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Top 15 Scenario Based Interview Questions

Question 1 of 15
Describe to me your method of convincing others to see things your way.
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Question 2 of 15
Discuss one important decision you made in your last role and the impact that decision had.
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"I had to address a problem with a customer when my manager was in a meeting. Normally, we give complaints such as this one to the manager, but this customer was incredibly upset over her experience. I felt that if I told her to wait it would make her feel like I didn't care. Since we screwed up on the product we sent her, I took full responsibility for it and explained how I would fix the situation. I ended up giving her a refund, and at the end of the call she thanked me for listening and said this was one of the best experiences she had with a customer service associate."
The interviewer wants to know how you handle pressure and situations that require you to think independently. Think back to a time when a project needed to get done or you had a problem with a client and your manager was away. Explain how you handled it with confidence. If you have had a managerial position or higher, this question may be easier to answer since your role requires more decision-making responsibility. Think back to when a project didn't go according to plan and the decision you had to make to repair the situation.
Specific Career Examples
Retail Example
"Many of my current decisions are surrounding accepting returns and helping customers. Because we do not always have a manager on the floor, I have to make calculated decisions that help the customer while also being the best possible option for the company. I decided to take back an opened electronics item because there had been the talk of a recall and what the client was stating, lined up with the feedback I had received before. Despite our no returns on open product policy, I felt confident in my decision, and my manager later agreed. My actions even resulted in the customer leaving a great review on our company's Facebook page!"
Sales Example
"In my most recent role, I had the responsibility to decide the breakdown of territories and sales executives assigned to each of those territories. Some regions were more favorable than others, and I had to choose who would get those, knowing it would be an uncertain outcome now matter what I decided. I made them as balanced as possible, weighed metrics of the salespersons, and made as fair of a decision as possible. Because of my plan, I did get the anticipated push back and complaints, but I also was able to back up my decision with metrics and data. Ultimately, I solidified myself as a leader in the organization who was not afraid to make a tough decision and stand behind it, even if it were to be an unpopular one."
Teacher Example
"I made the surprising decision to work with a student during lunch, as he wasn't able to participate in Spanish class due to some behavioral issues. We did the full lessons together and bonded for the entire year. The next year, he had it written into his IEP that he'd participate in Spanish class- and he did. He was a star student in Spanish and knew that he needed to work on his behavior chart leading up to Spanish to be able to participate. It turned out to be a huge incentive for him, and he was indeed one of my best, and brightest, students."
Admin Example
"In my last role, I was tasked with finding potential new vendors when it came to supplies and a couple of other small services such as secure recycling and coffee products. I did a great deal of research and took cost savings, service, and reputation into account. Once I decided on the changes to implement, I tracked our company's savings for three months, then presented those savings to the owner. Overall, my decisions saved us $25,000."
Manager Example
"I decided to change the onboarding process entirely. I implemented job shadowing for each sales person's first month, along with regular ride alongs and client reviews for the first three months. The changes dramatically increased the success of our new sales professionals and also increased employee retention by 15%, saving us thousands of dollars in rehires."
Marketing Example
"In my current role, it was my idea to start a social media marketing component to our, otherwise print advertising focused agency. Being the only millennial in the office, I headed up the basics of the department and making major decisions on the types of services we would begin to offer. Once the new sector was up and running, it successfully added $500K in revenue for the company in the first year."
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Question 3 of 15
Tell me about a time when you received criticism from your manager. How did you react to that criticism? How did you make improvements based on that criticism?
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"I was instructed to create some presentations for our events. After my manager reviewed my work, some of the slides required the additional copy, and he had different design concepts in mind. He had a background in graphic design, and since I do not, I listened to his ideas and incorporated them. I thought they looked very professional and in the following presentations, I tried to include those design concepts."
This question is another way for an interviewer to ask you what your weaknesses may be. When you are thinking about examples of criticism, it's best to show that you want to grow as an employee and that you can handle constructive criticism because it helps you learn and improve the quality of your work. Give examples that would not make you exempt from the role. For instance, if you are interviewing to be a bus driver, you do not want to say that your manager called you a terrible driver!
Specific Career Examples
Retail Example
"When I was first stepping into an assistant manager role, I received the feedback that I was being too much of a friend to the associates and needed to be firmer. This concept was hard for me to hear, and initially to incorporate into my actions, as my promotion occurred overnight. However, I wanted the promotion and extra responsibility, and sometimes that means making tough decisions or uncomfortable moves, so I listened to my manager when she told me this. I knew the right thing to do; I just had to force myself to be uncomfortable and make it happen. Ultimately, it came down to having clear expectations and holding the associates accountable to meet those expectations. I could still be their friend, so long as everyone was doing their job and living up to their expectations. It was a great learning experience for me and helped me grow professionally."
Sales Example
"I was very eager to climb the ranks in my most recent position. My manager, and the VP of Sales, really appreciated this hunger and grit. However, I did receive the feedback that I needed to slow down. As frustrating as it was, I listened. I dedicated my time to learning as much as I could in my current position and paced myself much better post-feedback."
Teacher Example
"A piece of constructive feedback my Principal recently gave me was to be more adaptable to the input of the middle school teachers. I know that I can be reluctant to change when I feel like it isn't always in the best interest of the curriculum or children, but I indeed took it to heart and have since been more open to their input, suggestions, and direction in how they want to steer the curriculum."
Admin Example
"A couple of weeks ago my manager asked me to increase my typing speed. I did not think it was slow at all...about 60 words per minute, but he wanted me to speed up anyways. I have been taking typing tests at night to work on this skill. So far, I am at 72 words per minute."
Manager Example
"My director sat me down last year and asked that I get my documentation in a little bit faster than I have been. I did not disagree with his feedback. I know that I prefer working on the floor, and less on my computer. I now ensure to give each task a better balance."
Marketing Example
"I have a marketing director focused on using team-based apps. I am not as well versed in them as he would like me to be. We primarily use Trello, so I have been taking some time in the evenings to watch YouTube videos and other online tutorials. I am learning some great ways to utilize the app's features and some shortcuts too."
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Question 4 of 15
Tell me about a time your former manager or a coworker upset you. What did they do to upset you? How did you handle it?
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"My colleague and I were assigned a presentation to work on together, and we split the work evenly. Unfortunately, my colleague didn't finish her half in time for the deadline. I was concerned because it reflected badly on me as well. I calmly communicated with my colleague a new plan that allowed us to finish just in time."
This question gives you the opportunity to provide an example of how you deal with stressful situations. An employer wants someone who can handle challenging scenarios both calmly and professionally. Keep your answer positively-focused and be sure not to bad mouth anyone or give too many details that may deter from the central question, which is 'how did you handle it?'
Specific Career Examples
Retail Example
"I once worked with a woman who was frequently late for her shifts, which impacted the whole team. I was the only one without children, so I was always volunteered to stay. I'm more than happy to be a team player but felt taken advantage of at times. I sat down with the coworker in question and let her know how her tardiness was impacting the team as a whole and me individually. I also make the manager know how it was affecting morale and my overall job satisfaction. Ultimately, she realized how her actions had a domino effect and were impacting the team. We were able to come to an understanding and planned how to get her on time, or even early to work."
Sales Example
"In my first job, we were to have backups on our accounts, so if we were ever away, someone could take care of the clients' needs. I was always asked to be the second person on accounts, which was flattering because it meant that everyone trusted me with their book of business. What was frustrating was when I would ask for someone to back me up, nobody would volunteer in exchange. Everyone expected the highest level of work from me on their accounts in their absence but were aloof with my clients. I let the team know it was frustrating and disappointing. It was a tough conversation and awkward, but I'm glad I had it. The team did step up for me, moving forward."
Teacher Example
"I have felt upset or frustrated when at department meetings some of the more seasoned teachers from the district seem to think less of the teachers newer to their career. When they talk to me like I'm someone who isn't worth their time, it indeed is frustrating. I've said a few careful remarks to address that it feels like they're belittling me but for the most part, really try to let it go."
Admin Example
"I do not get upset very easily and the last time I recall feeling this way was last year when my manager blamed me for not sending an email that I indeed, did send. The communication was critical and could have cost us a client had I not sent the message; so I do understand the passion behind her reaction. However, she was simply looking in the wrong email folder. I showed her my sent folder, and she calmed down, later apologizing for her reaction."
Manager Example
"I once had a team member threaten to quit, at least once a month. I would always scramble, trying to make her happy, and then once that subsided, she would throw it out again. After some time, I felt like she was taking advantage of me. The last time she threatened to quit, I said, "That is probably for the best." She was shocked and, in fact, started working harder! Reverse psychology does work at times, I guess!"
Marketing Example
"I had a marketing director who was a bit old school, meaning that the bulk of his focus was on print advertising strategies. I come from the school of thought that you don't always have to throw a ton of money at a problem. For some clients, well planned social strategies can be quite effective and budget friendly. We butted heads until I showed him what I could do with a social campaign and then he agreed to let me run with my knowledge a bit more often. Sometimes you have to stop telling, and start showing."
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Question 5 of 15
If you had a co-worker call in sick and you were asked to take over their project requiring overtime from you, how would you react? Where do you draw the line when it comes to being a team player?
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"I will always choose to be a team player. If I had a co-worker call in sick, I would take over where I was capable. The only time I would draw the line would be if I felt I was being taken advantage of for my kindness. For instance, if they were purposefully being inefficient and expecting me to pick up the slack. For the sake of the company, I am always willing to go above and beyond expectations."
The interviewer wants to see that you are willing to jump in and save the day when needed. Show your willingness to be part of the team but also explain where your limit is when it comes to putting in overtime hours, and meeting unreasonable needs.
Specific Career Examples
Retail Example
"I am happy to help the team out and work overtime, should my schedule allow. I had a coworker who consistently showed up late, and I was always the go-to for covering her extra 15 to 45 minutes. This situation, of course, grated on me and I tactfully addressed it with the teammate. I am happy to help as much as I can and hope that the team will help me if I were ever to need it but within reason. Consistently poor planning isn't a reasonable excuse, in my opinion."
Sales Example
"In sales, the job has to get done no matter how many employees are absent. So, it's not uncommon for me to have to pick up the slack that others have left. Whether or not they're holding up their end of the bargain, I still have financial targets to meet, so I have to make up for the work. That said, it's frustrating to be carrying the lion's share of the work on a regular basis when it is to be a team effort. If I were to feel that someone was taking advantage of my hard work, I'd be frustrated. I would find time to speak to the coworker in question and let them know how their actions were impacting me."
Teacher Example
"I am happy to pick up the slack as needed and enjoy what I do, so I know I'm lucky not to feel annoyed about it. That said, everyone has a breaking point. If it felt that someone was taking advantage of me I'd undoubtedly address it with the person in question and, if it continued, a supervisor."
Admin Example
"I am happy to help, within reason. The only way I would draw a hard line was if I knew the person was faking it. I will not be taken advantage of but will always put my best foot forward and jump in when I am needed."
Manager Example
"My team is, overall, excellent when it comes to my sick day policy. I have asked that team members not come in if they are contagious. I had one team member who called in sick every Monday for a month. That pattern was a bit suspicious to me, and so I called him out on it. He agreed that he was taking advantage of my understanding leadership style. I wrote up a corrective action report, and he didn't do this again."
Marketing Example
"If I had a co-worker call in sick, I would pick up their project without being asked. In a team environment, it's just what you do. With that said, I would expect that my team does the same for me if I am sick or out of the office unexpectedly."
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Question 6 of 15
Tell me about a time that you had to resolve a conflict between two employees. How did you ensure that a resolution was made without hurt feelings?
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Question 7 of 15
Describe a time that you did not fit in. How did you ensure that you found a way to fit in and make yourself comfortable?
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Question 8 of 15
Tell me about a time that you naturally took on a leadership role without being asked. Did you enjoy being a leader? Were you happy with the outcome?
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Question 9 of 15
What would you do if a client asked you about a product or service and you were unsure of the answer?
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Question 10 of 15
Describe to me a time when you made an error at work, and the impact your mistake made. How did you correct the mistake, and what did you learn from it?
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Question 11 of 15
Discuss a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty. What did you do? How was it above your normal job requirements?
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Question 12 of 15
What would you do if you were made aware of a co-worker being dishonest or stealing from the company?
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Question 13 of 15
Tell me about a time that you almost missed a deadline. How did you ensure your project was completed on time?
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Question 14 of 15
Tell me about a time you handled an incredibly difficult client. How did you come to a resolution with this person?
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Question 15 of 15
Tell me about a time that you were asked to collaborate on a project with a colleague whom you did not necessarily see eye-to-eye with. How did you ensure that you got along well and met your deadline?
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