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Scenario Based Interview Questions

15 Scenario Based Interview Questions
Question 1 of 15
Discuss one important decision you made in your last role and the impact that decision had.
How to Answer
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.

Answer Example
"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."
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."
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."
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Question 2 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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How to Answer
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!

Answer Example
"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."
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."
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."
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Question 3 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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How to Answer
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?'

Answer Example
"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."
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."
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."
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Question 4 of 15
Describe to me your method of convincing others to see things your way.
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to see that you have strong persuasive skills. Think about your personality and how you present your ideas to someone else, in work and your personal life. Make sure you avoid words such as pushy and forceful. Explain that you offer facts and statistics and explain the results of your research to back up your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Show that you can influence people through an inspirational approach versus bullying others to see things your way.

Answer Example
"When I would like others to see my way, I am sure to carefully lay out the ways that my idea will benefit them. I review those reasons, collect agreement from them, and then close them on the idea by having them agree that it's the soundest decision or choice."
Admin Example
"If I am passionate about something, and want others to see things my way, showing them my raw passion is the best way to do it. I get excited about my idea and tell them why it's exciting. Like a hype man at a concert. I want them excited about my idea!"
Manager Example
"Facts are always the best way to support an opinion. I will create a presentation, if it's a big idea, and gain buy-in from my team based on all the benefits of the change that I am pitching."
Marketing Example
"What's In It For Me? (WWIFM), is one of the first things I was taught in marketing when it comes to gaining the interest of a new customer. If I want others to see things my way, I focus on what they will gain by coming to my side! Works every time, in the office, and when creating marketing campaigns."
Retail Example
"When I'm trying to convince someone to be on my side, I am sure to make it clear how my ideas will benefit them. I make sure as I speak with them, that I make small comments throughout the conversation to get them to agree with me along the way. As they start to say "yes" and "yes" to smaller questions or comments, they begin to come over to my side. Then, I review the reasons they just agreed with, getting another, bigger "yes," and conclude with them making a verbal statement of official agreement."
Sales Example
"To get customers or coworkers to see it my way, I am sure to hear what they want to achieve and understand their pain point. Then, by doing so, I can emphasize the points of my argument that are the most meaningful to their goals. In doing this, I craft a personalized, persuasive case that ensures they will get to the point of "yes" that I wanted in the first place."
Teacher Example
"I often have to convince my students to see things my way, which usually involves getting them excited or challenging them in a fun, interactive way. Interestingly enough, it's a reasonably effective tactic on adults, too, just in a more discreet sort of way. But overall, if you get folks excited about a task, project, or idea, they buy-in and do most of the convincing on their own without too much pushing from me."
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Question 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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Question 9 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 10 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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Author of Scenario Based Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 08/29/2016
Last modified on: 06/29/2018
Question 11 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 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 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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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 almost missed a deadline. How did you ensure your project was completed on time?
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