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Tell me about a time when you led a difficult project. What was the outcome?

1 of 30 Leadership Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on August 5th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

The interviewer wants to know that you have successfully led a team, under pressure, without succumbing to the stress. Choose an example that is easy to explain. Outline to the interviewer how you kept the project in line with your excellent time management, and precise communication skills. Be sure to highlight the projects most significant successes as well!

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"I recently led my team of researchers and recruiters in a retained search for a very high-level talent acquisition project. This project was a difficult one because the client wanted a boutique experience with particular candidate requirements. I asked my team to send me a project highlight at the end of the day, every day. From there, I would review the progress and tweak our plan of action, as necessary. In the end, the positions filled successfully, and our client was appreciative of the close eye our team kept on their hiring needs."

Answer example

"The first project that comes to mind was a new product launch. I was on the team to develop and test the prototype. Coordinating design engineers, test engineers, and production, sales and marketing were difficult. We made it to the finish just in time to meet the deadline."

Answer example

"I believe that to be successful on a difficult project, a good leader will always be prepared to critique their plan of action, and pivot when necessary. I had to exercise this when our company acquired a small competitor, and our team size grew by 35% overnight. It was a challenge to shuffle around responsibilities successfully, but I made it happen!"

Answer example

"The most difficult team project I've taken the lead on would have to be when we migrated our site from WooCommerce to Shopify. It was a big undertaking since we redid the entire layout in tandem, and it required a lot of collaboration across department lines. I took point on the project, particularly as the liaison for communication across teams and with our outside agency that built the site. It took months of planning, coordination, and collaboration, but the outcome was a robust site, and it helped increase sales, too, which was incredible."

Answer example

"Every project has its challenges, but the most difficult project I led recently was our location's annual inventory count. It's a long day with a lot of moving parts, but we were able to complete it all in time and with a proper count."

Answer example

"I recently restructured our sales organization, which was a huge undertaking. I was not popular for doing so among the team. However, it was a necessary change. Identifying the best structure was one challenge, but getting buy-in from the teams, many of whom had preferred peers with whom they wanted to work, was tricky. Ultimately, by doing sales contests and getting them to bond as new sales pods, I got them on board."

Answer example

"I organized a school-wide science fair and invited the community to participate and vote on their favorite projects. It was the first time our school opened the fair to the public. It was well worth it as our students were able to network with local business owners and even some media personalities."

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
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.
First written on: 08/28/2016
Last modified on: 08/05/2018

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