30 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 30
Do you enjoy the challenge of more responsibilities?
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Give your interviewer confidence in you by expressing your enthusiasm for challenges and explaining your process for overcoming challenges. This is a good chance to show off a solid work ethic. Leaders are expected to be well-aligned with the company's needs.
"I love having more responsibilities because it means that I can have a bigger positive impact on the company. I see challenges as ways for me to grow and add value to the company."
What will you offer us, as a shift leader, that others may not?
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If possible, give some context about an uncommon experience that you may have had or highlight a special achievement that utilized a particular skill that you developed from outside this industry.
Otherwise, choose 1-3 character traits and connect them to actions that would benefit the company.
"I do a lot of volunteering at the hospital, and I learned how to be very empathetic and how to peacefully manage a negative situation. I'm also very positive, I genuinely care about the people I'm leading, and I'm very organized. What that means is that my team will be motivated to do their work, and that there's going to be better performance due to the fact that there's less wasted time and effort. I also set a good example on how to be compassionate, which leads to faster resolution times."
As a shift leader you must have great communication skills. What would your previous manager or supervisor say about your communication style?
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Give 2-3 qualities that describe your communication style and give a brief example of what you would say in order to demonstrate those qualities. In general, a leader should give clear directions to ensure that the team members can be held accountable.
"She would say that I'm very concise and clear. I give directions to my team by stating the outcome I need and by when. I also check in to see if they understand how to do it. That way, if something isn't done, I can hold them accountable."
'Leading by example' is a broad concept. Whether or not it involves a task, your outlook and mindset is the key to successful leadership.
Choose a scenario where you were able to take actions for your team members to model. Describe the situation. Then talk about the actions you took and how you turned the situation into a teachable moment. If possible, follow through with a positive long-term outcome, such as a change in the team member's performance.
"One time, a team member was getting frustrated at a customer. I noticed the expression on his face, so I politely stepped in. I positioned myself across from my team member so that he could see me talking to the customer. I made sure to have very positive body language: I had a smile on my face, I had a relaxed and open posture, and my tone of voice was friendly and caring.
After the customer was taken care of, I had a chat with the team member. I approached it as positive teaching moment. I also found out that he was having issues in his personal life. I was able to help him out with that in a small way and I earned his loyalty and respect, which led to him being a much more enthusiastic team member."
Describe a time when you facilitated a creative solution to a problem between two employees.
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Depending on the organization's culture, you may wish to focus on the creative aspect of a solution. Use your best judgment. If you don't have a creative solution to talk about, then simply highlight your conflict resolution ability.
Do this by laying out the two employees' stances: what were they in conflict about? Show the actions you took, making sure to mention your judicious use of listening. End with the resolution you arrived at and the lasting impact on the team.
"We had two team members who were accusing each other of being the one who got the whole team in trouble for not cleaning up after themselves in the break room. They were the only two people who last used the break room. To encourage teamwork, I told them that they had to come to an agreement on a next step: [list options]. I told them they had 15 minutes to come to an agreement. They couldn't come to an agreement, so I had both of them clean the break room with me for a week."
6. What would your previous supervisor say about your time management skills. Answer honestly. If your time management skills could use some improvement, spend most of the time talking about techniques and you've learned and how you're already applied them in your personal life. If your time management skills are acceptable, then give an example of a technique that you use to manage your time and how it impacted you or your team. Here is an answer example: "My time management skills are alright, but we can always improve. I recently learned a technique from the 'Get Things Done' method of time management and now I never set goals that are more than 3 days ahead of time. If it needs to get done, I should get it done within 3 days, if not sooner.
I introduced this technique to my team and our productivity went up 25%. We were able to [tasks with improved throughput]."7. In your opinion, what are the 3 most important skills to have as a shift leader? Do you research about the company's values and check sites like Glassdoor for interviews from people who accepted a position. This will give you a clue as to what is important.
In general, a leader needs to provide direction and motivation to his or her direct reports. A leader also needs to be dependable. At the supervisor level (as opposed to managerial level) you will be expected to have direct knowledge of how to perform the tasks your direct reports are responsible for. Here is an answer example: "A good leader needs to provide the team members with good training, clear direction on how to put that training into use, and motivation to do a great job. For optimum performance, a team should have no weak links, and it's my responsibility as a team leader to provide training, direction, and motivation as its needed."8. What are you hoping to achieve from this position, and our company? Having well-defined career goals gives the interviewer confidence that this decision to apply for the position was a well-considered one.
Explain how this position fits into your overall career goals. Talk about reasons that you like the company. When possible, speak on the culture and values of the company and give precise examples. Most of the time, a company will readily have such information on their careers website. Here is an answer example: "I see this as an opportunity to further solidify my leadership ability. I've demonstrated my ability to lead in the past, and I'm looking for more challenges to prove that I can add value to the company by leading my direct reports. If I can prove that I can consistently do this, it'll open up the door for me to even more impactful roles.
I'm choosing to apply at Winsome Corporation because..."9. It is important to be able to multitask on the job as a shift leader. Tell me about your multitasking abilities. The interviewer is indicating to you that multitasking is important to the company. Support their values and explain your multitasking techniques. Typically, multitasking involves good time management and organization ability. Here is an answer example: "I agree that multitasking is very important when you're a shift leader. The way that I multitask successfully is by keeping good track of different factors of a task like the time it takes to finish the task and when the deadline is. This means that I can fit different tasks into my day depending. If I know that Task A only takes 15 minutes to complete, then I know that as soon as I have 15 minutes of free time, I can complete that task..."10. How would you define good customer service? When possible, research the company's values. In general, good customer service involves the satisfactory resolution of a customer's issue in a timely fashion. State your definition and give a brief example of the outcome that you think meets that definition. Here is an answer example: "I think that good customer service exceeds the customer's expectations in both quality of service and the speed that the service is delivered. For example, a customer might be unhappy and is trying to get a refund. We want to make sure that they spend more time being happy than unhappy. So I need to make sure that the customer is taken care of quickly. I need to apologize to them and give them something in return for the bad experience, like a gift certificate."11. Do you find that people listen to you when you request something of them? Assess yourself honestly. If the answer is 'no', then contrast present ability with your future potential. If the answer is 'yes', then explain how you're able to achieve those results. Here is an answer example: "Before I learned about leadership, I might ask someone to do something in a loosely defined way. Now, I'm learning to be more specific. For example, I make sure that my requests include a time frame and a quick reason why it needs to be done."12. Tell me about a time when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome? The most appropriate level of risk tolerance to show will depend on the organization. In general, it's safer to show a moderate amount of risk instead of a high amount. This way the interviewer will be able to see ambition and use of good judgment.
Choose an example when the outcome was positive and when the risk was not something that was irreversible. Explain what the problem was that you had to overcome. Explain what risk you were taking—sometimes it'll be useful to think of what you were not supposed to do and do it anyway. Then explain how your actions led to a positive outcome that benefitted the company. Here is an answer example: "There was a time when I was responsible for a team of graphic designers. We were late on a really tight deadline and one of the graphic designer's laptop in the office broke down. I'm supposed to ask for approval for purchases over $200, but I took the risk and went out and got a laptop for $800. This led to us finishing the project on time and keeping a client happy. Even though that client was a small client at the time, they were impressed with our ability to keep our promises and they became our most loyal client and spent over $X with us over the years."13. Do you have any management experience? Tell me about the largest team that you have managed. A straightforward answer will suffice. If you feel that your previous experience had less responsibility than this position, give an example of a time when you influenced others to achieve a positive outcome. If this isn't possible, then explain a technique you use to lead people. Here is an answer example: "The largest team that I've managed is five team members. I think that I'm ready to take on more responsibility though because right now I'm able to manage a team of five very easily and I've really defined my leadership ability. For example, [describe a leadership process/technique]..."14. As a shift leader you may be asked to work overtime, weekends, evenings and even holidays. Do you have flexibility in your availability? If you're willing to do so, express positivity about the opportunity. If there are any potential obstacles, such as the need for childcare or any other reasons why you wouldn't be able to commit to that level of availability, explain how you can overcome those obstacles. Make sure to anticipate the employer's concerns and address them without being prompted.
Example answer. "Yes, it's not a problem because I have a great support network. My mother can pick up the kids. I don't mind being away from my kids because they need a strong role model and it makes the time that we do have that much more precious." Here is an answer example: "Yes, it's not a problem because I have a great support network. My mother can pick up the kids. I don't mind being away from my kids because they need a strong role model and it makes the time that we do have that much more precious."15. Tell me about a time when you didn't do so well on something as a leader. We all make mistakes. What's most important is how we make the most of the mistake and learn from it so that we minimize the likelihood of it happening again.
Choose a time when you made a mistake in the way that you related to a team member. Describe the circumstances that influenced you in a negative way, what mistake you made, why it was the wrong thing to do, and the actions you took to remedy the situation. Sum up with the lesson that you learned." Here is an answer example: "
Example answer: "16. Tell me about how you delegate effectively. Effective delegation is based on clear, concise, and thorough communication. You must define the task and the desired outcome, as well as the timeframe in which it must be done. You should then ask the person to explain the task in their own words to ensure understanding. If appropriate, ask the person to check in with you a quarter of the way through the task so that you can provide feedback on whether or not they're headed in the right direction. Here is an answer example: "I would tell my team member what they need to achieve and why, then I'd tell them how to do it and when they need to do it by. I'll ask them to explain the task back to me. If they got it right, then I'll tell them to check in with me after doing some of the work, so that I can see if they're doing it right. If they are, then they can go full speed ahead."17. Can your subordinates rely on you? Tell me about a time that you went over and above in order to pull a task together for your team. The interviewer is giving you a hint that personal sacrifice is desirable and expected of you in this leadership position.
Meet the interviewer's expectations by laying out an example of a time when you made a sacrifice in order to achieve an outcome to benefit the team. Make sure to mention the negative impact on your individual operations. End by mentioning a positive aspect of the outcome and its lasting impact, if any. Here is an answer example: "One time, the team was flooded with service calls and we really didn't have any time to go on break. We worked for hours and hours without taking a break. I wanted to show them that I knew what they were going through, so I personally went down the street and got everyone their favorite pastry. For each team member, I told them that I would take their next call so that they could enjoy the pastry. This put me behind on my own work, so I stayed after hours to finish the paperwork. It was worth it because my team got to go home on time and we solved all the problems in a timely fashion. My team knew that the next time we have a huge surge, everything would be okay."18. Tell me how you would run a weekly team meeting. Use the time set aside for team meetings wisely. Ideally, team meetings are used for team bonding as well as keeping the team up-to-date with the latest developments in the company. Demonstrate your team-building skills and communication skills. Here is an answer example: "Assuming that the meeting is an hour, I would spend the first 10 minutes of it going around the room and asking everyone how they're doing, talk about the last movie or TV show they saw, something to get people warmed up and open up their lives to each other. I'll spend the rest of the time going over any status updates from upper management. If there's anything noteworthy about other locations, I'll talk about that. Then we'll bring the conversation back to our own location, then our own team. I'll ask for feedback, if anyone has had any difficulties, and if there are any suggestions for improvements. I'll end the meeting by giving them clear intentions about the week's objective, add a quick pep talk, thank everyone for their hard work, and let them be on their way."19. Describe a major change that occurred in a job that you held. How did you adapt to this change? You'll need to show that you can adapt to the organization's needs. Choose an example where you successfully overcame the change and actually enjoyed it. Possible examples include a change in leadership or a change in a process. Briefly explain what changed, the actions you took to adapt to the change, and why you're happy with it. Here is an answer example: "There was a time when our department was moved under the director of workforce management. Not only did my bosses change, they made major changes to how we did things. I kept up with the changes by communicating frequently and clearly with my boss in the very beginning of the change. I always asked her for feedback on my work and checked in with her to see how frequently she would like me to report to her, and with what information. I like change because change means that we're trying to do something better, and I'm always looking for ways to improve."20. Tell me about a time when your boss told you to do something that you disagreed with. Give a straightforward and concise answer. Show how you would handle the situation and make sure that you add that you're capable of following orders that you don't agree with. Here is an answer example: "I'll explain to the boss very quickly why I disagree with it, specifically regarding the negative impacts I think his or her decision will have. I'll provide an alternative. Once my boss understands those concerns, I'll send a follow-up email to make sure that he is 100% clear on my opinion and recommendations. I'll carry on with the orders that he decides. At the end of the day, I have to have faith that he has more information and experience to make a better decision than I can."21. Tell me about your favorite job or manager. What made this person/position so great? If possible, go on LinkedIn and do some research on the person who is already in a leadership position in the company that you're applying for. Looking at their professional experience and accomplishments, note down any themes and anything that is noteworthy or something to be proud of. Use that information to understand the leadership qualities that the company values.
If this isn't available, then the safer option would be to speak on your favorite position and give brief mention of the positive attributes of your supervisor or manager. Here is an answer example: "I really loved my job as a customer service representative at DigiTel. We had a very results-oriented culture which was a lot of pressure for some people, but not for me. I liked it because it forced me to focus on being the best at my job, and I get a lot of satisfaction at being good and efficient at my job. I also liked my supervisor because she was [character traits], and that helped create a strong team atmosphere."22. Are you experienced in handling customer payments and being responsible for large amounts of cash? A direct response is sufficient. If the answer is yes, then tell the interviewer what position you held when you were responsible for that. If the answer is no, offer an example when you were entrusted with something of a sensitive nature. Here is an answer example: "No, but I have been responsible for over $10,000 worth of inventory when I was the [position] at [company]."23. Describe a time where you had to deal with an irate customer. How did you handle the situation and were you able to make the customer happy in the end? Choose an example where the outcome was positive. Start with what the customer was unhappy about and give some context. Then describe the step-by-step actions you took. If applicable, mention the negative impacts on your staff and how you remedied the situation, as well as any ways that you demonstrated empathy. Here is an answer example: "One time, there was a woman who was complaining that she didn't get her order yet and that she had been waiting for 40 minutes. She was really yelling at the top of her lungs, which naturally stressed me and my staff out. I stayed calm though and reminded myself that nobody should have to wait that long and that I wouldn't want my mother waiting that long.
I apologized to her and asked her what the problem was. I acknowledged that it should never have happened, and then I gave her what she needed. On top of that, I gave her a credit on her next order, that way she'll be encouraged to come back and give us another chance to give her good service."24. As a shift leader, you will be on your feet a lot during the day. Are you ready and willing to accept a physically demanding job? If you're willing to do so, give a very brief example where you've been on your feet all day. If possible, turn this potential downside into an upside to demonstrate your positive outlook. Here is an answer example: "It's not a problem at all. In fact, I prefer to be on my feet, the medical community says that sitting all day is contributing to a lot of health problems, so I see it as a bonus!"25. Do you enjoy customer service? Affirm that you do and justify why it's natural to you by talking about your character traits. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I absolutely love customer service. I'm naturally a very positive person, and I'm very empathetic. If someone feels sad, then I'm sad, and if they're happy then I'm happy. That's why I love customer service and why I'm really good at it."26. Tell me about your long term career goals. What is your ideal career path or position? Some people take lower-paying positions as a 'foot in the door' to a better-paying position in the company. Some others might see it as a way into a higher position. The pathways to certain positions may not necessarily be there.
Imagine if the company only hires managers externally and there is no path to be promoted into a management role. Now imagine that you said that you're looking to be promoted into a management role. You have now given the interviewer cause to dismiss you as a viable candidate.
Therefore it is best to maintain an ambitious tone without giving a specific path to a position unless you are certain that it is possible in that organization. Instead, focus on aspects of the industry that you enjoy and the skills you're looking to develop. Here is an answer example: "The future is unpredictable, and I've learned that the real world has a way of dismantling long term plans. So I don't have a specific path that I'm defining for myself. Throughout my career, I've always looked for opportunities to do a better job, to build my leadership skills, and to provide excellent customer service. I plan to keep doing that and I'll take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves. At the end of the day, I just want to be a customer service rockstar and to influence others to do the same. On the way, I'd like to find a mentor as well."27. What are your short term career goals? The interviewer is looking at how you fit into the company's needs within the next 1-2 years.
Talk about the specific skills you're looking to improve. Talk about the character traits you have that'll help you succeed as a leader. If you have an example of a moment in your career that inspired you to pursue a leadership position in this field. Here is an answer example: "Right now, I'm focused on building and solidifying my leadership skills in a customer service setting. I was inspired by this time when [leadership example]. That's when I saw myself as a leader. I really have a passion for customer service and I really care about both the customers and the employees. And in that moment, I realized that as a leader I can make more positive impacts on people than as an individual contributor."28. Have you ever taken any courses or workshops related to customer service or sales? People who take courses or workshops on their profession demonstrate a commitment to the profession. This indicates to the interviewer that you are less of a flight risk.
If you haven't taken any courses or workshops, mention books, magazines, or websites that you've read and explain that you would cherish the opportunity for paid professional development.
If you have taken such courses, mention them in brief and explain what you learned from them and how you applied it in your work. Here is an answer example: "I've never paid for any courses or workshops because I usually can't afford them. Instead, I go to the library and take out books about customer service and sales. Recently, I read one written by TG Kong, and I learned a lot about sales. For example, I learned to consistently think in terms of how something would benefit the customer. This helps me guide the customer towards a solution that they'll be satisfied with and even opens up the opportunity to introduce services that the company offers. This way, a customer service calls can transition into a sales call."29. What is the most common complaint you receive from customers in your current role? What would your recommendation do to improve that customer experience? If possible, choose a complaint that is related to service instead of a product: as a customer service professional, you can't do much to improve a product defect, but you can have significant impacts on the customer experience.
Make a recommendation and show how it benefits the customer, and follow through with a benefit to the company. Here is an answer example: "Right now, the customers are mostly complaining about the time it takes to resolve an issue. That's because the reps have to come to me for approval over every little decision.
My recommendation is to train the reps on a set of rules that allow them to make decisions on their own, so long as the cost of those decisions are within an acceptable range for the company. This would have two benefits. First, the customers will be happier that their issue was resolved so quickly. Second, the representatives will be prouder and feel more capable, which results in lower turnover."30. Do you have experience with inventory and order management? If you have experience, answer with a very brief example of what you have done. If you don't have any experience, start by mentioning your primary competency and then move on to related tasks or achievements that utilize related skills. Inventory and order management requires strong organization skills. Here is an answer example: "I mostly have experience with customer service because inventory was handled by another person in my last job. I am very good at keeping good records and am very systematic at organizing things though. For example, at my last job, I would..."
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