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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?

7 Answer Examples

By: Rachelle Enns

How to Answer

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.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"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."

Admin
Answer example

"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!"

Manager
Answer example

"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."

Marketing
Answer example

"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."

Retail
Answer example

"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."

Sales
Answer example

"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."

Teacher
Answer example

"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."

Written by:

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: 10/17/2016
Last modified on: 06/29/2018

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