I read was a fantastic article on Forbes. The article was referring to the "Three Fewer Potato Chips" approach to software sales. Have you heard of this approach? The idea is that in SaaS you do not need all the new tools to be the best, but you do need to know how to ask better questions and be fanatical about your product. I highly recommend this article."
"This week it has been all over the news how our state spends a lot more funds than most when it comes to boosting enrollment in post-secondary technical education. I found this fascinating and wondered why. It turns out that our state is trying to make a play for us to be seen as a great investment for high-tech industries to plant their head offices. I love to have a beat on the happenings in the education industry so if you have recommendations on news sources I would love to hear about them."
There may be positions listed on your resume that do not appear to be a fit. It is up to you to draw the connection between that role, and the one for which you are interviewing. This question is where a solid understanding of your transferable skills comes in. Make a list of transferable skills that you can refer to in your interview and be sure that they are skills that the hiring authority will find interesting, helpful, and related to this role. Here are some examples of transferable skills: - Leadership experience - Delegation and prioritization of tasks - Research and analytics - Customer service - Memorization - Budget management or cash handling - Scheduling staff or services - Written skills such as RFP's or technical writing - Giving presentations or public speaking - Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) - Industry related software and programs - Negotiations and agreements - Training new employees
"While home health care does not directly correlate to being flight attendant, the basic traits of customer service, effective communication, concern for the health of others, and patience are highly transferable skills."
"The bulk of my experience has been volunteer work; however, much of the work was administration related. At the animal shelter, I was in charge of the animal intake process which meant that I needed to log all of the health data and other information of the animals who were either rescued or surrendered. I then entered this information in the proprietary software, took photos of the animal, uploaded them onto the website with a nice write up that would draw in public. These tasks are very similar to what you need here which is someone organized, great with technology, and able to see a project to completion."
"Although I am applying for your management position within a manufacturing environment, I believe that my experience in management within logistics is still very much relatable. I have experience in an environment with a fast-moving product, where safety is a major focus, and staff turnover is high. I can navigate an environment like yours seamlessly."
"Although my work has primarily been in sales, there are a large number of transferable skills between this role and my most recent. I have a solid ability to narrow down a customers' needs by asking the right questions. I will be able to gain their commitment to projects by showing them the need. Also, I come from an industry with a long sales process which means that I will have the patience to work on creative projects with a long delivery timeline."
"My previous experience as a makeup artist brought me many skills that will relate to this retail sales position in your electronics store. I am well-versed in customer service, asking open-ended discovery questions that lead to a sale, as well as experience in cash transactions. As a makeup artist, I needed to be aware of all the features and benefits of the product I was using which required a great deal of research and memorization. I am well prepared for a position more heavily based on commissioned sales and customer interaction."
"Working as a server and being a sales associate are two very similar roles in many ways. As a server, customer service was always in the forefront. I was encouraged to remember names and to develop a rapport with the guests in my section quickly. Romanticizing the menu, and upselling items like new cocktails or dessert was a huge component to my success as a server. I know how to upsell and understand the importance of product knowledge. I needed to know the entire menu in and out including potential food allergens and available substitutions. My memorization skills are on point."
"Although the majority of my experience in education is in the public sector I know that I will seamlessly transition it private education because of my exposure to continuous parent communication, community involvement, and my diverse experience with both in-class and hands-on field trip training. I am accustomed to much larger class sizes which means I will be prepared to give your students my utmost undivided attention."
The interviewer would like to see a genuine interest in their industry. The more in-depth your interest, the more likely that you are going to be the long-term fit the employer is hoping you will be. Discuss what initially drew you into this industry, and what keeps you there. You can talk about a recent news event related to the industry that you find fascinating. Or, perhaps the company itself came out with an innovation that you cannot wait to discuss. Whatever your example, be sure to show enthusiasm and a desire to learn more.
"What fascinates me about public accounting is its complexity yet the fact that every single business and person in the modern world needs some aspect of it. Public accounting is a recession-proof business."
"As an administrative assistant, I can learn a great deal about the fundamentals of business, and in a wide range of industries. For instance, in my twelve-year career, I have worked for a downhole drilling company, an insurance company, and an automotive sales organization. My understanding of these industries is now vast. I have a broad understanding of multiple industries, and few careers can offer that type of perk."
"What fascinates me about production management is that no one person has the same skill set, the same personality, or the same needs in the workplace in spite of having the same end goal. I love to get to know my team and their career desires and interests. We can work together to one common goal yet have very few other things in common. The diversity that I come across in this industry is incredible."
"What fascinates me about a career in marketing is that we can all play to our unique strengths and, rather than seeming like we are not team players, it's something that is encouraged. In my current team, we have marketers who are simply better at some things than others. Rather than pushing us to all be great at the same things, we can offer up our unique strengths and utilize them to make every project great."
"I am fascinated by how quickly trends change in this industry, what determines new trends, and how the turn-around happens so seamlessly. I am a huge fan of statistics and data analysis so I could read about these types of industry happenings all day. Manufacturing methodologies are also a big interest of mine."
"A career in sales is fascinating to me because the challenge is never over. There are always new clients to acquire, new products to sell, and more commissions to being earned. I am a highly competitive person, primarily with my self, and being in sales - I never run out of opportunities to motivate myself or aim higher."
"What fascinates me about being in Education is that it truly is a never-ending professional development opportunity. I love research and learning and am paid to do so! I can attend workshops and try new classroom strategies, explore new skills, and implement ideas all while being applauded for doing so. I am so pleased to be a teacher and couldn't imagine doing anything else."
This question is exploring your motivations aside from your day to day work. It is a personal question; however, you should still keep your answer work-related if possible. Think to a time when you were not working or when you did not feel the pressure of a full-time career and income. What were you enjoying the most? Perhaps you would travel, volunteer, become a philanthropist, or follow a passion.
"I enjoy working and would never want to feel idle so for that reason if I never worked another day I would spend my time volunteering for a cause close to my heart such as children's cancer. I would arrange fundraisers and spend time at the local children's hospital."
"If I ever worked another day, I would spend my time volunteering. There are many worthy causes that I would be thrilled to give my time to."
"In my spare time, I enjoy research and do a lot of reading. If I never worked another day, I would start the project of putting my management knowledge together into a series of training manuals for new managers. I think my knowledge and experience could help a lot of people newer to their careers."
"I have a true passion for social media. If I never worked another day, I would turn myself into a full-time social media blogger! These Instagram celebrities spend their days on photo shoots with chartered jets and designer clothes. I mean, how fun is that?"
"I just started my career so, that's a tough question to answer. I am just getting started! If I won the lottery, for instance, and did not have to worry about making an income, I would write a book and try to become a New York Times bestselling author. My first topic of choice would be the evolution of fashion trends and how they have impacted our culture."
"Sales is in my blood! If I did not need to work and spent my days focused solely on an interest of mine, it would still be sales related. Perhaps I would start a charity or gather donations from businesses to take with me to impoverished countries. Whatever I chose to do I know it would still require my stellar negotiation skills."
"I genuinely enjoy being a teacher because I get to help mold our future! If I never had to work a day in my life and didn't need to earn an income, I would get into politics. This focus would be an excellent way for me to influence much-needed change for the public school system."
This question is a two-part inquiry where the interviewer first wants to see how you speak about your most recent manager. The second part is that the interviewer wants to know how to motivate you on the job best. Be sure to always speak highly of your previous boss, no matter the situation. Even if you did not appreciate their management style, this is the time to dig deep and think of at least one positive.
"My last manager had an open door policy which was refreshing. She encouraged questions and new ideas. I appreciated her management style because it instilled confidence in me."
"My last manager liked to laugh and joke around which made the day seem lighter even if we were stressed out. We were serious when required and had pressing deadlines, but she tried to focus on the lighter side for the most part. This light-hearted attitude always kept us motivated."
"My last manager was tough when it was required and gave kudos when it was deserved. It was a tough love type of relationship. It helped guide me to become self-motivated. I did not need to wait for feedback from him to keep going on a day to day basis. Also, as a manager, I now know that consistent feedback is important for my team members."
"My last manager was one of the greatest creative minds I have ever worked for. I learned so much and was motivated to come to work every day. When I am in an environment of constant learning, where things do not become stale, I stay incredibly engaged."
"I was motivated by my previous manager through opportunities for earning bonus' and in-store credits. She knew how to make us competitive but still keep the competition friendly. It was a fun environment, and I was sad to see her go when a competitor poached her."
"In my most recent role, I spent a lot of time working on the road, so I did not see my manager all too often. She kept me motivated through words of encouragement and openly recognizing any wins, big or small that I experienced along the way. She was also very quick to provide positive customer feedback which I enjoyed."
"The principal whom I now work for is quite hands off and allows a lot of independence in the classroom. I like this because it shows me that she has an appreciation and trust for my teaching methods. I am best motivated when I know that I have the room to work with my ideas and vision for my students' learning."
Everyone finds distractions in the workplace, and the interviewer would like to know what yours may be. Avoid saying that you do not get distracted. As laser-focused as you may be, you are still human and will get distracted. Be honest with what distracts you in the workplace but also offer up a solution by discussing how you best avoid that particular distraction.
"I think we are all distracted by our phones now and then and I am no exception to the rule. To overcome this distraction in the workplace, I keep my cell phone in my desk drawer on silent. Anyone who knows me knows to call my desk phone when they need me, or in case of an emergency."
"Because I sit at the front desk, I face many interruptions during my day. We have an open-office layout which also doesn't help much either. I will send signals to my team when I need to concentrate such as sending out an email to let the team know that I have a deadline to hit by a certain time. Luckily most of my office mates are respectful and consider those deadlines."
"My dog passed away earlier this year. I took one day off to sort things about, but I was still quite distracted for another day or two. My pup had been my best friend for quite some time. I made some small mistakes in some reporting, but my team knew my situation and were very understanding. I am not easily distracted, but that event was an exception."
"Emails! Emails can be so distracting and time-consuming. For that reason, I have started to shut my computer screen off during times when I need to gather my creative mojo. It helps tremendously to block time specifically for emails. I am much more productive that way."
"I get distracted by clutter. I feel that a store should be tidy, and items should be easy to find. At times I have found myself so engrossed in merchandising that I do not get to my other tasks until later than I would like. Now, I set a particular time for myself, for instance, I will give myself 10 minutes to fix the front displays, and when that time is up, I need to move on."
"In my current position, we have meetings to have meetings, to have more meetings. I do often find these more distracting than I do helpful. I fully understand the need for meetings but perhaps not two or three per day. These often interrupt my flow and then I end up working a lot of overtime."
"The classroom can get a bit noisy which is a distraction for myself, and other students who are trying to concentrate. To combat this, I have incorporated quiet time with prizes for students who are the quietest during the week. This downtime is great for the students and also helps me to get some marking in while the kids read."
The interviewer is looking for an honest take on your coworker relationships. Be sure to incorporate some unique keywords that will make your answer stand out. Assuming that other candidates will describe themselves as friendly, with considerable attention to detail, what clever describing words can you come up with? Here are some fresh options to choose from: - Adaptable - Courteous - Diligent - Exuberant - Intuitive - Persistent - Resourceful - Sincere - Unassuming - Witty
"My coworkers would say that I am diligent and resourceful. I won't stop until I find an answer or innovation in every situation. I will use my creative thinking skills to come up with solutions and often see options that others do not."
"As a manager, and a person in general, my coworkers would describe me as unassuming and intuitive. I know what my team needs before they voice the need and I do not manage in a way that makes anyone feel inferior or afraid. I am talented but do not need to announce this or demand respect."
"My resourcefulness and exuberance are the two traits that my coworkers would comment on the most. I am not the type of marketer to just throw money at a situation. I dive deep into the research and use my creative mind to create successful strategies. I have a lot of energy at work and hope this exuberance rubs off on them even on the toughest of days."
"My coworkers and I get along very well. I believe the first thing they would comment on is my level of sincerity with the team and with my customers. I am honest about my feelings but keep the feelings of others top of mind when delivering feedback, for example."
"I am adaptable to any situation. My coworkers comment on this quite often because I have an uncanny ability to fit in with any type of client in any setting. I am a great salesperson to bring with you to meetings because of my ability to warm up a room."
"My sincerity and persistence with my students are the traits that my colleagues would speak to the most. I adore my students and truly care about their success. I encourage genuine conversation and never allow a student to speak poorly about themselves."
It's time to get real with the interviewer! If you say that a customer or client has never annoyed you, you will appear as insincere. Give an honest example of a time when your nerves were a bit rattled or you just wanted to step away from a situation. There is no need to speak poorly of anyone but do focus on what you did to overcome your feelings of frustration. Highlight how you remained professional.
"I cannot control the behavior of others, so I will, at times, come across a client who does not understand the work process and under-values what I do. Those types of situations annoy me because I feel slightly unappreciated. I then take the time to remind myself that I am a well educated, seasoned professional who delivers outstanding work."
"I recently had someone accidentally call our office four times in a row looking for a different business. The first time they called, it was fine. The second time, I gave them the correct number they needed. By the third time, I honestly thought it was my husband prank calling me or something. By the fourth call, I asked the person if they were okay because they sounded disoriented. It turns out it was a senior man who was confused. I ended up making a three-way call on his behalf, to direct him where he needed to go. It always feels better to help someone versus getting upset with them."
"I recently had a vendor pretend that they did not receive my order rather than just admit they dropped the ball. I have read receipts on all of my emails, so I know that he was not truthful. Rather than call him out on it and start an argument, I simply let him know that I had every faith in him that he would deliver my expectations. This approach made him want to work hard to prove me right, rather than wrong. It worked beautifully."
"I have had clients in the past who change their direction when a project is nearing completion. This type of event can be more than annoying, especially when the changes are things we recommend early on, only to be rejected. I have learned just to smile and nod, and deliver exactly what the client wants. I am hired to deliver expectations and never want to fall short of that."
"Everyone gets annoyed from time to time. I once had a customer that did not understand how to find out how many miles her car had been driven. I tried walking her through it several times on the phone. At one point I thought it was a practical joke, but it wasn't. I ended up suggesting that she stop by the shop so that I could show her in person. That worked out better. She realized later how silly it was and we had a bit of a chuckle together. It wasn't worth getting upset over, and she appreciated my patience for the situation."
"I had a client who insisted on a discount for absolutely everything. Even the most minute of services. Rather than get frustrated with him, I started to beat him to the punch. I would say "Hey, we have a great offer just for you" and he would perk up. The discounts were small, but he was from a culture where bartering was par for the course with anything. I needed to respect his culture, so this was a great workaround."
"I face many challenging situations with parents on a daily basis. It can be difficult to work with a parent who believes their child is perfect, for instance. When a situation like this occurs I allow the parent to lead the conversation; however, I will ask them 'In what ways would you like to see your child's performance improve?' It's similar to the adage, 'Lead a horse to water.' I want to ensure that we are all on the same page so by having the parent feel they are leading the conversation, it's often helpful and eliminates feelings of frustration or annoyance."
If you have formal work evaluations, discuss how often these evaluations occur and what topics need addressing. Interviewers often want to know how your performance is evaluated so be sure to give as much information as possible surrounding your targets, KPI's, and goals. Everyone will receive negative feedback now and then, and it's okay to discuss this, just make sure to wrap up your answer on a positive note.
"My last work evaluation was about three weeks ago. Our company holds evaluations every three months, and the premise of the evaluation is to discuss our percentage to goal as well as any general performance feedback. In my most recent evaluation, my supervisor asked that I be a touch more careful when it came to my documentation and coding. I made a couple of errors that were not damaging, however, a bit messy. For the most part, my boss has great things to say about my willingness to take on extra work and help out my coworkers when their workload becomes overwhelming."
"We are evaluated every year in December before year-end arrives. I received a positive review overall. My area to improve was meeting deadlines for the cross-functional teams. Those were the side projects assigned to me outside my normal duties. I overshot the scope of work with my regular deadlines and unfortunately, missed another. The positive feedback is that I am willing to work overtime when needed and take accountability for my work."
"I am evaluated on a quarterly basis with the primary KPI's being productivity, employee retention, and safety. I did have an accident on the floor last month which was a point of discussion in my last performance evaluation. Luckily, that particular employee had all of their updated safety certifications, so I did not need to worry about falling short on due diligence. The most common compliment that I receive in my evaluations is that I am a dynamic leader with employee retention being the lowest its been in eight years. I am very proud of that fact."
"Our office does not perform regular work evaluations as much as we have huddles nearly every day. In these informal meetings, we discuss what we could have done better the day before, and what we were proud of. This method keeps me accountable for my everyday work. Most often I try to work on my ability to change directions when a client requests it. I often receive compliments on my unique thought process and ability to bring an idea to life for a client."
"As the retail manager, I am evaluated on my performance as well as my staff's performance. These performance evaluations are on a weekly basis and focus on sales, returns, and customer response. I am most proud of the fact that I have a 100% customer satisfaction feedback rate. One area I am to work on with my team is increasing sales mid-week versus relying on the weekend shoppers to carry our targets for the week."
"Informally, I am evaluated on a daily basis. Formally. I am evaluated twice per years. In my informal evaluations, my regional sales director will comment on my percentage to target and close ratio. I am always above expectations. One area for me to work on would be to increase my amount of cold calls to build a stronger pipe down the road."
"I am evaluated on a quarterly basis. This evaluation schedule is the schedule I have always followed, as a teacher. Our evaluations are based on classroom observations, primarily. My principal also takes samples of my student's work and my lesson plans. The one piece of feedback that I received this past performance was that I needed to update my Spanish curriculum to include new terms related to current events. I receive consistently positive feedback on my students' performance as well as their level of engagement in the classroom."
The interviewer would like to see that you can respond professionally to unsolicited feedback and pivot your approach when needed. It is one thing to take the input but a whole other to show that you can implement the suggestion if required. Sometimes unsolicited feedback will not be helpful. In these instances, they may come from a catty, miserable, or jealous co-worker. What do you do then? Assure the interviewer that you are capable of letting this type of situation slide without it affecting your entire day.
"When I receive unsolicited feedback I will take a step back an assess whether I believe the person had my best interest in mind. If the answer is yes, they intend to help me; I will approach them and ask for them to elaborate and perhaps suggest a way for me to implement change. If the answer is no, they are only trying to hinder my performance; I go about my day."
"I have had coworkers offer advice on filing protocols, to-do list management, and the like. This unsolicited feedback primarily comes after they have gone to a training class and want to share new ideas or tips, so I am happy to listen."
"I have worked with a diverse range of people who have varying expectations from their manager. One piece of unsolicited feedback that I will never forget is when one of my employees commented that I did not care about their personal life. This situation happened early in my career when I was so focused on die-hard professionalism and HR policy that I was too afraid to even ask someone how their weekend was! Of course, I have since relaxed and still keep that feedback in mind. It made me try harder when it came to forging genuine relationships with my staff."
"Being a marketing professional, I get unsolicited feedback from clients and my team on a daily basis. Without feedback, random suggestions for improvements, and brainstorming - I wouldn't be where I am today in my marketing career. I will take all feedback that I get, muddle it over, and take the great nuggets from it to improve my performance."
"As a retail customer representative in a fashion environment, I get unsolicited feedback from customers on an hourly basis! Goodness - if I took it all to heart, I would be a mess. I have been told to grow out my bangs, I have been told to smile more, and one person even said I would be so much prettier if I lost a few pounds. Luckily I am a very confident person and do not let the unsolicited feedback phase me. If I receive feedback from a customer that is helpful. For instance, they suggest that we carry a wider range of sizes - that is something I can work with! I will then pass along the suggestion to head office."
"I have very thick skin, so if I do receive unsolicited feedback, I can take it with a grain of salt. Customers will complain about our set pricing, the color of our packaging - really, anything you could think of. Now, if on a whim, my boss recommends that I have a better organizational system, I will take that to heart and take a good hard look at my organizational methodology. I am always open to change and workplace improvements."
"I work with kids who have no verbal filters so; unsolicited feedback comes my way on a daily basis. Some of it is funny, and some of it can be a bit hurtful. All in all, I am very confident in my abilities and can discern when feedback is given out of care for my success and professional improvement."
The interviewer wants to see that you have researched their company and their industry. By understanding the industry trends, you will better understand the immediate needs of the organization. Perform some online research and look for industry related news articles. On the company website they may mention up and coming products and services, or perhaps they will mention upcoming trends in the company blog. Utilize those pieces of information and refer to them when answering this question.
"One of the major trends I have seen happening in the manufacturing industry this year is still manufacturing power by advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence. This entire Industry 4.0 concept that everyone is talking about, meaning we are in our 4th industrial revolution, is fascinating. Would you agree?"
"One specific trend that I have seen within the business administration sector is an increased interest in the cloud, and cloud computing. Many businesses are adopting cloud computing because it can streamline business operations, project management. Not to mention the information backup options as well. Do you rely on any cloud services here?"
"As a manager, I see many trends come and go; however, one that seems to be sticking around for good is remote working. More employers are accommodating a work-from-home workforce or even hiring employees in different countries who can work remote, and in a different time zone, to increase efficiency. I suppose it's much easier to do now that we all have cloud capabilities, mobile devices, and other ways to easily collaborate."
"I see that you wrote a blog post about this not too long ago, and I wanted to discuss this with you as well since it's so fascinating. You discussed activity-based working and the benefits it has on the creativity of your employees. I have worked in open-office environments before but nothing as immersive as this. I understand that it's all the rage to no longer have assigned workspaces; rather task-focused workspaces where employees can bounce around. I believe in this trend and would love to hear more about it and how it's working for you."
"I follow the Shopify blog which often has great articles on retail selling and industry trends. Just the other day I was reading up on some retail predictions for 2018. One point the article made was that 'retail apocalypse' is a term that is certainly over. The article states that over 40% of brands are still opening new stores and retail sales have been on the rise every month this year. Do you agree there is an increased interest in brick-and-mortar retail?"
"One major trend that I have seen in the sales industry is the rise of social selling. I recently read that over 70% of sales professionals who use social selling outperform their peers. This method is here to sell as well. I have used Instagram and Facebook ads which are geotargeted to draw in more leads and gain a stronger pipeline. How do you feel about social selling?"
"Education often sees trends turn, some great and others not so wonderful. One trend that I have my eye on this year is STEM. This acronym is referring the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The idea of STEM is to build interest in these areas beginning in elementary school and implementing strategies that promote these subjects. How do you feel about this?"
The interviewer wants to know how you go about motivating your coworkers and encouraging a productive work environment. You need to show the hiring authority that you have an interest in adding to their workplace culture versus being an employee who is dragged down when morale is low. Give a recent example of a time when you motivated someone to keep going!
"Last month we had a very stringent deadline, and it felt as though we were not going to reach it. I quickly stopped at the bakery next door, bought a bunch of specialty pastries and encouraged everyone to take a minute, enjoy the treat, get a little sugar high, and pump out the rest of our work. This approach worked! Everyone took a much-needed breather, and the break gave us all a second wind."
"As an administrative assistant, at the front desk, I would not say that I get a lot of opportunities to motivate others as my work is very independent. With that said, I am a wonderful encourager inside and outside of the workplace. It feels great to motivate someone, and I certainly appreciate it when other people take the time to motivate me in return."
"I enjoy sparking a little friendly competition among my team members every once in a while. It is good to see people get moving about and focused on something different than the regular day to day routine. For instance, this week, I held a safety competition. If the team could reach the end of the week without any injury to themselves or product in the warehouse, they would all get a $25 Visa Gift Card. The motivation worked beautifully!"
"My current team is a good blend of self-motivated professionals and others who could use a little more encouragement. For those who need it, I will dish out compliments on their work more often. Genuine compliments of course! Some people need a little more of a pat on the back, and that is fine with me."
"In my current role, we have high sales targets, so it's easy to become demotivated if your week starts off slow. I am sure to remind my coworkers of their best sales weeks, and what they did to get there. Sometimes a quick reminder of their past successes can make all the difference."
"Of course, I love motivating those around me! In my current position, we are a crew of high performing sales professionals, but that is not to say that we don't need an extra push now and then. This motivation usually comes in the form of friendly competition. For instance, to see who can make the most cold calls in the week or who can gain the most referrals. Whoever wins gets free drinks at our next get together."
"Motivating others is the core of what I do as an educator. My students depend on me to inspire and motivate them. I take every opportunity to do so because it makes me feel like I am doing my job as a teacher, and it benefits my students wholly."