The interviewer would like to know how you react when it comes to workplace challenges, and what you would gauge as a problematic situation. If finding that a colleague has eaten your lunch is your example, chances are, the interviewer will see you as unable to handle substantial challenges. Use a relatable case and be sure to highlight what you did to overcome the situation and make the best of it. This question is not the time to complain about your jobs or co-workers. Keep your response as positive as possible.
"The most difficult situation that I had to face, as an administrator, was the time when our entire system went down for three days. Our IT department was fabulous when it came to their dedication to repairing the situation; however, many of our clients were incredibly frustrated and upset. I made individual phone calls to those whom we had contact information on, via paper source, and explained our situation. It was a lot of damage control, but my boss recognized me later for maintaining a calm disposition throughout all of it."
"While working as a server, I had a customer have a severe allergic reaction to one of the dishes he ordered. I followed our policy to call 911 and not interfere with any medical assistance unless fully trained, which I was not. It was a terrifying situation to be part of, but I naturally took on the role of calming down the people at surrounding tables and containing the situation on an emotional level. I knew from that situation that I was great under stress and pressure. The customer was okay in the end!"
"A few years ago, my company went through an acquisition which put nearly all of our administrative team out of work. Being the most senior administrator on the team, I was the last to be let go which meant that nearly every Monday, for a few weeks, someone new was laid off and I would have to take over their responsibilities. It was a very disheartening and upsetting situation; however, I promised myself that I would remain collected and professional through my final moments with the company. They offered me a glowing reference which helped me to secure a good job quite quickly afterward."