The interviewer would like to know if you have a natural ability and desire to be a leader, or if you prefer to be a follower. Being a leader gives us a different perspective and allows you to grow in your views. Explain that you enjoy helping others develop, while learning things yourself, and show that you are the type of leader that hopes to inspire others.
"We often work in small groups on a variety of projects, however; last month I was tasked to complete a project with a group of ten. I quickly realized that I was the most seasoned of the group and so it was natural for me to be the leader since I had the majority of the answers. I enjoyed that aspect of the work and earned compliments from my supervisor on the result. Everyone worked well together and knew their role."
"I do not consider myself a natural leader, however, when we recently had a new employee join the admin team, I took her under my wing. I wanted to see her succeed, so I took her out for lunch, explained the office dynamics, and encouraged her to ask questions. It feels terrific to share my knowledge."
"Before I became a manager, I was often jumping in to train new employees or assist with customer disputes. My product knowledge was impeccable. I spent hours studying the company, and production process. I truly wanted a promotion to manager. This dedication to leadership quickly paid off as I was one of the fastest promoted in company history. I love being a leader. It comes naturally to me, and I care about the success of those new to the team."
"Our marketing director was unexpectedly out of the office on a family emergency for two weeks. I volunteered to take on her role because I knew it well and had been there the longest. I encouraged collaboration with the team, divided tasks evenly, and incorporated daily team meetings to ensure that we were on the right track and that no detail slipped by us. When the director returned, she ended up implementing a couple of my temporary processes and complimented me on my dedication to the team and agency. It felt amazing to be a leader."
"Since I began at Company ABC, I've sought out opportunities for leadership because I feel comfortable there. At the store, within my first weeks on the job, there was a misunderstanding occurring between part-time and full-time employees that were disrupting the culture and cohesiveness of our department. I took it upon myself to ask everyone for a quick pow-wow one evening. All the employees got together by the cash-wrap and cleared up the confusion and miscommunications, which led to a much healthier, and more enjoyable, work environment. It felt great to clear the air, and I quickly became known for my dispute resolution skills."
"I am always sure to be a resource for the new hires. I hated walking into an office and feeling like I was in middle school where everyone already had their cliques, so I made sure never to have someone else feel that way. I started informally mentoring the new hires, and soon I had a few other coworkers who were interested in doing the same. We've continued this but also expanded into a more formal training and mentoring program with the company leadership on board. This way, we know that each mentee is getting the same type of information and resources. It's a project that I'm very proud of as it's helped others give back to new hires and helped everyone grow into a better salesperson."
"During staff meetings or curriculum development, I tend to step into a leadership role. I find it to be a natural fit for me, and with my years of experience and passion still firing on all cylinders. My leadership style brings out a good vibe with the rest of the team, and we seem to accomplish quite a lot!"
Each of us has a time in our life where we felt as though we did not fit in. Did you sit back and wait to fit into the group, or did you take the initiative when it came to your approach? Explain your personality in situations like this, and display your confidence when it comes to finding a way to fit in.
"I can be a rather aggressive, go-getter type while my more seasoned analyst had a quiet confidence. The senior analyst had his group of co-workers, and it seemed I did not fit in because of my youth and more aggressive approach. One day, I asked him if we could switch mentalities for the day. Approach things as the other person would, to see if we can better appreciate how each other works. In the end, we each learned shortcuts and new techniques and had a new found respect for how the other processes information and gets to the result. I feel that this forced us both to put on the other shoe and in the end, it created mutual respect."
"When attending University, I was significantly older than many of my classmates. I had my kids and then returned to my post-secondary education goals once they were school-aged. I decided that, rather than competing, I needed to become a bit of a parent figure to the other students, offering help and a warm smile when they needed it. I had a great time in University despite my mature student status!"
"When I initially stepped into my management role, I was not widely accepted by my new team, as I was replacing a very beloved manager who left due to relocation. Nobody seemed happy that I was there. I started by holding a group meeting, letting them ask me any questions they wanted. I also spent time asking them questions regarding how they liked to be managed, and to describe the workplace culture to me. They were more at ease after that meeting and quickly warmed up to me, knowing I was there to carry the torch and not disturb the successful processes the previous manager had implemented."
"I was a bit of a misfit all through high school. My brand of creativity felt unappreciated until I attended University. To manage, during high school, I found a couple of excellent and like-minded friends and focused on them, along with my studies."
"I am the youngest in a leadership position in my department. Being the youngest leader is alienating on two accounts. One, because of my age, and two, because I'm also the boss. It's undoubtedly alienating and can be discouraging. That said, I have made every effort to make myself a part of the team, whether that is finding ways to relate to what they're talking about or going the extra mile to help them out. I want to be comfortable and accepted, but not at the cost of compromising myself or my leadership abilities."
"Being the new employee, you rarely "fit in" immediately. I always try to make sure, if it's not part of the onboarding process itself, to ask my supervisor and or coworkers out to lunch within those first days. That way, I make a personal connection with someone there right away."
"I think back to the first day at my current school; I would say I was a bit of an outsider. The staff was tight-knit. I made sure to involve myself in their social fabric by bringing coffees in the morning, bakery treats, and being friendly. By being kind and helpful, I was able to be a part of the group in no time."
This question is meant to see how you handle conflict in the workplace. If you don’t have an example of a time when you had a resolve a dispute between two employees, then give an example how you would hypothetically resolve the situation. The interviewer would like to see that you are thoughtful in challenging conditions and able to be the voice of reason when needed.
"I believe that it is important to address issues between colleagues when both parties have calmed down. I would make sure each person heard the other side, so both are acknowledged. Lastly, I would make sure a solution is provided to move forward. Also, I could bring someone from HR to sit in and listen as well. Those are the steps I would take if I had to mediate a conflict."
"There are often small conflicts between my production staff on matters of safety, quality assurance, and procedural issues. If left unattended, things will quickly escalate since we work in a high-stress environment. When I sense a conflict, I will call a meeting between the arguing parties. They don't leave my office until they can agree on a solution and shake on it. This approach works well, and I have yet to lose an employee over an unsettled argument."
"We marketing and creative types can become very passionate about our approaches to projects. Recently I witnessed two project managers, who were collaborating with a large client, arguing quite heavily about what direction to take a particular ad campaign. I suggested they have an anonymous team vote. The most voted idea wins. I created a quick online poll through SurveyMonkey and sent it to our entire staff of 400. It was a landslide for one particular idea, and the argument settled."
"As a retail sales manager, the most frequent disagreement between employees will occur over commission disputes on shared customers. I created a way for our system to offer split commissions in these instances. Rather than continue to resolve the issues on a case-by-case basis, I also created a department policy in which it's apparent who gets the commission and when, based on the behavior of the customer, amount of interaction, and amount of time passed."
"Two of my buyers were continually bickering a few months ago. It started in a bit of jest and good spirits but quickly deteriorated as one felt the other was attempting to be his boss. It made working with them, or even near them, an unpleasant experience. I was able to speak to them both individually and get to the root of what was bothering each of them. By hearing each of their sides, without the other around, I was more prepared to address the issue when the three of us sat down together. I acted as a mediator and got them both talking about what was bothering them or where the disconnect lay. I was able to coach them into a meaningful conversation."
"I typically don't have to intervene in employee disputes, but in any setting that I sense tension or some disagreement, I will confidently step in as the intermediary, and encourage respectful conversation."
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Everyone makes mistakes; no one is perfect. The interviewer knows that too and is asking this question to see how you handle situations when you make mistakes. Give an example that demonstrates how you took responsibility for your error and fixed it. Also, what you learned from the experience as a result. Sometimes learning from our mistakes allows us to gain some valuable tools.
"Last month I made a financial accounts error where 4 of our vendors ended up not being paid on time. Our company faced some large fees for overdue payments. I stayed overtime that week to call each vendor personally. I owned up to the situation, explained the error, and negotiated the fees down. I learned from that error and have been conscious to not rush through my work since then."
"I am certainly not perfect all the time, and that was obvious the day that I terminated the wrong temporary employee. We had one temp who was reportedly late three days in a row. My shift lead gave me the incorrect name, so when I called the agency to tell them to fire the temp, we had the wrong one. It was a mess. I ended up calling the agency, correcting the error, and hiring back the initially terminated temp worker. This lesson taught me to always double check data before acting on anything."
"I recently created a Facebook ad strategy for a client who didn't even request one. It was a colossal waste of time simply because I didn't double check my files before starting the project. To fix the error, I let the client know that I created this strategy in error and would provide it to them at half off the regular price. This way, the work wasn't a total wash, and the client received added value. Luckily they agreed! I double check my clients' needs now, before starting on their projects."
"My first month in charge of making the scheduling decisions went quite well, so I applied that same logic to the second month of scheduling. The problem was, I was so busy replicating my previous success that I forgot to account for school being out by the third week in the month, meaning an increased traffic flow and need for more associates during the weekdays. Honestly, it was a complete oversight and complacency. I thought I was so diligent by following a 'proven' formula, but I didn't take into account that things change from week to week. Because of this, we were short of two employees each shift. By the second day, my staff was feeling it, and I couldn't cover everyone's shifts, so I got creative and asked to borrow some employees from slower departments for an hour or two at a time while calling in favors with my staff to cover upcoming shifts. Luckily, we were able to piecemeal it together, but it was a learning experience. Since then, I have been sure to follow a formula for scheduling, while carefully highlighting any significant holidays, upcoming sales, days off of school, or other goings-on in the mall that could impact our traffic and have been much better prepared."
"I was slated to demonstrate our new technology in beta and gain feedback from the client on how it could be improved. I was cutting it close for the appointment from the airport, so when I got there, I was frazzled and did not have adequate time to set up, couldn't access their network, etc. Due to this, the presentation was not as smooth as I would have hoped and I honestly I didn't get the feedback I could have if I'd have been able to do the proper setup. I apologized not only to the client but also to the tech team for not gathering the appropriate information we'd targeted. As a result of this, I made sure to practice the techniques and bring all of the necessary gadgets, including a hotspot and a small projector. That way, no matter what their network or supplies looked like, and no matter what room I was in, I could give the best presentation possible. It was an exercise in humility, and I learned a lot in the process."
"When I was in my first teaching job out of college, I spoke to a parent out of concern for their child but didn't go through the proper protocol or correct channel, so when the parent became upset, the situation became awkward. Since I didn't take up my concern through the Principal, I was in a precarious position. I certainly learned that even though I mean well, protocols exist for a reason and by going outside of those channels, I put myself, the family, and the child in an uncomfortable situation. I certainly learned to follow the protocols, even if they sometimes seem silly or constricting."
Think back to your previous projects in your current or past position. Did you exceed expectations on a project by doing additional research to provide more of a polished product? Maybe you helped a coworker out with some of their work? When a new co-worker started, did you volunteer your time without being asked to train them and show them the ropes? Tell a quick story related to how you shine in the workplace!
"I often go above the call of duty when it comes to patient follow-ups. Sometimes, they will forget to rebook with us before they leave so I will call them the following day and say "I don't want you to miss out on your next appointment time! Let's get you in!" They are always thankful for the reminder, and this extra step keeps our business running smoothly."
"I had one employee who was a favorite, struggling to understand some of the changes we made in our software program. The struggle was affecting his productivity. I did not want his job to be in danger, or see him quit out of frustration. I asked him if I could provide him with a few one-on-one training sessions during our lunch breaks. He agreed. After two weeks, he had the hang of the new system, and his performance improved exponentially."
"Last month I helped a client who did not understand social media in the least. I went to her office, helped her set up her Instagram and Facebook accounts, and gave her some pointers on creating content for social sharing. This service was not part of her marketing package with our agency; however, she upgraded shortly after because I made her understand the importance of an all-encompassing marketing strategy."
"When we were setting up the department for the holiday season, my shift was over before the window merchandising was complete. I was already 30 minutes into overtime. My manager told me I could pull things back and someone later that evening would take care of it. Instead, I clocked out, came back to the floor and finished what I started. My manager was incredibly appreciative, even writing me up a "WOW-moment," thanking me for my hard work, all off the clock. I had so much fun doing it, loved finishing what I started, and the icing on the cake was getting the kudos, including a pat on the back from the GM."
"I try to make it a point to be the unofficial welcoming committee to new hires. I know how daunting of an experience it is to walk into a new office when you're the only one without a friend and feel like the office is looking at you and judging you. I know how far a friendly face can go. So, I am always sure to volunteer for the new hires to sit with me and learn the ropes. I also am sure that I invite them for the morning coffee walk between the shuttle arriving and the sales meeting starting. It goes a long way in making a teammate feel welcome, and it ultimately helps the team as a whole."
"During curriculum development two summers ago, we each had our assigned modules to work on, and I was responsible for compiling the lesson plans and ensuring cohesiveness. Once I received the curriculum, I noticed some gaps were missing, and they didn't string together seamlessly. However, our paid time was up. So, I spent the next week, on my time, reworking and tweaking the lesson plans we had made and ensuring they all worked well together. It was gratifying during the school year to see the lessons in action and how well they worked because of the extra attention I put into it."
The interviewer wants to know if you are an independent thinker with the ability to find answers for yourself, when necessary. Explain that you would take the time to try and figure out the solution, but you are not afraid to ask questions if you need to.
"If I had a client ask me about something that I didn't know enough about, I would find the answer for them before giving a potentially false answer. I am okay with admitting when I don't know something, and I love to learn new things. Of course, I would find the answer quickly by asking the appropriate person or finding it within the company's internal resources."
"My rule of thumb is never to say 'I don't know.' I always say 'I will find out.' This process of finding an answer could include researching online, or asking a more tenured administrative assistant for help."
"As the manager, I had better find the answer - and quickly! Once I find the answer in the company resources, I will immediately add it to our communication binder or training binder so that my team will have the answer as well, should the question come up again."
"Marketing trends are always changing, and I often have clients ask insightful questions about new strategies and marketing methods. I love it when I don't have a comprehensive answer because it gives me the opportunity to research, and find an answer for them."
"I am accustomed to having to think on my feet and come up with a creative answer based on the information I have at hand. I'm not going to tell a client something that is untrue or could potentially create a long-term issue. I'm not afraid of putting myself in a position where I don't know everything or am not the expert. I am happy to get out of my comfort zone to grow, learn, and help a customer. I will not hesitate to involve a more tenured employee, do my research, and work collaboratively to find a comprehensive answer."
"In sales, there are two important things to remember on a call with a client. One, make sure you're incredibly prepared for any question. Two, it's probably not going to go the way you wanted it to or anticipated that it would. I'm comfortable answering to the best of my knowledge and also saying, "you know what, I'm not certain about that, but I will get you an answer by the end of the day." Then, follow up and get the answer to them in that time frame. I am happy to think on my feet and be a problem solver, but I also know that I am not the expert on everything."
"I am perfectly comfortable handling a situation or a question that is out of my realm. I will first give feedback based on my experience, and then pass the question to the right channel or personnel who I believe can better assist."
Companies want to know they are hiring loyal employees. Make sure that you illustrate in your answer that you would do the right thing and represent the company for which you are working. If you have an example from a time this has happened to you, you can talk to the interviewer about it but avoid naming people outright or speaking poorly of anyone.
"I certainly would not consider myself a 'whistle-blower' in the workplace. If I found that a co-worker was stealing, or doing anything to harm the company, I would approach them directly to ask what was going on. There is a good chance of the situation being a simple misunderstanding. If it wasn't a misunderstanding and the co-worker was outright defiant with their damaging actions, then I would bring it, professionally, to the appropriate parties."
"If I knew that an employee was stealing from the company, I would report it to my manager. When employees steal, their actions put everyone at risk."
"I have caught employees stealing before and, to be honest, I have zero patience for this type of behavior. It costs the company a lot of money, resulting in an increase in cost to my customers, and potentially jeopardizes future raises and team growth. Whenever I have caught an employee stealing, I bring the matter up with HR, along with supporting evidence. This approach ensures a clean termination eliminates the company being at risk of being sued by the disgruntled former employee."
"I have caught a co-worker plagiarizing their work before. This practice is obviously a huge no-no in our industry and results in immediate termination. When I caught the co-worker, I reported it anonymously to our marketing director. He had been terminated shortly after, which I felt a bit bad for, but reminded myself that he put our entire agency's reputation at risk, including my job."
"When I was a server in college, I did become aware of a server altering his tips. It was an incredibly uncomfortable situation to become mindful of, seeing as the server in question was having a ton of family issues and financial problems in general. I was empathetic to his situation; however, he was stealing from unknowing customers who didn't deserve that. I mentioned it in passing to him, to feel out how he felt about being noticed or if somehow I'd misunderstood. He brushed it off as though I were crazy. I let it go at first. Later, I saw him with pen in hand while holding a signed check. I did not confront him again, but I did mention it in confidence to the manager on shift."
"In a previous role, I had a hunch that one of the appointment setters was inflating the number of appointments that he was setting, but had no solid proof. There was a sudden uptick in productivity, but it appeared he was not putting in any extra effort. That said, it was not my department, direct report, or my place to address this. I did casually mention it to another account executive, who was in his department, and their boss over dinner one day and just said to keep an eye out for it."
"I have never found myself in this situation, but I feel I'd address it with the person in question and then involve the appropriate supervisory parties as necessary if the behavior continued. As a teacher, there isn't much opportunity to take or be greedy, so I can't see this happening, honestly, but if it did, that's how I would handle it."
Getting along with different personalities is especially vital in the workplace. Explain that you can be flexible and hear someone out even if you don’t agree with them. Showcase your ability to learn from others when you may not wholeheartedly agree with their perspective or approach.
"In my current office, the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable departments have an inexplicable rivalry. It's a bit humorous to think about, but the rivalry exists. Every year-end we have to collaborate and, even though we don't necessarily get along, we put thoughts aside to get the job done. We aren't buddy-buddy, but we do deliver the other departments' needs on time and in a friendly manner."
"I was once assigned a regional sales manager, as their sales assistant and administrator for a major client project. Frankly, the woman was a nightmare. She would email me "orders" in the middle of the night, and then expect them to be done for her when she arrived in the morning. I maintained less of a work/life balance than I prefer to admit, but there was an end-date in sight, so I sucked it up and just went for it. When the project was over, I did request to my boss that we not be paired up again on future projects."
"Year-end inventory audits require all department managers to work together for the greater goal. Some managers are just a personality clash. I am very hands-on, and they prefer to bark orders to their team. The differences in work-styles are obvious in these group projects, but I work as I always do, and leave it to the supervisors to address any issues they feel they need. Just because someone's work style is different than mine, it does not necessarily mean it's wrong - it not my style."
"Recently we received a project from a client that required my department to collaborate with a rival department within marketing. It was up to me to ensure that everyone worked smoothly together. The other departments' manager and I decided to start with a team building night out, and that helped a lot. Once everyone was able to find common ground, we could focus on the task at hand."
"I am responsible for the merchandising of mannequins throughout our department. However, we are to collaborate with the department next to ours to make sure there is cohesive branding. This particular employee and I didn't seem to see eye-to-eye about the direction of our branding. So, I proposed that we each sketch out our respective plans. Then, we could see the vision we each had, and understand what each of us was trying to accomplish. This plan got us on the same page and allowed us to see that our visions weren't so different, but rather our approach. We collaborated and came up with an incredible set of mannequins. We ended up working together in the future and did quite well together as a team, balancing one another out and allowing for cohesion between the two departments."
"One of my coworkers and I were doing a joint presentation to a group of prospects. It was a high stakes presentation, and he and I have very different styles of performance and preparation. Luckily, we both identified this as a potential obstacle from the get-go and came to the table, literally, with our ideas on how the outline would go and who would say what. Because we were both able to identify that we could clash, and took a proactive approach to delegating tasks and distributing the presentation, we worked very well together and hit our performance out of the park."
"While writing curriculum, teachers' creative differences come to light. Both in regards to our teaching styles as well as what we prioritize in teaching our students. There's one particular teacher with whom I consistently clash, but we are the two most tenured in the department, so we are the leaders. This difference can challenge my patience, but I am always sure to go to the meetings with enough coffee, patience, and kindness to get me through even my most challenging moments with her. Because of patience, understanding, and respect, and a little healthy debate, we can get through our curriculum development and come out better on the other side."
The interviewer would like to know more about the way in which you handle challenging clients and customers. Remaining level-headed and staying professional is what the interviewer is looking for in your example. Talk about a time when your excellent communication skills allowed you to handle a difficult client. If you haven’t had an experience with a problematic client, explain how you would feel out the situation if it were to happen.
"In my current position I am faced with challenging clients on a daily basis. I seem to always come to a good resolution by using my gift of gab. I ask questions and actively listen. A recent example would be when a very unhappy customer called in, wanting to speak with the manager. Our manager was away, and I was the only employee around. By listening and accepting responsibility for the company's actions, I was able to calm her down. We came to a solution that was great for everyone, and I was sure to follow up with her actively."
"I often get challenging customers on the phone, demanding to speak with the owner of the company. He is often traveling, and I have to tell them that he is unavailable. When I have an especially worked up customer, I kill them with kindness! It works nearly every time. I am understanding, and let their words wash off like they are nothing. I offer solutions such as email communication, leaving a voicemail, and more. All while remaining calm and kind."
"I have a major client who complains about his delivery every month, like clockwork. Usually, they are petty complaints and will have more to do with delivery service than our actual product. I kept note of the complaints and then read them back to him after about six months. I let him know that I have narrowed the bulk of his issues with the courier we used and gave him the option of three new couriers. Because he chose the new courier, I think he felt included in the process and heard. The complaints stopped for the most part."
"I worked on a project recently where the client had very unrealistic expectations and deadlines. She fully expected me to completely change her business around in just 30 days of a social media marketing campaign. I let her know that most customers see the biggest change 90 days or more into the strategy. She was livid and fired our agency. I didn't argue with her; I just gave her facts. She ended up coming back to us as a few days later when she heard the same thing from multiple other agencies, after shopping around. I am happy that I stuck to my ground and was consistent with the information, giving her realistic expectations."
"The best example would be regarding our store's return policy. It's absurd, but we used to take back anything. No tags, clearly worn, etc. No problem. We have to return it and show no judgment. Our policy only slightly changed, just that the refund was limited to store credit and we needed to scan their ID so that they could only return a certain amount per customer in any six month period. Still an incredibly lenient policy. All that to say, we had a customer bring in a coat that had naturally weathered several winters and indeed had salt stains on it. I was responsible for its return. I asked her what she remembered paying for it, and as I went to refund her via a gift card for $250, I asked for her ID. She was livid. How dare I request her identification, and the complaints continued. Our manager was away, and I was the shift leader, so I had no one to assist. I calmly explained the new policy and asked her questions about her feelings and frustrations. I sincerely apologized for making her feel embarrassed and explained the rationale behind the system, making sure she was clear it was company-wide and not targeting her. She felt heard and eventually recognized the leniency of the previous and current policy and happily accepted her gift card. She ultimately complimented me to senior management for how I handled her and the situation as a whole."
"I had a client call saying that we delivered a defective piece of merchandise valued at over $30k. Understandably, he was livid. He was threatening to stop doing business with us. This customer was one of my best customers, previously, so it was a rough phone call. I immediately took responsibility and asked pointed questions to try to get to the root of what was defective about the item, and assured him over and over that we would make it right. I went into a conference room, bringing the COO and Director of Operations with me, and we all assured him how we valued his business and would be sure to make it right. Not only that, we would put steps in place to ensure this type of thing did not slip through our QA again. Ultimately, we had a satisfied customer who went on to grow in business volume and praised how we remedied the situation."
"In an IEP meeting, we had a parent who was incredibly resistant to any of the suggestions we were making. We always anticipate that the parent will be sensitive, emotionally charged, and perhaps even angry, but this parent was fighting every single thing we said, even when it was complimenting the actions of their child. I was forthcoming with my concerns as a parent on the other side of the table since I was hoping to bond with her as a parent without crossing any boundaries or lines of professionalism. With being open about having my own son's IEP, she softened and became more receptive to suggestions regarding her son, and we ended up with a somewhat productive IEP writing session."
So you dropped the ball. It happens to the best of us. Think about how you made your situation “right.” Whether you asked for extra assistance, or put more hours in, explain how you did your best and took responsibility for your actions. The interviewer is not looking to hear that you never make mistakes. They want to know how you correct your course once you realize your deadline is in danger of being missed.
"Last week I was asked to complete a task that one of my colleagues left incomplete before they left on vacation. Although it wasn't my deadline, I felt responsible for it since it was our company's reputation on the line. I took the work home and completed it over the weekend. In the end, the client was very pleased with my work and my dedication landed me a small promotion!"
"Last month I was almost done updating our company directory when my computer crashed. Rather than be defeated and start over again, I called our IT department, with an SOS call, and gave them a deadline for retrieving the data. I knew they could do it! The document was retrieved quickly and handed in the work to our designers just in time."
"We had a significant production deadline for a client and were in the middle of it when one of our most significant pieces of equipment failed. Instead of freaking out, or telling the client we would not meet the deadline, I pulled in some late-night favors from our mechanical department and stayed all evening with them. The issue finally came to an end around 3 AM. I am a doer, and I knew that one all-nighter would be much better than letting a client down."
"This had never happened to me before, where I completely forgot about a client until a week before their first project phase was due. I was baffled by how I could have missed it, but I did. I calculated how many hours of work I needed to put in to catch up, divided those by seven days in the week, and worked that many hours overtime for the week. I delivered a great product, and on time, but wow - lesson learned!"
"I ran out of time on a shift while I was doing the mannequin merchandizing. Technically, this is a shared responsibility. However, I felt as though I was letting the team down since I was the one who started the mannequins. So, rather than pass the buck to the next shift, I decided to stay on the floor, after clocking out, to finish the merchandising. This effort allowed the team to continue what they were scheduled to do, while also demonstrating my commitment to the team."
"At the end of the year, we had a big target still looming over our heads that we needed to hit for the company to bonus out. I felt especially under the gun because I had a customer who was ready to buy a lot of inventory if we could source it correctly. While everyone was heading home for the holidays, taking their scheduled time off, I was staying late each evening and working at home to source their inventory. It was a tight timeline, but I knew everyone depended on me closing these sales. Due to the extra hours both in and out of the office, I was able to close the month at 125% to goal and bonus-ed out as a result. It was dicey up until the last unit was a "yes" and in transit, but it got done on the 31st of December."
"When writing curriculum, I noticed that the lesson plans had gaps in them and it wasn't a cohesive flow. We were close to turning in a year-long set of curriculum with discrepancies in it. I spent my own time bridging the gaps and writing the lessons that seemed to be missing. We cut it close to losing the deadline, but I was able to get it all wrapped up just in time, and our product was much better for it."