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Scenario Based Interview Questions

15 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

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Question 1 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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Scenario Based Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    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?

      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?'

      Rachelle's Answer

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "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!"

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "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."

      1 Community Answer

      Anonymous Answer

      "My coworker would always fall asleep during our overnight shift at the hospital, leaving me to do all the work alone. I confronted her about it one day and asked if there’s any way I could help her. She told me she never falls asleep and that I should mind my business. The following day I saw her sleeping again, so I called my manager and complained about it. My coworker was upset, but I was glad I spoke with her first and since it didn’t make a difference, I did what I felt was best."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Oh, my goodness! This example made me laugh a bit, just imagining the audacity of your co-worker denying sleeping and then doing it again the following day! You did the right thing in this instance. Was there a resolution that you could also include? For example, how did your manager respond?

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