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Union Representative Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 21st, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
What motivates you as an union representative?
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How to Answer
There can be several motivating factors for a person to choose a particular line of profession. What motivates you to become a union representative? To answer this question think of what you like about this job and what are you planning to achieve out of this. Is it the feeling of helping others or the leadership that drives you or a mix of both? A good union representative has a healthy mix of leadership qualities as well as empathy towards others. So make sure your answer gives the hiring manager a good idea about the fact that you are highly motivated and this is not just any other job for you but something that you really enjoy doing.
25 Union Representative Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
  1. What motivates you as an union representative?
  2. Do you consider yourself a leader?
  3. How do you get a peer or colleague to accept one of your ideas?
  4. Describe a difficult project and how you overcame it?
  5. How well do you work with people?
  6. Why do you want to be a union representative?
  7. How will you contribute to the union?
  8. Have you ever been involved in a union strike?
  9. Tell me about a time when you were trusted with confidential information.
  10. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  11. Tell me about a time when you faced conflict at the work place.
  12. When working on multiple projects, how do you prioritise your work?
  13. What are key tasks for a Union Representative?
  14. What is the most enjoyable part of the union representative job?
  15. What is the most critical aspect of this job?
  16. How would you define success for someone as a Union Representative?
  17. What skills did you learn at your last job that you can use here?
  18. In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  19. What is your strongest qualification for this job?
  20. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  21. How are your communication skills?
  22. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as a Union Representative?
  23. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  24. Why are you the best candidate for us?
  25. What do you know about our organization?
15 Union Representative Answer Examples with User Answers
1.
What motivates you as an union representative?
There can be several motivating factors for a person to choose a particular line of profession. What motivates you to become a union representative? To answer this question think of what you like about this job and what are you planning to achieve out of this. Is it the feeling of helping others or the leadership that drives you or a mix of both? A good union representative has a healthy mix of leadership qualities as well as empathy towards others. So make sure your answer gives the hiring manager a good idea about the fact that you are highly motivated and this is not just any other job for you but something that you really enjoy doing.

Rachelle's Answer
"My main motivation as a union representative is the inner satisfaction that I get whenever I get to help the employees in trouble or when I act as a catalyst in preventing some strike from happening. When the union members or my peers look up to me with certain expectations and I am able to fulfil them, I feel happy and content from my job and it also motivates me to do even better."
Anonymous Answer
"I'm passionate about students and teachers. As a teacher, I have to solve conflicts between teachers and students a lot. Sometimes I set up three-way meetings to find out what the conflict is specifically. I find out what both sides feel about an issue and try to work to a compromise. Sometimes it's a matter of using my bag of tricks to offer suggestions to teachers to help them deal with a student problem or developing a method for scaffolding instruction. I intend to apply that skill to union representation between teachers and the district. I try to develop good relationships with everyone I work with, which I think will help me in this position. I listen to people and take an interest in their personal life, which I think helps towards developing good relationships."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic response! You are descriptive on what motivates you, and have qualified yourself for the role at the same time.
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2.
Do you consider yourself a leader?
The role of a union representative is to guide and lead the union members, to be their voice when required and to explain the stand of the employers to the employees whenever needed. Acting as a bridge between the two requires leadership skills and thus the answer to this question is quite obvious.
Take a moment to share that you strive to be the role model for the union and your family and friends. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be the face for the union when challenges arise because you understand that these are vital pieces to being a true leader.

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe that more than being a leader I am a friend, a guide and a support system for the people I work with. I have learnt to be patient, assertive and organized and this has helped me a lot in my job."
Anonymous Answer
"I consider myself a behind-the-scenes leader. I'm a good listener, asking insightful questions, and take my time to consider the issues. I offer suggestions and work towards getting those suggestions implemented. I got my school to adopt an online program, where the textbooks are available in audio format."
Rachelle's Answer
The Learning Ally implementation is a great example. I suggest bringing it forward. I've added a revision below.
"I consider myself a behind-the-scenes leader. For instance, I prompted my school to adopt an online program called Learning Ally, where the textbooks are available in audio format. I am a good listener who asks insightful questions, taking the time to consider the issues. Then, I offer suggestions and work towards the implementation of solutions."
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3.
How do you get a peer or colleague to accept one of your ideas?
The key component to answer this question is your relationship building skills. Tell the interviewer that you work each day to build relationships with your peers and colleagues. Explain how you have small talk with them, learn about their families and special interests, and ensure that you engage with each person on a regular basis. Share that these relationships have helped you gain respect and trust from your peers because they allow these people to see that you care about them. Tell the interviewer that when you approach your peers or colleagues with a new idea, they typically accept right away because they know who are, respect you, and understand that you care about them!

Rachelle's Answer
"I have always respected the opinions of my team mates and value their advise whenever there is a need for the same. Because I value my relationships with my team and colleagues, its easy to make them accept new ideas as they understand that I won't be proposing anything that is not good for them."
Anonymous Answer
"I listen to the problem. And based on who it is, I communicate with them differently, via email or in person, because I've established a relationship with them already. I know if they like dealing with an issue formally or passing in the hallway. I tell them my idea and offer to help using my skills."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer shows a great deal of self-awareness and care. Nicely done!
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4.
Describe a difficult project and how you overcame it?
The interviewer wants to know how you approach, evaluate and resolve a work problem or difficult project. Telling the interviewer how you overcame the difficult project will show your problem solving skill as well as prove that you are one that can take on responsibility.

Anonymous Answer
"My job, in general, is difficult. I have one very difficult student. Most of the teachers complain about him. I fight for him, though. His mom is challenging too. I always talk to teachers about his concerns, and I work them out in different ways depending on the teacher. In the past, he couldn't stand his English class. Now it's his favorite class, and I think a lot of that is because of the work I've done. I've developed a really good relationship with his mom, too because I listen and take her concerns seriously."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful example that shows your bright communication skills, and problem-solving abilities. The interviewer should be impressed.
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5.
How well do you work with people?
You work great with people! You are in the people business, and the interviewer wants to hear that you work well with all types of people from every walk of life! Get excited to toot your own horn and share how you seem to easily interact with anyone and everyone.
The best way to show off your people-skills is to share how you have interacted with employers or coworkers in the past.

Rachelle's Answer
"I love working with people. I try my best to be flexible and open in the workplace, understanding that things can change quickly. I also want to stay on good terms with my coworkers, so if I sense a conflict arising, I will be sensitive in addressing it before it escalates."
Anonymous Answer
"Very well. I'm well-liked by the teachers at my school, because I'm friendly and I work hard for all of us, not just myself."
Rachelle's Answer
100% what the interviewer will want to hear. Nice!
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6.
Why do you want to be a union representative?
You can be in this job because you are truly motivated to be a union representative or just because its some job and you might be planning to shift to some other career in future. To be successful as a union representative you need the inner motivation and willingness to be able to do something for the employees in the union.
To answer this question start by telling the interviewer what you plan to achieve as an individual by being into this job and then move on to the bigger motive as a team. You can also explain how it satisfies you when you are able to help out those in need.

Rachelle's Answer
"Being a union representative gives me a sense of responsibility and ownership towards those I represent. I enjoy the respect and trust bestowed upon my shoulders by the union members and also being a part of the solution rather than the problem."
Anonymous Answer
"I'm for the students and teachers. My dad was a Teamster, and I've always been proud of that. I'm passionate about equality and the rights of teachers. We're nothing without education, and education is nothing without teachers."
Rachelle's Answer
Simple and to the point, yet heartfelt. This is a great response.
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7.
How will you contribute to the union?
The objective of this question is to determine what you believe you have to offer for this position and to the company and to the union that you plan to work for. A good union representative is believed to be someone who has good relationships with the employees and the employers, someone who can be trusted with confidential information and is a problem solver.
To answer this question make sure you convince the interviewer that you believe in the company and also in the job that you going to do.

Rachelle's Answer
"My contribution to the union will be in the form of skills and knowledge that I have accumulated with the course of time. I believe that the relationships that I build with people and my problem solving skills will be of great help for this union."
8.
Have you ever been involved in a union strike?
This question intends to understand if you have actually been a part of some strike or not. This can actually be a tricky situation as your job as a union representative is to make sure that the employer and the employees are always in agreement with each others' point of views, but at the same time the company might actually be looking for someone who has the first hand experience in tackling such situations.
The best way for answering this question is to think of a situation when you witnessed some such situation arising but were able to negotiate a middle way and thus prevented things from getting worse.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have never been involved in a union strike and the reason for the same according to me is my negotiation skills. Once things almost went out of control between the employees and the employer in my last organization where the workers threatened to go on a strike as the employer refused to pay compensation to an employee who got injured at work but he was actually on an irregular break and not really working. I intervened and spoke to the employer, who was apparently not wrong in his decision. But, I made him understand that he might undergo much bigger losses if the employees go on strike. At the same time I also explained to the workers that their demand was unreasonable. In the end the employer agreed to provide some compensation to that worker and no strike took place."
Anonymous Answer
"There was almost a strike when I worked in Missouri. I've been following all the strikes on the news."
Rachelle's Answer
Good! If you want to expand, you could talk further about how you would handle a strike situation.
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9.
Tell me about a time when you were trusted with confidential information.
This question focuses on your quality of being able to handle confidential information. Can you be trusted with such information when needed? As a union representative you will come across many such instances where you will be required to maintain confidentiality. Thus if you are thick skinned then it will be a real big advantage for you in this profession.
For answering this question think of some incident where you were trusted with some confidential information and you maintained the trust well.

Rachelle's Answer
"As a union representative there are several occasions when I am trusted with information which is confidential in nature and maintaining this trust is a major part of this job. Once I was shared with some confidential information by the employers about some major change they were planning for the company and there could be some disturbance from the employees' side. Being one of the employees it was easy for me to break down and share this information with my colleagues but this is where the integrity of our job comes into picture. I kept it to myself until it was officially announced by the company officials."
10.
Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
This is a good opportunity to give an example of a time when you went over and above and were recognized for your additional work.

Rachelle's Answer
"Just last week we had an officer call in sick while another was away on holidays. We were very short staffed and were working on an important project. I offered to stay late and work a double shift so that the work was finished in time. My supervisor was really thankful for my attitude and brought me lunch the following day as a way of saying thank you."
11.
Tell me about a time when you faced conflict at the work place.
For answering this question discuss the strategy you generally use for resolving conflicts at your work place. You can mention some such incident from the past where you helped in resolving the conflict. Go over the steps you took for ensuring that the conflict was resolved. What was the outcome and also, if you did anything to ensure that there was no similar conflict in the future.
One thing to note here is that you should never mention some situation where you were a contributor to the conflict.

Rachelle's Answer
"There was a point when there was a conflict between few of my colleagues and the situation at work place had become really tensed because of that. I decided to intervene and talked to both of the parties, listened to their view points and discussed the issue with them together. We were able to reach a common stand after the discussion and both the parties were satisfied. We made sure that the route for dialogue was open after that and no such situation arise in future."
12.
When working on multiple projects, how do you prioritise your work?
This question focuses more on your working style and how you handle the pressure of long work hours. You can start by mentioning how you plan your day and what you do to refresh yourself when the work demands long working hours. Please remember this is just an attempt by the hiring manager to know how much you love your work and how do you plan and prioritise your work.

Rachelle's Answer
"I usually make a list of everything that I need to do during the day and then I see what are the most important tasks that need to be done during the whole day and the week as well. I also set reminders for the deadlines if there is any."
Anonymous Answer
"I always keep a to-do list by my side. It's very elaborate: things I do every week, things I have to do by the end of the week, etc. I go over the list at the beginning of each day, and I redo the list every week."
Rachelle's Answer
You sound highly organized. An employers dream! Well done.
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13.
What are key tasks for a Union Representative?
To answer this question you need to go through the job description and also do some research about this job. Answer this question with everything that you know about this job and also don't forget to mention the common elements between these two jobs.
14.
What is the most enjoyable part of the union representative job?
The best way of answering this question is to focus on the areas of your current job that match the most to the job you have applied for. You can always start your answer with a general statement like you like all the aspects of this job and then move on to something specific that is a common element between both the jobs.

Rachelle's Answer
"I actually enjoy all the parts of this job but what I enjoy the most is mediating in the conflicts and also the interaction with the people."
15.
What is the most critical aspect of this job?
For answering this job, make sure you have gone through the job description properly. Tailor your answer accordingly in a positive manner and also be specific about what you consider to be the most critical part of this job. Do not be negative in your answer.

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe that the most critical aspect of this job is to have good relationships with everyone we are working with. To have everyone's trust is also very important and to be able to understand what are the needs and requirements of the people is important."
Anonymous Answer
"The critical aspect of this job is communication skills and problem-solving skills as a negotiator for union members. To be a good negotiator for this job, the union representative has to know the State and Federal labor laws. The Union rep has to be aware of the union contract so that you can negotiate the best bargain possible for union members. As the negotiator, the union rep needs to be able to discern the place where the employer is not complying with the current contract."
Rachelle's Answer
Great job highlighting your knowledge of the responsibilities you will have as a union rep. This is a solid answer!
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