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Leadership Interview
Questions

| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Tell me about a time when you took charge of a situation but the outcome was disappointing.

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Leadership Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you took charge of a situation but the outcome was disappointing.

      Interviewers understand that leaders will have failed efforts now and then. What they want to know is that you can recognize those failures, learn from them, and enthusiastically move on.

      Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

      Think about a time when your leadership plan didn't go as desired. Be sure to tell the interviewer what you learned from the scenario, as well as what you would do the next time.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) When I first joined my current company, the mandate was to focus on the professional growth of the team. (Task) I had big plans to overhaul the existing sales team and send them on a business development workshop weekend. (Action) Once I announced this plan, I lost of the employees ended up quitting because they didn't understand what this growth opportunity would have allowed them. Looking back, what I should have done was build a stronger rapport with my new team before sending them to a weekend workshop. They felt it was a punishment of some sort, which wasn't the case at all. (Result) I learned my lesson, hired some stellar sales staff, and forged ahead! My new team ended up gaining strong momentum and finished the year 124% above budget."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Admin interview

      "(Situation) This year our HR Manager was on maternity leave, and someone needed to take control of the company's most recent hiring fair. (Task) As the HR Assistant, I was next in line to take over the event. (Action) I worked hard to plan and leverage the few connections that I had. I attempted to build excitement through social media posts and our company e-newsletter. (Result) In the end, the hiring fair was not as successful as previous hiring fairs and, despite my best efforts, I didn't see the results that I was hoping. I will continue to learn the recruiting field and won't give up despite this disappointment."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Manager interview

      "(Situation) Last month, we had a last-minute order come through from a customer, but our production scheduling manager was out sick. (Task) Although out of my wheelhouse, I was next in line to answer the clients' needs. (Action) I tried to get the order in place for our client quickly, even putting in overtime and making urgent calls to other departments. (Result) Despite my best efforts, I missed the deadline. The client was upset with us, so I took the brunt of her disappointment and promised her that the company would work hard to make it right. I am currently collaborating on a fix with the production scheduling manner; however, I am confident that we will find a way to re-establish the clients' trust."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Marketing interview

      "(Situation) A few months ago, my agency needed to change to a more reliable email marketing service provider. (Task) As the Digital Marketing Director, I was the right person to take charge of the project. (Action) I oversaw the migration of our email marketing provider to a new, much better one with more robust features and analytics. (Result) However, in the process, we lost one of our primary email lists in the migration. Luckily, the list was recovered by our IT team after about three weeks. This situation was a substantial disappointment initially, but it taught me to always back everything up and move extra carefully, even on a tight deadline."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Retail interview

      "(Situation) The store where I work is known for its beautiful seasonal window displays. (Task) As the newest merchandiser, I was eager to learn and asked to take charge of the spring window display. (Action) I completely underestimated how challenging the job was and, despite my research and the tools offered to me, it was a flop. (Result) My boss was nice about the situation, and we worked together to make the display better. I was happy that I tried, and I learned a lot about visual merchandising along the way. I continue to learn more every day!"

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Sales interview

      "(Situation) Last year, I introduced the idea of 'lunch and learns' to boost team morale. (Task) As the Sales Manager, I noticed that the teams' energy had dwindled, and I wanted to encourage them. (Action) I put together a series of learning sessions, and they were well-received for the first few weeks. (Result) However, attendance in these sessions flopped after about six months. The team morale was so low that it became apparent that everyone needed to use their lunch breaks to disconnect from work so they could be more impactful overall. Looking back, I would have scheduled these meetings once every month rather than once each week to avoid this type of burnout."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Teacher interview

      "(Situation) Every spring, our high school seniors have a 3-day camping trip. (Task) This year, I took charge of planning the event. (Action) Despite speaking with other teachers who had led this event in the past, I truly underestimated the scope of work and planning. Quickly falling behind, I recognized that I bit off more than I could chew and ended up recruiting another teacher to help me plan the trip. (Result) In the end, the trip was a success, and I'm glad that I decided to ask for help when I did."

      Anonymous Answer

      "As the coordinator of the Teacher of the Year program, there was an error with the awards. The spelling of a recipient's name was misspelled. I apologized and assured her that it would be corrected."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Oops! It happens to the best of us, and what is most important is that you owned the error and made the necessary corrections.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I took charge of the machine shop in a previous role. The aim was to improve the output. The method was to use OEE as the driver. The shop was not ready for using a tool such as OEE, and the outcome was disappointing."

      Lauren's Answer

      It is great that provided a specific answer. It would be more-rounded if you explained why it was disappointing. Please fill in the blank below.

      "In a previous role, I was charged with improving output in a machine shop. I believed using OEE as a driver would enhance output, but disappointingly, it was not. The shop was not ready to implement a tool such as OEE because __________________."

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